Many of you will have completed your university degrees this summer and will be heading to London in search of graduate work, but as you may have heard in that refreshingly depressing way the media likes to tell us things… graduate jobs are hard to come by at the moment.
So here are some tips to increase your chances of getting a graduate job in London at the moment – it’s not all doom and gloom we promise!
Seriously, we can’t recommend enough the importance of uploading your C.V to Monster. It is TOTALLY FREE to create a profile and upload your C.V to their database where you will a)get to search for jobs in the industry you’re interested in but even better than this… b) top graduate recruiters use this database to search for the best graduate candidates to fill their positions. Imagine a scenario where a graduate vacancy has become available for a firm that you’re interested in, but the position is never actually advertised because their graduate head-hunters use Monster’s database to handpick candidates that they’re interested in interviewing. Why on earth wouldn’t you want to make yourself available for selection? Upload your C.V now.
Ok, this is a difficult one and is definitely not something we would recommend that EVERYONE does because of the sheer expense of Masters degrees and the importance of gaining relevant work experience. But for some professions, it really does pay to have a Masters degree under your belt. Think about it – if you’re applying for a graduate job and you’ve got a 2:1 or even a 1st class honours degree, how many other candidates do you think are applying with identical qualifications to you? Quite possibly hundreds. But the number of candidates with both Bachelors and Masters degrees will be substantially less. Talk to your careers advisors and people within your chosen industry for some advice.
Get yourself to some careers fairs. A great one which is coming up is the Guardian’s Graduate Fair which is free and takes place on 19th October, 2010 at the Business and Design Centre in Islington. You can already pre-register if you’re interested.
But this is only one of many careers events.
A great tip for those who have their heart set on working for one specific company, is to find out which career events the company recruiters will be attending. Then make sure you visit the company stand at as many of these events as you possibly can. Get to know the recruiters and make sure you take copies of your C.V with you and are fully prepared for informal interviews. Some may see this as stalking, but it’s an incredibly effective way to get yourself on the company radar!
We’ve thrown this one in for fun really, but some of you will have heard the story of David Rowe, who walked around the streets of London for 5 days wearing a sandwich board which read ‘Job wanted. History Graduate, University of Kent. Interview Me. Prepared to work first month FREE. Then hire or fire me. Thanks for looking, David.’ The stunt reportedly generated over 250 enquiries and he was consequently hired by JCDecaux.
Another similar story involved Alex Kearns (a 23 year old graduate) who was part of the Plinth Project in Trafalgar Square. He stood on top of the plinth for one hour with a sign reading ‘Give me a job’. He has since been hired by a London business consultancy who were impressed with his initiative.
Get some relevant work experience
When you apply for a graduate job, the recruiters aren’t going to just be blown away by your impressive qualifications and extra-curricular activities, they’re often going to require evidence of some relevant work experience within the industry that you’re applying to work in.
If your experience thus far, is a little thin on the ground, then it’s time to get some under your belt, particularly if you’re not doing any sort of work at the moment. Work experience might seem like it’s for kids and the fact that you’re not earning anything can be a little soul-destroying, but it won’t be forever. Make the most of an unpaid internship by learning as much as you can about your chosen profession, expanding your network of contacts (very important in business) and if you’re very impressive you might even be taken on as a permanent member of staff.
An excellent system to use when looking for work experience is the WEXO system.
Move to London
It’s a case of Catch 22 – we understand that. You don’t want to move here until you’ve got a job to pay the bills, but trust us, it’s really difficult to make the most of every available graduate opportunity or to be taken seriously if you don’t actually live in London or in the commutable vicinity. Remember that you can always take a survival job in London to help pay the bills whilst you’re searching for a more serious permanent job.
Follow all of the advice above and you’ll hopefully be setting your alarm for your first day at work in no time at all. Try and remain positive throughout the job-seeking process and don’t let a working day go by without taking a pro-active step (however small) to securing your dream job.