I’ve been in recruitment for just over a year now, and a huge part of my day to day job is graduate recruitment. Having met over 100 graduates to date I’ve learned what works and more so what doesn’t work for recent graduates. With the 2016 graduate class almost upon us, here are a couple of tips I’d recommend when starting your job hunt.
1) The CV
Keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Don’t waste hours putting together what feels like a graphic designed PDF with a variety of tables and alternative fonts. What I’ve generally found makes a good graduate CV is the following format:
• Cover note/Profile –Short summary of experience and education to date
• Degree/Masters –Include title, result, and some project/thesis info
• Leaving Cert –Points, individual subject results
• Work experience –Even if it’s just 2 months working in a bar in San Fran
The main point that I would stress here is including your leaving cert information. While it might seem like a long time ago and not relevant, the vast majority of graduate programs would have certain leaving cert requirements either with points limits or individual result requirements.
I haven’t run the statistics but if I was to guess I’d say about 60% of graduates who apply for my jobs don’t have an active LinkedIn account. There are so many benefits to having a LinkedIn profile if you’re a graduate:
• Job Alerts -Once you have created your professional profile on LinkedIn, you can set email alerts to receive notifications of recommended jobs. You will be able to see the notifications on your homepage as soon as you log into your LinkedIn account
• Research a company – LinkedIn provides information about different companies. This information helps you determine whether or not you would like working for that company.
• Recruiters can find you – If your profile is beefed up with plenty of experience and skills and its profile’s up-to-date and active, recruiters can find you. When recruiters can find you, more job opportunities can come your way.
3) The Interview
When I meet graduates for interview prep, the problem I’ve found most have is the “Tell me about yourself” question. People tend to be a bit taken back and unsure of what they should and shouldn’t say. Saying “My name is Greg, I went to NCI, got a 2.1 and like socialising with friends at the weekend” isn’t what your interviewer is looking for.
A brief overview of your education is a great place to start. Mention your leaving cert results and why you wanted to go into your chosen degree field. Then briefly go over your degree, what you found challenging and liked. Then touch on any work experience you have in areas like customer service or teamwork. That gives your interviewer a good first impression and probably answers a couple of questions they had lined up for you.
After that, it’s just about being calm, professional and keeping your body language and eye contact in check. It goes without saying that you should thoroughly research the company and job that you’re aspiring to get in to.
Hopefully this will be of some help to the graduates of 2016 and beyond. If you want any CV or interview advice, or would like to speak about any of the graduate positions I recruit for, feel free to give me a call/email any time on 01 531 3741 or firstname.lastname@example.org