After starting the Searchability Graduate Scheme in September 2018, our four Searchability grads Harriet, Heather, Leah and Rosie have been immersing themselves into the wonderful world of IT & Digital Recruitment, speaking to thousands of candidates in the market looking for their next career move. The girls not only have a fantastic grasp of how candidates can position themselves for the best chance of hire in a technical role, but as recent graduates themselves they also know first hand what it is like entering the job market for the first time too. We asked them for their top pieces of grad advice:
Grad Advice: Structure your CV
"It is important to put your most recent experience (academic, work or placement) at the top of your CV so it is highly visible and relevant to the roles you are applying for. A CV should be no longer than two pages as some recruiters and employers will only spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual CV! So make sure you include key points and skills relevant to the role you are applying for on the first page. It is also great to have a GitHub or portfolio that can assist your CV in exhibiting your previous work / projects."
Grad Advice: Show your tech experience
"Your CV needs to be more than just a list of skills or technologies, use it as a chance to showcase your talent. Rather than having lists of modules and skills separately try to combine them into sentences that shows how all your experience ties together. For example: Put the module and its associated project along with the technologies used – This way a recruiter or employer will be able to see which skills you are most proficient in and how you can apply them. Ensure you put your classification and year of graduation on your CV – it will help recruiters know that you are a current grad! During any initial conversations you will give this information across anyway so it’s easier to make it clear from the outset."
Grad Advice: Keep an open mind about which scheme is right for you
"With seemingly hundreds of grad schemes out there offered by UK leading employers, it’s becoming harder to pick the right one for you. When I started my job search, I applied for several business-related grad schemes with high profile companies in London but had to jump through so many hoops with my applications. After being sent many aptitude tests and realising I didn’t want to work in a large London company, I changed my job search completely. I think it’s easy to get sucked in to thinking that these types of graduate schemes are essential – don’t get me wrong they’re great programs but weren’t for me and there’s so much more out there! Before applying for a grad scheme, I think the most important thing is to figure out your ideal sector of work and location. Some applications can be very time consuming so it’s more productive to focus your energy into your preferred ones, instead of spreading yourself thin over 20 different applications you’re not sure about!"
Grad Advice: Use tech resources
"There are multiple resources that can help graduates to improve their tech skills. A very important website that a lot of developers use is GitHub - a development platform where you can host and review code, manage projects and build software alongside 31 million developers. This can help you to develop and demonstrate your skills. Another platform used by 8 million users daily is Slack - a hub that brings people with shared interests to the same place. Slack is a chat with different channels such as ‘jobs’ or ‘general’ where you can discuss certain things in this area and communicate with those who have a shared interest. Another resource to help tech skills is to attend tech events, this website Meetup - which shows numerous meetups in lots of different places all dedicated to different areas of expertise so you can find the best one for you."
Grad Advice: Get seen on LinkedIn
"My advice for populating a LinkedIn profile... First of all, think about image! It is important to choose a professional and clear photo for your LinkedIn profile and a concise headline to showcase your expertise and personality. When populating your LinkedIn page with your work experience treat it in a similar to your CV with a brief description of your role and maybe some bullet points on some of the best achievements you completed whilst there. However, Whilst being similar to a CV it is important that you are slightly more informal and conversational to show your personality to potential employers. Make sure you connect with at least 100 professionals in your industry as well as companies you are interested in. Make sure your profile is set to "open to new opportunities" and your contact details are included (such as your email) so that potential employers and recruiters can contact you."
Grad Advice: Simplify the job search
"Strike the balance between applying for everything and being focussed on your dream role. You need to cast your net wide to give yourself the maximum chances but maintain a focus on one type of role, for example Graduate Developer, Graduate Tester or Graduate Data Analyst. This way you can target specific companies and showcase your talents accordingly. Use your resources wisely! Many Universities have portals which display hard to find roles or affiliate companies that like to hire direct from your Uni. By using free resources like this you will widen your search beyond the average jobs displayed on LinkedIn. Get in touch with a recruiter, they are there to help! In many cases a recruiter will do a lot of the hard work for you; give them a region, your skills and your availability and they will match you up to roles that you may not have ever considered!"
Grad Advice: Attend local tech events
"Networking and connecting with people at tech events in your area is a key element to why you should attend! Communicating with those in your field and area allows you to gain an insight into the companies who have your tech-stack. By talking to these individuals, you could also gather some inside information about the culture of the companies they work for and see who and what you are best suited for and if this is the career path for you. Tech events also give you a chance to become friends with other people who are interested in tech or in the tech industry to allow your experiences at tech events to become that little bit better!"
Grad Advice: Interview Prep is key
"Preparation is everything! Before you have an interview, it’s important to research the company, the industry they operate in, what they do and who they work with, why you want to work there and why you’re choosing them over their competitors. You’ll also need to be comfortable talking about your University studies in more detail, relevant projects you’ve undertaken and how these relate to the job you’re interviewing for. These are just a few, but it’s always better to over-prepare and cover all bases... For one telephone interview, I was completely unprepared which is unlike me and they asked me what my favourite advert was, and I completely stumbled so it’s safe to say I didn’t get a second interview (for the best)!"
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