"A philosopher once wrote you need three things to have a good life. One, a meaningful relationship, two, a decent job of work, and three, to make a difference." David Brent

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

GUEST BLOG from TARGETjobs - Get started on your job hunt: it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you imagine

This week's post is a really insightful guest blog from TARGETjob's Jackie Balchin. She works within the industry and her blog features some really useful advice on how recent or soon to be graduates can make themselves more employable. Enjoy!

As someone who works in the graduate recruitment industry, I see daily the headlines, blogs, tweets and newsletters about gloomy youth unemployment and, in particular, how recent graduates are affected.
If you’re looking for your first job, it’s a very hard situation to be in, and something I sympathise with completely having experienced it personally. However, let me assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and there are things you can do to improve your chances. There is help and advice out there.
One thing I think all current students need to know is that your career, and effectively your job hunt, starts from the minute you start university. Employers always want to see that students have been proactive throughout their student years, and everything you do during your academic life has potential to be turned to an advantage in your job hunt.
What I mean is that if you sit through university thinking all you need to do is achieve great academic results and you leave everything to do with job hunting until after you graduate, then your job hunt could take longer.
However, if you make your first year count, get involved in societies (maybe lead one), are proactive in getting work experience and start looking for graduate schemes and jobs at the start of your final year, if not before, you improve your job hunting chances considerably.
Like anything, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out.
But, often the most difficult thing to do with career planning and job hunting is getting started. This is true for many students. Your options aren’t clear and you don’t know where to focus: What work experience and jobs should you apply for? What skills you can improve? Which extra-curricular activities you should do? It’s all very puzzling and you want help to make smart decisions.
If you’re really not sure what your options are, then the Careers Report tool at TARGETjobs is a great way to take positive action. You complete some pretty simple behavioural questionnaires and it produces a report highlighting your skills, areas you can work on, what motivates you, and most importantly, a list of job suggestions best matched to you. You can also complete some practice psychometric tests. It’s great if you need a push in the right direction and it gives you feedback you can act on.
Some students start their career planning with particular employers in mind and want to find out what it takes to get their foot in the door. For this approach, the Employer Insights section on TARGETjobs is the best place to go.
The Employer insights are independently researched reports that cover the essentials on top UK graduate employers: business basics (what the company does and its work culture), graduate career and work experience opportunities, and most importantly, how the employer hires graduates (what they look for, application and interview process, etc). There are discussion areas for each employer, so you can ask specific questions and exchange tips, and you can ‘follow’ employers to get updates on their recruitment, which makes them perfect assistants throughout your job hunt.
Alongside these two tools, there are plenty of other things on offer at TARGETjobs – the focus for advice is providing features and nuggets of help for whatever stage of you’re at in career planning, and for whatever point you’re at in university life. And, of course, you can also browse work experience opportunities and graduate jobs.
My final piece of advice is to reiterate the theme I started with: don’t leave your job hunt until the last minute and don’t take the downbeat headlines to heart. Unemployment figures are gloomy, but don’t let them set your boundaries and constrain you. Many small steps and actions taken throughout your time at university will get you ahead and much closer to landing your desired graduate job.
For more information on graduate jobs, careers advice and work experience visit TARGETjobs. To stay up to date with our latest news and job hunting tips, follow us on Twitter @targetjobsUK or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/targetjobs

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