19 September 2012 08:50 AM

Spotlight on: HR Graduate Jobs

HR has shed its paper-pushing image in the last few years and is seen as an increasingly attractive destination for graduates from all degree disciplines. If you're commercially aware and also a real people person - tactful, empathetic, confident and a great communicator - who wants to use these skills in business, this could be the industry for you.

Watch a real HR professional talking about the best and worst bits of his job here.

HR departments have historically had a bit of a bad rep as the boring, 'computer says no' zone in the company - so part of your role as a modern HR professional is to change this image! HR strategy these days is very much about retaining and developing staff, not just making sure they follow the rules arbitrarily. Your understanding of employment law needs to be top-notch, too, so HR can be a good choice for law graduates who've decided that life as a solicitor or barrister isn't for them, but still want to use what they've learned in a business context.

With many companies recognising the advantages of flexible working, part of any modern HR role is to help the company and staff maintain a work-life balance that's mutually beneficial to everyone. To do this requires tact, diplomacy, empathy, assertiveness and negotiation skills. Remember that you will often be dealing with people who are in difficult or emotionally-charged situations - illness, bullying and work stress don't tend to leave people in the most calm frame of mind.

As well as the day-to-day liaison between staff and employers, HR professionals also have a big role to play in the strategic direction of the company. At a senior level, HR teams will advise on employing the right balance of staff in terms of skills and experience, advise on and help to implement training and development programmes across the company, consult with recruitment agencies, give input on pay scales, ensure compliance with current employment and working practise legislation, and lead company strategy on equality and diversity. Whew!

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14 September 2011 10:51 PM

Guest Post: After your degree...

Your degree is an important milestone on the path to a career but unfortunately it is not a passport to the job of your dreams. You will still need to make an impression in your interviews so that you are selected for the position above all the other candidates. So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd after your course?

Practise Your Interview Skills.

Even the most qualified applicant can be moved to the bottom of the list after a poor performance in an interview. Employers do not only use interviews to assess your knowledge and enquire deeper into the skills you have listed in your CV. They also use the interview to assess you as an individual, see whether your personality will mesh well with their team dynamic, and generally get a feel for you as a person. These aspects of your interview are especially important for positions related to media and communications management as forging personal connections and similar people skills are an essential aspect of your role. The only way to know whether your best qualities are coming across in interviews is to receive honest, frank feedback from a friend or professional interview coach.

Know Your CV Inside and Out.

Before your interview, it is essential that you read through your CV and make certain that you can justify and elaborate on all the skills that you have listed. Think through the work and education that you have included and try to assess which elements of that experience are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. Your interviewers will likely question those entries that show excellence as well as those that they may be concerned about, so it is vital that you can explain precisely why you have achieved what you have.

Research the Job and the Company.

You should demonstrate your enthusiasm for this particular role that you have applied for and the company with whom you are interviewing. A general knowledge of the industry will not impress the interviewers. Rather, you should make it clear precisely why you wish to work for this particular company. Researching the company also allows you to show why you are particularly suitable. For example, a company with an environmental ethos may be interested in any environmental advocacy you were involved with at university. This may require a large amount of research, but will really pay off in the interview.

Keep up to Date with Industry Developments.

Your degree is a great foundation for the knowledge you will need in your role, though remember after leaving university practises change and your knowledge will start to become dated. By keeping up to date with new legislative or best-practice advice you show the interviewers that you are self-motivated and potentially ahead of your peers in your current knowledge base. Your peers will all have completed similar degrees, so any individual learning that you have done will help you to stand out as a more qualified applicant and could be the sole reason you are accepted for a job over everyone else.

Volunteer, Intern or Innovate.

Work experience is an important consideration for employers and most companies looking to hire you it is almost seen as a requirement for you to have the experience under your belt. This is something you can gain this experience before your first interview. A great place to start is during out of term time whilst your university course is still on going, the best being during the summer where you will have a few months to really get stuck in to an internship program. Making sure that you are well prepared before the term ends is a must though, as the summer internships can be very popular and become unavailable quickly. Also while you are waiting for interview or applying for jobs you can easily apply to be a volunteer for short internships in the field. This is a great way to show both a willingness to gain additional experience and an added level of ability to show on your CV. If you cannot find an official position as a volunteer or intern, it is still possible to gain experience on your own. Even something as simple as setting up a blog where you discuss current developments in the industry or your own thoughts on your field can make a positive difference.

Guest Post by Media Masters Degree course provider Middlesex University

14 March 2011 02:12 PM

Graduate Interview Questions You Dread...

Graduate Job Interviews. They're fairly predictable nowadays. Look smart. Smile. And have all your competencies prepared...can you work in a team, can you demonstrate leadership, why do you want to work for us? But every so often you get confronted with a killer question. You know the one - where you're doomed whatever you say.

Knoweldge being power we thought we'd arm you with a few choice questions. Here's what we found out when we corned a group of people to ask about their trickiest interview experiences...

16 June 2010 09:05 AM

Using LinkedIn for Graduate Jobs...

Social networks. There can't be one of us that doesn't use one! But can they actually help in your hunt for graduate jobs?

Facebook, by far the most popular social network amongst students, is starting to be used by stacks of graduate recruiters but few go beyond a token presence. And perhaps more importantly, many students feel pretty uncomfortable about using a personal tool for for professional ends.

Which brings us to LinkedIn, a pure business networking tool. It should be a dream for students trying to stand out from their peers but it's surprising how many are stumped by it. Partly this is because it seems to work best for people who already have a professional network. It may also lack relevance for the biggest graduate employers who have more formal recruitment processes. But for the hundreds of small to medium sized companies often priced out of traditional campus recruitment, it's a different story. We recently stumbled upon this video which gives a really simple introduction into how to use LinkedIn and why it should be in every student's armoury in their hunt for graduate jobs.

Yes it's slightly U.S. focussed and yes it's from LinkedIn who naturally want you to join their network but it makes a pretty powerful point.

Have a watch and see what you think...


You might also want to check-out their blog 

14 June 2010 09:05 AM

Internships. Internships. Internships!

If there's one thing we hear from employers it's the importance of internships - "a must for all top students" they say...

So what's the best way to land an Internship?
And how do you squeeze the most out of them?
We wanted to find out - here's a video of what we learnt. It includes advice from employers and experts on everything you could ever want to know about landing your dream Internship.  

Click the image below to watch the video on CareerPlayer... 

18 May 2010 11:41 AM

Office Romance - a perk of work or your worst nightmare!

As the saying goes, you spend half your life at work so you better be doing something you like. But with working hours getting longer and longer employees are increasingly eyeing each other up for a boost to their job satisfaction!

So, can it ever work...the office romance. Or is it just a gamble. A risk not worth taking. A fast track to your P45? We couldn't decide so we packed the camera and put it to a public vote...


UPDATE: Good spot from @GarethGeorge - look out for the new Dr Who half way through...

26 April 2010 09:12 AM

Do you have a typical day?

Apparently no one does...

21 September 2009 09:02 AM

10 Top Tips for Graduates: Finding a Job in a Recession

As a recent graduate you may find searching for a job a struggle in the current economic climate. There are still jobs out there but they are harder to get because more people will be going for them. You will need to think about your job-hunting strategy a little more. Here are our top ten tips for recession survival.
Review your CV 

As the job market gets tougher, it's even more important to pay attention to the fundamentals. Companies will not bother with CVs that display typos and grammatical errors.  Think about the overall layout and emphasise relevant and interesting achievements.
Utilise several job search options
Take advantage of all career fairs and campus visits by employers. Use job boards and Prospects. Recruiters also work with Facebook and Twitter. On LinkedIn you can find the company you're interested in, look up the manager and email them to discuss an internship.
Use your university careers service 

Make sure you make the most of your university’s career service. You can access online resources, vacancy services and talk to an advisor to arrange work experience and review your longer term options. Usually you can use careers services up to two years after you graduate.
Have a Plan B
Be flexible about what you’re prepared to do. Don't be afraid to take a lower level job to get some experience. Also, consider brushing up on your languages. Many employers need graduates who can operate globally. Increasing the sectors and geographical area you are willing to work in will increase the opportunities available to you.
Consider paid or unpaid work experience
Get work experience, voluntary work, or any job that can build on your skills or give you the opportunity to shine. Temping could lead to a permanent job or you could negotiate a three month trial period with the company you want to work for. If you don’t take any action then you may struggle to find a job.
Use your contacts and network
When employers do hire in a recession, they tend to ask their employees for referrals to fill a job as it's cheaper than advertising. Make the most of your informal and formal networks. You can also speak to recruiters at campus fairs and employer presentations.
Apply early
When you see a job advertised, respond as quickly as you can. Even if a company doesn't specify a closing date, make sure your application reaches them as soon as possible. If you apply speculatively to employers who aren't actively recruiting then do it at least three months before you want to start.
Further study
You are applying for jobs where hundreds of applicants have good degrees. If you can show that you have taken your study a step further it may benefit you. Do not automatically consider returning to university as your first alternative when the job search gets tough, unless you believe it will add to your employability.
Consider setting up your own business
If you have ambition and a good idea, it's worth a try soon after you graduate. There is a lot of free information available on starting a business. Banks have useful information packs and Business Link also provides practical advice. Maybe we’ll see you on Dragon’s Den soon!
Take a break and travel
Employers are generally positive about graduates taking time out to travel or work abroad, but only if the experience benefits and skills are gained. If you want to start a graduate job on your return, you need to investigate application deadlines before you go.
Guest blog post by Nikki founder of My CV and Me - CV Writing offering high quality graduate CVs, cover letters and interview coaching.

16 September 2009 11:15 AM

Graduate Jobs and Social Networking: Bridge building between Industry Professionals and Students

This is the first in a series of guest blogs by our über intern Natasha who has spent the summer with CareerPlayer

07.30 AM: Bran flakes, coffee and Facebook.

If anyone assesses my Facebook page they will establish that it is a place where my friends, family, past and present can connect to me at any time of the day. However, it's not only friends and family that we can establish constructive connections with via online networking. 

After five weeks at CareerPlayer I have realized that there are a myriad of tools that students can use to find graduate jobs. There is one tool in particular that I feel compelled to bring to your attention. Social networks! Social networks are excellent for facilitating the search for a graduate placement. “Identify what your goals are and surround yourself with the people you need to help you achieve them.” This is easier than ever before!

Twitter is my top recommendation for connecting with graduate employers. Twitter is a brilliant tool for you to broadcast what you want out of your graduate career. However, that alone is not enough. You must make sure that the right people are listening! By ‘following’ the leaders in your target industry you can grab the attention of your future employers. It is a fantastic opportunity for you to gain answers to your questions. In addition, you gain an invaluable insight into the finest minds in the business! You can find out what they watch, read and even eat! This increases the ease of understanding the people and the mechanics of the industry you intend to work in. Through maximizing your knowledge, you maximize the chances of you landing your dream graduate job! Twitter may also help prevent you making any fatal graduate career mistakes. Linking with potential employers and colleagues will enable you to paint a picture of the personality of a company. Don’t like what you see? Then you can immediately eliminate them as a target employer. Therefore, saving time in applying for a graduate position in a company you will loathe working for. 

LinkedIn is a network that is fantastic for connecting with business professionals. LinkedIn is similar to most social networks in the sense that you can exchange messages with industry experts. However, there is the additional opportunity to read their CV’s. This will help you better establish how people achieved their current positions.    

And of course we cannot forget our beloved Facebook! Loads of graduate employers are starting to create pages on Facebook so it's easier than ever before to interact with companies you're interested in...just be careful your profile reflects the kind of image you'd want then to see. You want catch their attention for the right reasons...

Graduate job hunting is certainly no walk in the park! Let the friends in your network know what you're looking for and allow them to support you online via posting valuable newspaper articles, videos and links. “I saw this and thought of you” could now enable you to nail your first graduate job!

For further information, keep your eyes peeled for the CareerPlayer video on social networking coming soon...

26 August 2009 09:15 AM

What Interviewers Say Behind Your Back...

Ever wanted to know what happens behind the scenes of a graduate interview? Does it really matter what you wear? What about where you went to University? Is landing a graduate job as much of a lottery as it seems?

Take a look at the spoof video below - something tells me this may be depressingly accurate!!

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