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The CV Centre Graduate Job-Seekers Guide

AgencyCentral are pleased to be in partnership with The CV Centre, the UK's leading CV consultancy, in bringing you a helpful range of graduate advice articles.

A degree course can charge by at lightning speed, what with the whirlwind of societies, student union events, yet another beer promotion and ….oh yes, all those lectures, seminars, essays, dissertations and final exams. As your final year comes to a close, after having spent several years honing your knowledge, it is time to step out into the world and launch your career.

Be Prepared

It is of course a good idea to consider the direction you would like your career to take from the beginning of your degree course. You may well find that your plans and aspirations change as you move through your course, but if you are aware of your ultimate goal from the outset, you should have far more opportunity to make sure you have obtained the skills that potential employers will require. This will also enable you to take more time when considering your career path, rather than being swept up into the mad rush for jobs as graduates pour out onto the jobs market after their finals. It can also be a good idea to find out the application procedures of the organisations that interest you well in advance of your finals so as to make sure you do not miss their application deadlines.

Work Experience and Internships

Some companies may well require industry-specific experience in the workplace, in addition to your formal academic qualifications, and, with a little planning ahead, the potential of those lengthy summer breaks could be maximised if you were to take up relevant work experience or internships. Aim to contact employers in the fields you are considering early on in your course to find out which type of work experience they would consider most valuable in a potential new recruit. It can also be worth enquiring whether there are work experience or internship opportunities in the particular organisation you would most like to work for. This could be an invaluable way to obtain an 'insiders' view of your chosen profession, to see if it really is the career path you want for yourself.

Internships and work experience placements can also be useful ways of breaking into careers which are unusually difficult to gain a foothold within, for example the arts. Making a strong, positive impression of your ability to perform in the workplace, as well as academically, may just give you the edge you need when competing against all those other graduates.

Where To Look

Publications - Even if you are just beginning to consider which career you would like to aim for, it can be worth subscribing to (or reading in a library) trade journals and publications relevant to the sectors that interest you. This should give you a sense not only of the positions available but also a clearer idea of news and current developments within the sector. Another, rather more obvious point is to make sure you do not forget that national newspapers carry specialised careers supplements and recruitment sections. Find out which day each paper publishes recruitment pages for your area of interest.

Careers fairs, particularly those aimed specifically at graduates, e.g. The Guardian Summer Graduate Fair, can also be an invaluable source of information, and a useful opportunity to speak face-to-face with representatives of numerous different companies and organisations. You should also find out from your careers office if a fair will be coming to your university.

The Internet is of course also an invaluable tool in terms of careers research, not least in terms of being able to take a good look around the websites of companies and organisations that interest you. In this way you should be able to find out more about how they operate and check their application procedures and requirements.

Recruitment agencies can also provide valuable assistance when job hunting and, once again, you will find that some agencies specialise in specific sectors whilst others are more general. Temporary work can also be found through agencies and can be a flexible way to earn money whilst you are searching for something more permanent. 'Temping' can also be another method of 'toe dipping' in a specific employment sector, especially with so-called 'temp to perm' jobs. These can be particularly useful as they give both the employee and the employer the opportunity to see whether the arrangement would work in the long term. Have a look at Temping Tips for Graduates, also compiled by The CV Centre, for further information on temping and recruitment agency procedures.

Alumni - You may find that your lecturers, tutors, etc. have kept in touch with recent graduates. If possible, find out if a previous student has followed the path you are thinking of taking and see whether you would be able to contact them to answer any questions you may have about the reality of that career path..

Application Procedures

Once you have identified where you wish to go, make sure you have up-to-date information about any recruitment procedures and deadlines. Application procedures vary widely but you are likely to need to tackle on-line application forms, traditional paper application forms and of course be able to provide a well written and well presented CV, in addition to producing a range of persuasive covering letters. It is vital that these documents are properly prepared. Please Click Here to find out how The CV Centre, the UK's leading CV consultancy, can ensure that your CV, application forms and covering letters are truly outstanding, putting you well on your way to the career you deserve.

Also View the A - Z of Graduate Recruitmen

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