Students Staff
University of Essex

June 28, 2012

GradFocus 1

Filed under: Newsletters — Dee Hardcastle @ 3:00 pm

Hello and welcome to the first GradFocus newsletter of the series, aimed at our 2012 graduates. Over the summer, we will keep you up to date with relevant news, tips and advice to help you establish your graduate career…so please read on to get started.

Job spot

Win work experience for a graduate career in hospitality!

Students who are considering a career in hospitality, leisure and tourism can win work experience placements with top employers via an online competition organised by People 1st, the sector skills council for the industry. The next round of the work experience competition is now open and is offering the winner a chance to win a week’s work experience with the catering company Baxter Storey.

The hospitality industry provides a great opportunity for students wishing to pursue a career in management. The hospitality sector can be an attractive option because it offers its graduate recruits the chance to gain face to face management experience at an early stage in their careers. A quarter of managers in the sector are under 30, so it is an area in which it is possible to make your mark soon after graduation.

Management jobs in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism are also expected to increase over the next few years. It has been predicted that the sector will need another 34,000 managers in the UK between now and 2017.

Click here to find out more and to enter.

Careers Advisers top tip

Focus your job search

One of the biggest challenges of job hunting for new graduates like you can be finding jobs at the right level, where your knowledge, skills and experience match the employer’s expectations. Keeping your job search general can often lead to finding vacancies where your qualifications are not relevant or required, or where considerable relevant experience is a prerequisite.

To find graduate schemes or graduate entry level roles, it’s more effective to search for jobs by focusing on the right sources – those that are targeted at people like you. Also, bear in mind the average starting salary for a graduate is £18-23k, so aiming too high, or even worse, too low, is unlikely to lead to successful applications.

Start with the Careers Centre website where you can use ‘JobsOnline’ to search for current vacancies aimed at graduates and then dig deeper using the useful links we’ve put together in our ‘Looking for Work’ section to help you find those vacancies aimed at people like you, and learn more about different approaches to job hunting.

Why not join us on facebook to share tips with each other? Throughout the summer we will be using it to keep our new graduates up to date with key news, events and opportunities. You can also use it to help each other out by sharing your ideas, thoughts and experiences.

What’s new?

Marks & Spencer enter the banking sector

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is set to create 500 new jobs in the UK by the end of 2013, with the launch of the new M&S Bank this summer. The roles include 400 customer-facing positions in-store and 100 roles at the company’s Chester head office. Over the next two year, 50 M&S branches in total will open in M&S stores across the UK.

What’s going on in the graduate labour market?

According to High Fliers Research, who annually survey one hundred of the UK’s best-known and most successful employers, almost half expect to recruit more graduates in 2012 whilst more than a quarter plan to maintain their intake at 2011 levels, which were significantly higher than 2008 and 2009, when graduate recruitment was hardest hit by recession. However, competition for opportunities remains high. Graduate employers say they receive an average of 48 applications per graduate vacancy, So how can you work towards being one of the successful job hunters? What can you do to stand out from the crowd? We’ve put together some advice to help you on your way and kick start your graduate career so read on to see what you can do.

For starters, work experience is essential. Nearly three-quarters of recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process, and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes. In addition to this, many vacancies with top employers are being filled by graduates who completed work experience with the employer through placements and internships while they were students. If you haven’t already got work experience, don’t worry, it’s never too late to start. There are many ways to build on your experience to develop your transferrable skills such as internships, volunteering and making contact with professionals in roles you’re targeting to request discussing their career with them or work shadowing. Also, don’t forget to consider the skills you’ve gained through your degree, part time jobs or holiday jobs, voluntary work and general life experience.

Secondly, don’t underestimate the value of networking. Not all vacancies get advertised, particularly with smaller employers, and many people secure jobs through knowing the right person, or being recommended. Think about who you know, and who their contacts are. Do any of your family members, friends, friends of friends or lecturers have links in the industry you’d like to work in? Do they have any insight to offer about recruitment, or could they help you to make contacts get some work experience? Could you make links through social media? Many employers now use social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with people and recruit, so you can use these as an alternative method of searching for jobs, and also for researching organisations and their employees. We will be exploring networking and social media further in this newsletter over the summer.

Finally, when you find those opportunities you really want, you really need to tailor your application or CV for each role you apply for. Sending exactly the same CV for 100 different vacancies is far less likely to lead to an interview than making 10 applications that are tailored to each role and clearly demonstrate to the employers that you have the knowledge, skills and experience that match their criteria. Use our new resource, the Essex CV, and you can’t go wrong. Show an employer that you’ve got exactly what they are looking for and they are far more likely to want to meet you.

So there you have it – the graduate labour market is more competitive than ever but there are jobs out there, and if you persist and put the effort in, there’s no reason why one of them can’t be yours. Stay positive, learn from experience and don’t perceive an unsuccessful application as a rejection. Eventually your hard work will pay off and don’t forget that your Employability & Careers Centre is open throughout the summer, and remains available to you for up to three years after you graduate. We’ll be happy to help you at any stage of your career planning and job hunting, and keep an eye on your inbox for the next issue of this fortnightly newsletter for further useful tips and advice.

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