02 January 2013 09:49 AM

New Year, New Job-Hunting Strategy? Tapping into the Hidden Graduate Job Market

Graduate schemes only make up about 20% of grad job destinations each year - so while it might feel like the world and their dog is heading off on an all-singing, all-dancing graduate programme, it's really not the case. It's estimated that around 70-80% of all job vacancies never get advertised - so you need to get proactive! Here'a few handy hints for making sure you're in with the best chance of success with speculative applications:

> Networking is key. Building contacts in the industry you want to go into is always a good idea - click here to find out how to start your own graduate recruitment network.
 
> Research the industry. To make a good targeted speculative application, you'll need to really stand out as someone who wants to work in that field. Recruiters can spot a generic CV a mile off, so take the time to tailor your application to each company.

> Try and find a contact to address your covering letter to - 'Dear Sir/Madam' just doesn't cut it! If necessary, phone up and ask. LinkedIn can also be useful for stalking key decision makers finding out names and roles.

> Be creative - if a company isn't hiring right now, offer to do some freelance work for them or even a free trial (if you can afford to). This is a pretty standard way of getting into certain creative industries, and it'll help your name stick for when a position does come up.

> Make sure your CV is top-notch
- click here for more info on writing the perfect graduate CV.

> Don't give up! Whether you're applying for huge graduate schemes or sending your portfolio off to tiny creative agencies, you're bound to get the odd knock-back. It happens to the best of us, so pick yourself up and try somewhere else - and don't take it personally! Find out more about motivation here.

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19 December 2012 10:25 AM

A quick tour of popular conversion courses...

Are you studying a degree you enjoy but not sure you want to work in that field? Or perhaps you've studied something non-vocational and want a change of direction? A conversion course can help! Postgraduate conversion courses 'top up' your undergraduate degree and allow to you enter certain professions that would otherwise be closed off to you. Some of the most popular conversion courses include:

> Law - It's fairly common for solicitors or barristers to start their professional lives from a non-legal academic background. In fact, many firms say that they take up to half their trainees from non-law backgrounds, and top-class graduates can often get their fees provided for them by their firm. To become a solicitor or barrister, you'll need to take the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law, also known as the Common Professional Examination), and then depending on the path you choose, you'll take the BPTC (Bar professional Training Course) or the LPC (Legal Practice Course). The BPTC is for aspiring barristers and the LPC is for graduates who want to be solicitors. To learn more about where a graduate law career could take you, click here.

> Property - If you want to work in property or surveying you'll need to take a conversion course that's accredited by RICS (the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors). You can study for an accredited masters degree and then apply for jobs, but some firms will take 'non-cognate' graduates (i.e. those without an accredited relevant degree) and train them on the job. This latter route usually means you'll get your qualification paid for by your company, so it's a good option if you can get it! To find out about the different graduate jobs in property that are available, click here.

> Psychology - If you haven't studied an accredited psychology undergraduate degree and you want to become a practicing psychologist, you'll need to take a postgraduate course accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society). This will allow you to apply for membership of the BPS and apply to higher-level degree programmes such as a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Psychology is a highly competitive field, so give yourself the best chance of success by watching our top interview tips here.

> Teaching - The PGCE (postgraduate certificate of education) is a vocational course that prepares you for life as a teacher. Graduates with a relevant degree can train to teach a specific subject at secondary level, while graduates from all disciplines can apply for primary teacher training. There are some pretty generous bursaries available for graduates who want to teach shortage subjects such as physics and languages, and there are sometimes financial incentives for people the teaching agency are particularly keen to recruit, such as male primary teachers or graduates with a 2.1 or above. To find out more about graduate teaching jobs, click here.

> Medicine - Graduates can apply to study medicine on a fast-track programme lasting four years. Some courses will accept graduates from any discipline, while others will ask that you studied something relevant at degree level, like one of the sciences. Because medicine is such a strongly vocational course, you'll need to complete relevant work experience, preferably in an NHS setting, before you apply. For more information on graduate jobs in healthcare, click here.

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12 December 2012 09:10 AM

Ten Top Tips For Great Graduate Telephone Interviews

Got a phone interview? Well done you!

Getting to the phone interview stage is a bit like getting a first date - this is your chance to really impress the employer and make them want to find out more about you. So, here's ten tips to help you get through this nerve-wracking process...

1. Treat it like a real interview - sit up straight, put on something other than pyjamas. Sounds weird, but it really does come across in your voice!

2. Make sure your phone is charged and that you've got good signal - cutting out halfway through is not a good move. 

3. Think about what you're saying - don't be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat the question or clarify it if you don't understand or think you've misheard.

4. Do your research beforehand and make sure you know enough about the company to confidently answer questions about it. Googling annual reports during the phone interview itself is not the way to go!

5. Try to treat it like a friendly yet professional conversation, rather than a grilling. The interviewer is unlikely to be trying to catch you out or make you flustered - they want to hear you at your best. 

6. Have a glass of water handy in case you need it - coughing down the phone is not the way to make a good first impression.

7. If you think it'll help you keep track, make some notes beforehand, but don't read them out like a script - the interviewer will be able to tell.

8. If you get stuck or find yourself mumbling, there's nothing wrong with saying 'Sorry, I'm a little nervous - can we try that question again?' Everyone gets nervous - it's how you handle it that counts.

9. Find a quiet place to take the call where you won't be disturbed - and you don't want your housemates bursting in halfway through, so it's a good idea to let them know in advance.

10.  Be calm! If they didn't like you already, they wouldn't be talking to you, so be confident, professional and focussed.

 

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05 December 2012 10:39 AM

3 reasons why you shouldn't do an MBA - and 3 reasons why you should

Considering a business management career? Then you're probably the type who likes to plan ahead anyway! You may already have heard of an MBA (Masters in Business Administration). The MBA is a postgraduate qualification taken after gaining some workplace experience - usually around five years - and it's often seen as the qualification for senior managers. However, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. In fact, there are a few very good reasons not to do an MBA...

  1. It's extremely expensive - an MBA at a respected institution costs upwards of £30,000. If you know you'll want to do one in the future, start saving the pennies right now. Yes, you. Back away from the Starbucks counter!

  2. It's a serious commitment. A full-time MBA takes two years and is a nine-to-five affair (plus the obligatory networking events in the evenings). Like any postgraduate course, studying for an MBA won't give you a sense of direction if you don't have any in the first place. And let's face it, business administration is not something you study for the sheer love of the subject - you study it because you want to go places careerwise. If you're in any doubt as to your enthusiasm for a corporate management career, an MBA is unlikely to tip you over the edge into riotous enthusiasm - and it's a very, very costly, stressful and time-consuming mistake to make.

  3. It won't magically make you into an outstanding entrepreneur, a caring manager, or an ethical business leader. Fundamentally, the MBA teaches you how to run a business, not how to generate ideas, show empathy, or have a conscience. Your own personal qualities will play an important part in your career, not just your qualifications.

An MBA is not a course to be embarked on lightly, and it's not for everyone. But, if you're doing it for the right reasons, an MBA can open up new career opportunities, renew your enthusiasm and give you a fantastic skillset that will prepare you for senior management positions. Here's a few very good reasons to do an MBA...

  1. It's recognised all over the world - there aren't many qualifications where you can walk into just about any corporate environment on the planet and say 'Look what I've got here, hire me!' but an MBA is one of them.

  2. If you really love business, you will probably really enjoy yourself, and do well. Like any postgraduate course, genuine passion for your area of interest is a perfectly good reason to study it, providing you can afford to. And the advantage of being a business geek (as opposed to, say, an astronomy geek or a classical architecture geek) is that you stand a good chance of making serious money out of your interest. So good for you!

  3. You'll be in pretty good company. Of the world's top 30 businesses, 15 CEOs have MBAs, and it can't be denied that having an MBA opens some impressive doors. The global network of people with MBAs is a pretty top-notch club to be a part of.

To find out if an MBA is right for you, click here.

 

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28 November 2012 11:49 AM

Access to Finance - New Film Launch

We've made another film! Following the amazing success of our documentary about women in engineering, we've turned our attention to the world of finance.

If this word conjures up images of rich blokes swanning around in corner offices, you’re not alone! The finance industry can sometimes suffer a bit of an image problem among young people - many believe it’s only for people who went to private school, or the ‘right’ uni. But that's not the case - as this clip shows, anyone can get into finance if they have the drive and determination...

We’ve teamed up with the top talents of HSBC, the Chartered Insurance Institute, the ACCA and the Financial Skills Partnership to help spread the message among employers, schools, pupils and careers advisors. You can watch the full film, Access to Finance, by clicking here.

To make the film even easier to use we've divided it into handy chapters, which you can find here.

We’d love you to help us share the film on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you can think of - and make sure we get the message out there that finance has something for everyone. 

Also, don't forget to look out for our next mini-documentary project on careers in IT - coming soon to a YouTube channel near you!

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21 November 2012 09:34 AM

Five things you should know about graduate jobs in accounting

Interested in a graduate job in accounting? Accountancy isn’t just about number-crunching – you also need to be able to see the big picture when it comes to the future direction of a business. You will help companies of all sizes, from one-person businesses to multinational corporations and charities, manage their finances and comply with legislation. But what is a graduate career in accounting really like? Read on to find out the top five things you need to know before you start filling in that application form…

1. You will probably spend quite a lot of time away from home if you go into an audit role, especially if you work for one of the Big 4 accounting firms (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young). There’s lots of driving and nights away from home at client sites, so you’ll need to develop a certain fondness for hotels, motorway service stations and fast food. If the thought of this brings you out in a cold sweat, the good news is that tax roles tend to be much more office-based.

2. There are three main paths that a graduate accountancy trainee might take after finishing university. Perhaps the best-known route is to train within an accountancy firm (such as the Big 4 or a smaller firm), providing a consultancy-based service to clients. However, you can also train within the finance department of a public sector organisation or a commercial business. Which brings us to…

3. Qualifications! One of the best reasons to get a graduate job in accounting is the training on offer, as it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your working life. And best of all, it’s usually funded by the company. You might also get paid time off to study. The qualification you study for will depend on the organisation you’re training with and the area you want to work in. If you’ve working with an accountancy firm, you’ll probably study the ACA or the ACCA – the former probably has the edge in terms of prestige, but the latter is often said to have more international recognition. If you’re studying within a business to become a management accountant, you’ll take the CIMA exams. Public sector accountancy trainees will study for CIPFA (in case it’s eluded you thus far, accountancy is a profession littered with confusing acronyms – so brush up!)


4. Entry to the profession is fairly stringent – you’ll usually need at least a 2.1 for the bigger firms. However, there are lots of routes, including those aimed at school leavers, so a degree isn’t a prerequisite. A good tip for aspiring accountants at all stages of their education is to get as much work experience as you can, whether it’s in a high-street firm or on a vacation placement with one of the Big 4. All relevant experience is good experience when it comes to getting your first accountancy job.



5. One of the most valuable things you’ll learn as an accountant working with clients is how to relate to different people and businesses – it’s a great way to make contacts across a wide range of areas. Plus, it’s interesting! If you enjoy finding out how things work and thrive on variety, you’ll probably enjoy working with external clients. One client might give you a plush, peaceful working area with a comfy chair and coffee on tap, while a small business might be tight for desk space and have you working in a meeting room or even in a warehouse. Even if you’re in-house, you’ll still be expected to be adaptable and flexible, as you may still need to visit different business sites.

So there you have it! If you're keen to find out more about graduate jobs in accounting and financial services, click here.

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16 November 2012 08:38 AM

Guest Post: Graduate Development Programmes - Is a Bigger Company Better?

When you're finally out on your own after years of study, the first thing on your mind is getting a graduate job. People have different scenarios in their minds as to what getting out there and getting a job is going to be like. More often than that, people often also tend to have misconceptions and lack of direction. 

The general impression is that if you're seeking a job, the best thing to do is to apply at the biggest, most well-known company out there, right? But it's not necessarily always the best idea.

Though larger companies have organised graduate schemes in place, these are often very competitive. Smaller companies can sometimes be the best source of graduate schemes. Smaller companies may offer a more focussed graduate scheme with a ore personal feel to your training. While there may be less formal training on offer in a smaller company, graduates often get a much more hands-on approach to learning their trade. They may not be nationally known, but they're often willing to let you progress a lot faster than a larger company for a job well done. This early responsibility also looks great on your CV should you move on to a larger company in the future; you may find yourself managing within six months, whereas it may take five years for you to become a leader in a big corporation. 

When you are working for a smaller company it can often seem like you’re making a massive difference for the company and deservedly get recognition from managers. A lot of graduates like the idea of making a difference to a business in order to standout and receive recognition of their abilities. Getting noticed for an accomplishment or number thereof is very important when it comes to your job. It also increases your sense of self-worth in regards to your career.
Regardless of where you choose to apply, there will always be a steep learning curve with the your first real graduate role. But, if you're not able to find your dream graduate position in a large company, a small business might give you faster advancement and better chances of achieving your dream job in five years than at a large company. So don't limit your graduate job search - a small business might just be the best way to move forward.

Author Bio:
Marie Warren works for Recruitment Revolution.com, the only online recruitment agency specialising in finding the perfect match between candidate and job. Marie has worked at several recruitment agencies and has great advice for all those looking to stand out from the crowd by using specialist online recruitment techniques.


14 November 2012 08:55 AM

Victory! CareerPlayer wins Best Employment Advice Website at the NORAS

Well, we did it again!

Here's Adam and Rob collecting the award in London last week and doing the obligatory 'Hey, we won!' pose

We won the award for Best Employment Advice Website at the National Online Recruitment Awards (NORAs) for the 4th year running, because we're just that great.
Modest too. How do we do it?
We were pretty chuffed to win again - considering we were up against Monster, the Government jobs website, Jobsite and Guardian Careers. There were 164,000 nominations for 583 separate recruitment websites - yes, you read that right. We may be small but we're scrappy!

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07 November 2012 10:29 AM

Get Ahead Of The Graduate Jobs Game With A First-Year Insight Day

With competition for graduate jobs and internships getting stronger every year, it's essential to start your graduate job research early. While internships have been a familar aspect of the graduate job world for some time, insight days are relatively new, so you may not be familar with them.

Aimed at first-year undergraduate students, these are 'mini-internships' ranging in length from a day to a few days. They're designed to give you a taste of what it would be like to do an internship, placement or graduate programme with an employer. You'll meet current graduate trainees, attend presentations, and perhaps take a tour of the offices. Insight days are a fantastic addition to your CV, as well as a great way to network and get yourself noticed by future employers.

Many large graduate employers, including PwC and Lloyds Banking Group, will be running insight days in 2013.  Some recruiters say that they look for applicants who've done an insight day with the company when they come to select students for internships and placements. So it's definitely worth trying to bag a few if you can - click here to find out how to make great applications.



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30 October 2012 02:37 PM

Application time: Internships and work experience

Graduate employers are looking for more than just a good degree, and at this time of year it's coming up to internship application time, with most schemes closing around Christmas or January. To be successful in the graduate job market you need to demonstrate that that as well as academic ability you have employability skills which will enable you to be an effective employee from day one. Work experience will enhance your practical workplace skills, while testing out a few different working cultures will help you to decide where you fit in.

  • Part-time jobs or vacation work - any work experience, however irrelevent you think it is, can used to demonstrate valuable skills on your CV.
  • Traditional internships - these are paid, structured placements, often taken over the summer. Many industries offer placements, with law internships, marketing internships and investment banking internships being some of the most popular. They offer you a real taste of life at a large company.

  • Work placement - some degrees, particularly those with a vocational element such as engineering, offer a year-long placement as part of the course.
  • Voluntary work and gap years - Whether you're working with kids in Peru or helping serve tea at the old peoples' home down the road, volunteering is great work experience. Not only does it help you build up workplace skills, it also shows that you're capable of taking the initiative, and that you've a nice person!
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