The Graduate Job Search: Stand Out from the Crowd

Where are YOU?!?

The graduate job search – a term which, for most graduates (myself included) evokes a roller coaster of emotion within. Sadness, happiness, anger, anxiety, surprise, desperation, defeat. You name it I’ve felt it!

To invest in higher education, assuming it to be your golden ticket to success, is a deluded vision many of us shared and current students still share. To silence the gasps, I will never become a “higher-education-basher” as I took away an immense amount of information (attributable to my final year only *halo*) and went through tremendous personal growth during university years. However, current and prospective students must be cautioned and take serious note; COMPLACENCY= FAILURE – especially, if like me, you you weren’t lucky enough to spring from Albert Einstein’s gene pool and haven’t got fantastic connections or a cousin named Alan Sugar. Doing the bare minimum will leave you out in the cold and your qualifications become a matter of fact. Before you start groaning, this post is not aimed at discouraging anybody from going to university but it is aimed at encouraging people to make the most of their university years. In my experience, universities do not lay enough emphasis on the importance of extracurricular activities. Place yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. How would you distinguish between 300 students who all achieved a 2.1? “All the blood, sweat and tears for nothing!’’ I would often say – or scream rather – to whoever was kind enough to stop and listen.  However, as well as this being a slight exaggeration, I also failed to realise at that I was just one of thousands of people in the same situation; all preaching the same angst.  So be creative and stand out from the crowd. Become a part-time bungee jumping instructor during university and you will certainly be remembered during the application process. If this is too adventurous for you then look at community volunteering opportunities. Start thinking about your career after university from the get-go by looking at job specifications, identify what employers are looking for and work towards demonstrating these competencies through extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. This could be anything from joining the citizens advice bureaux to starting your own blog – or both. Do something!  Whatever you do, don’t JUST do a degree.

To all the graduates still seeking employment this blog post is still very much applicable. At the risk of sounding cliché, think ‘outside of the box’ – do something different and all will come together in due time. For current students, the next time the student union interrupts your lecture vouching for student representatives… don’t be so dismissive. Don’t think about it either. DO IT!

Baroness P

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