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.

17 October 2012 02:58 PM

Guest Post: Christmas Comes Early for Job Seekers


With only two pay days to go until Christmas, the season to be jolly seems to start earlier and earlier each year. The race for Christmas recruitment is now on, so if you're a graduate or a student and you haven’t considered a Christmas job before, maybe now is the time.
 Restaurants and clubs are already taking bookings for the all-important period, with many reporting 50% occupancy. Supermarkets have set up their Christmas aisles and shops are making space for Christmas gifts, with Twitter reports of the first sightings of festive sparkle in Tesco on the 29th August!

You may say Christmas isn’t truly here until that Coca Cola advert comes on, but the rest of Britain seems to have a head start. There are planty of temporary jobs suited to graduates and students at Christmas, and fortunately they aren’t limited to dressing up as Santa Claus and his elves. The Christmas recruitment drive is a trend widely reported across the UK, with large retailers announcing large numbers of newly-created jobs. Job growth is already up from this time last year, with Christmas set to increase further job opportunities. And it's not just the retail sector that gets merry at this time of year -  IT recruitment is also reporting a significant growth of 11% in September, including roles such as management, human resources and computing. Even if you’re looking for a 'proper' job, don’t be too quick to dismiss the idea of a temporary Christmas role, as these opportunities may be a way to get your foot in the door of a major organisation.

Businesses including Amazon and Sainsbury's have reported a number of new vacancies (2,000 and 15,000 respectively). Managers within these companies have been quick to add that many of the jobs can become permanent, and they look to the temporary employees when looking to fulfil permanent roles. Catherine McDermott, director of operations at Amazon.co.uk, says: “On our busiest shopping day last Christmas, we saw customers order a total of three million items during one 24-hour period at a rate of 35 items every second. We are a growing company - and when we have permanent positions to fill, it’s the top performing temporary employees that we look to.” Sainsbury's customer service and colleague director, Gwyn Burr, adds: “People can develop their career with us and progress relatively rapidly, to run a team, a department or a store. In fact, many of the colleagues who started with us at Christmas are now in charge of large teams and budgets, helping to drive sales and deliver great service.” David Cameron commented: "This is great news - not only for those individuals who will find work, but for the UK economy. This shows that the UK has the infrastructure and talent to continue to attract major investments from leading companies such as Amazon."

A temparay or part-time job can be a good way to get your foot in the door and earn some much-needed cash - and not just at Christmas. In these economically tough times, many businesses are offering more temporary and part-time jobs. One concern for potential employees can be how this affects their pay long-term, and how to organise their finances. With the rise of the 'portfolio career', many recent graduates, especially, have a finger in several pies when it comes to employment! Many sites offer a salary checker which can be a useful tool to help guide whether a combination of part-time roles or moving between contracts may be worth considering.


06 September 2012 09:09 AM

Guest post: Cybersecurity Sector Seen as Secure Employer for Graduates


With the continuing instability of many key UK employment sectors, a sure thing is hard to find. However, cybersecurity has been heralded as an extremely secure career option for graduates with the right skills to offer.

Thanks to the rising demand for online security services and the relative scarcity of qualified candidates, the genuine difficulty faced by many job hunting graduates of ‘too much competition, too few openings’ doesn't apply in this dynamic employment sector. Both private sector and government institutions need the services of hundreds more experts in the near future to combat the rising tide of cyber-related attacks, as well as the more mundane annoyances of low-tech spammers that plague today’s internet.

While the majority of the cybersecurity industry creates tech support jobs that deal with the daily countering of these low-tech nuisances, at the other end of the scale experts are needed to fend off more sophisticated cyber-attacks. These can take the form of defrauding attacks designed to steal or misappropriate capital, or in more deadly instances they can target critical digital infrastructure that can cripple power grids or banking systems with impunity.

Cyber-related attacks are a global threat with a cost to the British Government that not even the most well-informed experts can agree on, but it certainly runs into billions of pounds every year. While the demand for cybersecurity is there, the supply doesn’t measure up to it. Edwin Kanerva, Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton, recently said: “It’s tough going out there. Every company is looking for the same thing. There’s just not enough of them. The gene pool is small.”

Given the job security and relatively high salary that a cybersecurity expert can expect to enjoy, the number of new graduates who are entering the field remains disproportionally low. Perhaps the most obvious reason for this 'small gene pool' of employable graduates in this field is the fact that students who study computer science are being lured away by the bright lights of computer engineering or software development.

The most exciting tech companies, who have Silicon Valley headquarters and a large presence in the UK, are proving to be too much of an attraction to eager young graduates with computer science degrees. The large salaries and inherent coolness of innovative tech companies means that careers with Google, Microsoft and Oracle are highly sought after, drawing computer studies graduates away from online security firms and government departments. These tech giants are also increasingly reaching out to pluck potential candidates from the graduate pool to employ them in Java jobs, as the programming language has come under fire recently for its supposed security issues.

While software development jobs with this kind of employer may be an attractive option, graduates with computer related qualifications should certainly consider the variety of excellent employers looking for cybersecurity experts. The generous salaries, job security and relatively lower levels of competition make it an excellent employment sector.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/umdnews/5257657315/

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

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