This week I was invited as a guest speaker to the Business School Careers Fair at Canterbury Christ Church University.
I spoke to the students about managing their social media presence while looking for graduate jobs, as well as CV and interview advice. I used to get involved a lot of our graduate recruitment when I worked in the finance industry, so I could give some info on the view from the other side.
One problem that graduates can face when trying to make it from CV to interview phases of the hiring process is that many of them look very similar on paper; they've been to school, done a degree and now need a job. Yes some will have run the students union but they can't all do that.
A few tips for those looking for a graduate role in the near future
- LinkedIn - chances are your prospective employers will look you on on LinkedIn. Get a decent headshot up on there. It doesn't have to be professional (though that can help), but NOT a photo of you drunk in a bar - please!!
- It is important to have a LinkedIn profile because if someone can find you on LinkedIn they are unlikely to try to find you on Facebook. Speaking of which; lock down your facebook privacy so that only friends can see your posts - don't advertise how often you go out drinking to your potential future boss
- When writing your personal statement, please don't write "I am a goal-oriented, team-playing, self-motivated, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah". Just stick to the facts "I am a final year economics student at CCC looking for a graduate position in portfolio management at an investment bank or large asset manager in London" is plenty - it tells the person reading your CV where you are and where you want to go.
- Unless you're a mature student and have had a career before your degree then keep your CV to one page
- Do not list every module in your degree - it wastes space and it's really not needed. If you have a module that matches very closely to a job you're going for and you have the opportunity to tailor your CV for that role then saying 'including a module in xxxx' is fine. You also don't need to list all of your GCSEs - just saying how many is sufficient.
- Do some volunteering or fundraising - it looks great on your CV and can make you stand out
- If you've worked through your degree, even just in a bar then put it down; holding down any kind of job has a certain set of core skills in common - like turning up on time, not upsetting the boss or your customers, etc
It was great to meet the students - a very engaged and switched on bunch, but while talking to the students I remembered what it was like to be that age and having a bit of a mountain to climb establishing a career. To help out I am offering 50% off headshot sessions for students. As I said above, you not not need a professional headshot on LinkedIn, but I honestly believe it can help you stand out from the crowd.
Enter "STUDENT" in the online checkout at www.ralphhope.com to get your discout and bring your SU card to you session.