Students Staff
University of Essex

July 12, 2012


Filed under: Newsletters — Dee Hardcastle @ 2:14 pm


TOP TIP: visit our stand on Square 5 during graduation to find out more about the Essex CV and get a free USB stick with a copy uploaded!

As graduation approaches, for those of you who don’t yet have plans, finding a job is likely to be on your mind. We’ve put together some useful articles for you again in this issue, with a focus on finding jobs in what’s sometimes referred to in the ‘hidden job market’, and also, continuing from the reference to tailoring your CVs and applications to employer’s requirements, some specific advice to help you to do just that. 

Keep in touch

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Job spot

Channel 4 launches first ever graduate programme

The television broadcaster has announced the launch of its first ever graduate programme, offering graduates firsthand experience at the centre of the organisation. Three successful applicants will work within either the channel’s Marketing & Communications department or Audience Technologies & Insight department for 20 months, gaining valuable experience within these business areas as well as a wider view of Channel 4 and the media industry.


Careers Advisers top tip

Be creative in your job search

Did you know that not all job vacancies are advertised? Sometimes employers rely on people taking the initiative to enquire about opportunities and show an interest in them. This is particularly true for smaller companies who may not have large budgets to advertise opportunities.

If there’s somewhere you’d really like to work, find out how they recruit. If they don’t have a specific cycle for hiring, then do some research into the employer and find out what they value in their employees and future candidates. Then send a customised CV with a speculative covering letter to the relevant person in the organisation, highlighting your interest in possible opportunities, why you’d like to work for them and what makes you a suitable candidate. Even if they don’t have a job vacancy when your CV lands on their desk, they might contact you when something becomes available.

For tips on writing an effective CV and covering letter have a look at the Essex CV pack via our website where you can see annotated examples of CVs and a covering letter and use our checklists to ensure you’re not missing anything important.

What’s new

Award winning employers lead the way in graduate recruitment

Teach First, the charity that trains high-achieving graduates to teach and places them in disadvantaged areas, won an award this week for its selection and assessment process. The charity was singled out for its achievements in this area as part of the 2012 Association of Graduate recruiters (AGR) Awards, which aim to champion best practice in graduate recruitment.

Other graduate recruiters who won awards were; Ernest & Young, who won both the Integrated Marketing award and Best Employer Brand award; Allen & Overy who won the Literature award and Barclays were awarded the Digital Marketing Strategy award.

Confidence is low, but engagement is high

Twice a year, undertake research of their registered graduate jobseekets. Their latest findings show that fewer than 2 in 5 of these graduates expect to get a job in the next two months. However, they are putting the effort in, with 2 out of 3 spending up to four hours per application, so maybe their efforts will pay off and they will be pleasantly surprised.

Their research also found that over half of the surveyed graduates believe their degree has equipped them for the world of work, with three quarters feeling their degree has boosted their employability. The majority of respondents studied Economics/Politics/Business or Social Sciences, with strong responses from IT/Telecommunications and Mathematics also.

Other Snippets…

  • Against expectation, graduate salaries are beginning to rise
  • More than three quarters of graduate recruiters now expect at least a 2:1
  • The current craze in the graduate recruitment is the strengths-based interview (more on this next issue…)
  • 17% drop in graduate vacancies with law firms is expected this year
  • Large increases in vacancies for IT and engineering graduates, including in energy, water, utilities and telecommunications anticipated this year


Meeting employer’s expectations

Last week we mentioned tailoring your applications for the employer and job that you are applying for and making sure that you are pulling out the skills that are relevant to the role. But what are the best ways of doing this, and how do you find out the skills or competencies that are required?

The first place to look is the person specification for the job. It should list the employer’s requirements, including skills that are essential and desirable for the role. You need to clearly demonstrate you have all the essentials to stand a chance of getting selected for an interview.

To find out more about what the employer might be expecting, do a bit of digging around and creative thinking to see what wider skills they may be looking for. Look at the employers’ website to see what their values are, if not at the application stage, they will very likely question you on or around these during the interview process. See whether they have online presence through social media such as LinkedIn, as then you can look at the profiles of current employees to see what skills they have. Look at graduate websites such as Target Jobs employer insights and Prospects job application advice to see what employers are asking for. Consider the skills that the Times 100 employer’s state as a prerequisite for graduate roles: teamwork, communication, problem solving, confidence and creativity. Now you have some insight into what skills are required, how do you demonstrate that you have them?  Look at the variety of things you have done through your degree. Did you work in project groups? What role(s) did you take and which did you find the most interesting or challenging. Think of the variety of ways you communicated ideas and projects, who you communicated them to and the different programmes or medium that you used. What approaches did you use manage your time, be organised and to solve problems, and which were the most successful or beneficial?

Look also at the other things that you have done outside of your courses, both in and out of university. What societies were you a member of and did you hold a position of responsibility? Did you have a frontrunner position, any part time work, volunteering, internship or other work experience? What skills and experiences have you gained from each of these? What did you learn about yourself, other people, or a situation that relates to the job you are applying for? Think about all the experiences and try to see how you can use them as evidence to demonstrate that you have the transferable skills that employers are looking for.

When preparing your CV or answers on application forms, consider the STAR approach to help you to give complete, structured evidence: Situation (put the scenario into context) Task or Target (what you were aiming to achieve) Action or Approach (what approaches you considered and then which you actually did) Result (what happened? Were you pleased with the outcome? What did you learn from it?  What could you have done differently?).  Remember that not everything that you do is a total success – be honest; if something did not go well then say so. But also say why it didn’t go well, what you have learned from it and what you have perhaps done since to prove that learning.

Follow this advice and you should be doing everything possible to tick all the employer’s boxes and as a result, hopefully stand out as one of the best candidates and get invited for interview. Look out for the next newsletter in a fortnight for advice on what to expect in an interview and how to prepare.


We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate you in advance of your graduation next week. We’ll be on square 5 throughout the week if you need any help, or just come and say hello to get a free lollipop! Enjoy the celebrations.

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