It’s no secret that the graduate job market is tough. There are so many stories about graduates who still haven’t found a job eighteen months after graduating. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the majority of us due to graduate next summer (myself included), the job market’s not a particularly pretty picture at the moment. So what can you do to make yourself stand out?
The most obvious answer is to get a work placement or an internship in the field you want to work in. According to a report by highfliers.co.uk, 36% of graduate jobs will be filled by applicants who have already worked for an organisation as an undergraduate – which is great news! Getting a fantastic work placement is a really good way to see for yourself what working in that particular field would be like, as well as providing you with valuable skills that will look impressive to an employer.
Here are 3 tips when it comes to work placements:
- Do your research – think seriously about what sort of places you’d like to work at once you’ve graduated – don’t just do placements for the sake of it
- Persevere – don’t give up looking just because some places turned you down
- Be willing – don’t be snobbish about the jobs you’re given. Yes, you might have to do some filing and yes, it might be a bit dull, but chances are, if you’ve found somewhere good, it’ll only be a ten minute job then you can move onto the next thing. Refusing to do tasks because you feel they are beneath you is rude, and a sure-fire way to destroy any rapport you previously had with that company
But wait a second, having an internship under your belt is all well and good, but in today’s competitive job markets, internships and work placements are becoming staple features on nearly every graduate’s CV.
So what else can you do to stand out?
Here are five of my favourite quirky stories about people who have gone that little bit extra to secure that all-important interview!
1) Buy a billboard.
24 year old Adam Pacitti, from the Isle of Wight, became so desperate for a job that he spent his last £500 on a billboard asking employers for work. He ended up getting around sixty solid job offers and ended up with a job at KEO Digital working as a viral producer.
2) Get creative with your CV.
On his LinkedIn profile, Eric Ghandi mocked up his CV to look like a Google search engine results page. An employee at Google spotted it and immediately recommended Eric for interview. It’s not clear if that interview resulted in a job, but it’s a great way of showing what getting creative with your CV can do.
3) Use a Google ad.
Alec Brownstein wanted a job at a top ad agency, and he figured that if you’re the director of an ad agency, you’re probably going to Google yourself every now and then to see what people are saying about you. So, in order to do this, Alec launched the Google Ad Experiment, which you can watch below.
4) Interactive Video.
When applying for a job at a social media agency, you’re probably going to have to get a bit more creative than just sending in a standard CV. And that’s exactly what Graeme Anthony did when applying for a role at We Are Social. Instead of sending in the normal cover letter and CV, he created an interactive video with YouTube annotations to encourage potential employers to find out more about him. You can find out what We Are Social had to say about it here, and watch the video below.
5) Learn to handle rejection.
Chances are, before you land that dream job, you’re going to be turned down by a few companies, which is what happened to Caleb Meakins. So he set up his My 40 Days of Rejection project, which involves him taking on challenges that are deemed to be entirely unachievable and socially awkward – such as getting onto the red carpet at the premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and giving a lecture at King’s College London. Caleb hopes that by doing things that take him outside his comfort zone, he will learn to reshape the way he responds to failure.
So there you have it, some great ways to get creative when heading out into the graduate job market!
We have proud gardeners in our midst at Twelve (see there’s more to us than digital fanatics) and we thought we’d give the South Newington Flower and Produce Show (hailed as the ‘loveliest traditional flower show in the area’) a bit of a shout out! Coming up this weekend, it’s sure to be a great event. So should you be casually swinging by the area, do stop by for some summer lovin’ country style.
SHOWTIME AT SOUTH NEWINGTON
Annual Flower and Produce Show takes place this weekend
The annual South Newington Flower and Produce Show will take place at 2pm this Saturday 10 August on The Poleaxe at the centre of the village.
This much loved annual event will be opened by Sir Tony Baldry, MP, and the Show marquee will present some 600 entries spanning flower displays, fruit and vegetables, preserves, cookery, photography and other crafts. Sir Tony will also present prizes.
As well as the exhibits there will be a dog show, children’s games, stalls and sideshows; plus music from the ever popular Chipping Norton Silver Band and a traditional afternoon tea tent.
A new addition this year will be a display of ‘village wedding dresses’ in the historic village church, St Peter ad Vincula.
Field parking is available at the top of the village entering from the A361 onto Barford Road.
This is a guest blog post by intern Katy Roberts, about her two weeks’ work experience at Twelve PR. 🙂
One of the things that was drummed into me when I started my university degree in PR at Sheffield Hallam Uni was just how important work experience is. “Work experience makes you stand out from other applicants!”, “Work experience gives you skills you won’t get from your university degree!” and, slightly more pessimistically, “You won’t get a job after university if you don’t do work experience!’ However, this was backed up by a report in the news earlier this week, saying that companies with graduate programmes are much more likely to take on students who have done work experience during their time at university.
Report aside, I’m very much inclined to agree because, ultimately, a university degree – made up of essays, PowerPoint presentations and press release writing in an assignment capacity – doesn’t really show you what life working in a PR agency is really like. You very rarely get to work with real-life clients and the feedback you get about press releases (or any other PR writing you do, for that matter) comes from an assignment marking criteria perspective – not a real-life, ‘this is going to a real-life company’ type of perspective.
My two weeks at Twelve have been brilliant (and no, I’m not just saying that because this is a guest post on their blog!) – I’ve been able to try a wide variety of different things, from press release writing, to managing social networking sites, to ringing up journalists about newspaper competitions – all of which I’d never have had the opportunity to do properly as part of my university degree. (Quick side note: journalists aren’t as scary as PR lecturers make them out to be, so don’t be nervous about ringing them – just be sensible about why and when you’re ringing them and you’ll be fine!)
Another thing that’s brilliant about work experience – it allows you to figure out what you’d really, really like to do, and what you’d really, really not like to do as a job when you graduate. I’m happy to report that working at Twelve has confirmed what I sort of already knew, – that I would like to work in friendly and exuberant PR office – I could totally picture myself working somewhere like that! (Being able to have regular access to copious amounts of tea during the working day is a wonderful novelty as well!)
The team at Twelve have all been so lovely and welcoming and helpful, and it’s so nice that it’s close knit team because I’ve been able to get to know everyone relatively well, as opposed to just fading into the background at some huge company with thousands of employees. So yes, I definitely think that work experience is worth it, especially if (like mine) your university course doesn’t offer placement years!
Anyway, I suppose all that’s left to say now is a huge thank you to everyone at Twelve for giving me the opportunity to come and work with them in the first place, and for making my two weeks here so interesting, varied and enjoyable. It’s been fun!