“What can I do to make myself more employable?”
As Recruitment Consultants, this is one of the most common questions that we are asked by recent graduates and current students.
This is our advice:
1. Get some experience
This could be internships, work shadowing, summer jobs, part-time work, volunteering, a year in industry or a work placement. These experiences will develop skills like teamwork, organisation and communication. They will also give you commercial awareness, which is what most recruiters and employers really want from you and will help you stand out from the crowd.
2. Start job hunting early
Don’t leave it to the last minute to start looking. Plan ahead and research the industry you wish to be employed in. Start looking for placements or work experience now.
3. Tailor your application
Don’t just copy and paste answers into application forms and don’t send the same CV to all companies. Making an effort with your applications really pays off. It’s better to make a few good applications than knock out loads of almost identical ones which aren’t really targeted to the job.
4. Research the Company
When writing a cover letter or answering the question “Why do you want to work for this company?” never just look at their website for two minutes. Make sure you do a lot of research into the company – what they do, who their clients and competitors are, etc. It will show how motivated you are to work there.
5. Talk to people
Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid of speaking to people in the real world. Ask questions about them, their job and what they do day to day. You can also ask for advice about what you can do to get an advantage when applying for jobs, where to look for vacancies and who else you can speak to for information and advice.
We know what we’re talking about
Gary from Bristol didn’t have any commercial experience or skills but had a very solid academic background. As a graduate, he attended several interviews but didn’t get any job offers. As experienced recruiters, we knew that Gary had a lot of potential but needed to improve his abilities in certain areas. After speaking with him, he took our feedback and advice on board, set up an Ebay business with his friends, got some purchasing and sales experience, and applied again after a few months. He has now embarked on a career with one of our clients and is showing great promise as he puts his new-found skills into practice.
Employers do not expect you to have a perfect skill-set. However, they do expect you to be self-aware and to know some of your weaker areas. Ideally, they would like to see evidence that you are taking steps to make improvements in these weaker areas.
So how do you go about developing those areas that need improvement? There are lots of ways to enhance your skills and experience in specific areas. For example, if you need to develop your public speaking skills you could volunteer to be the presenter the next time you undertake a group-based assignment or you could join a public speaking organisation. Some ways for you to further develop your skill-set are:
It’s these extra-curricular activities and commitments that make you stand out from the crowd. They demonstrate numerous skills and make you an employable candidate.