April 8, 2016, by Carla
How to Stand out in the Job Market as a New Graduate
By Grace Pownall
Standing out in the graduate market can seem like a difficult undertaking. So last semester I got myself along to two Careers’ events: Spotlight On… Sustainability and Spotlight On… Environmental Careers. As a civil engineering student, with a strong interest in the impact of the construction industry on the environment, I found them extremely interesting.
The events drew students from a wide range of disciplines – engineers, geographers, scientists, architects, and mathematicians – to hear from experts in a wide variety of fields. This diversity showed that there are not just careers in sustainability, but that all industries must consider sustainability and be aware of their impact on the environment.
Although these events were primarily focused on careers in these industries, how to stand out as a graduate was a recurring theme. The speakers had some great advice that could be helpful to all new graduates on their job hunt. Here are 6 that really stood out to me:
Show that you are really interested and invested in the role. Make this shine through in your application or interview, as the company will appreciate your enthusiasm for the work they do.
It helps if choose a career you will enjoy. Think about what kind of company you want to work for and what motivates you. Do you want to benefit yourself? Your community? The environment? A charity? Future generations?
A positive attitude, a willingness to try new things and to learn is important. Use experience from your course or extra-curricular activities as evidence for your strong work ethic.
Have an open mind
Be open to new opportunities and different career paths. It may not be what you envisaged on the first day of university, but it will give you a wider range of experience. It’s likely to be much more exciting and enriching than any pre-planned route to success. Don’t be too fixed on one idea.
Every little helps
Practical experience isn’t limited to placements and internships. Use skills gained from participation in sports, volunteering, societies, part-time work, or even course assignments. You can harvest a wide range of relevant transferrable skills from these activities – and you’ll have a more well-rounded and interesting university experience.
You will also build up a network of contacts, such as supervisors, managers and co-workers. Keep in touch to hear about opportunities or get endorsements and references. Having someone else say how great you are is much more valuable than you bigging yourself up with no evidence!
Communication is key
Recruiters look for students who have soft skills as well as technical ones – nearly all of the applicants you will compete against for a job will have a similar degree to you, so it’s up to you to show them you offer the whole package. Employers want people who can communicate ideas, speak their mind, and have the ability to influence others.
Get student membership
Many degrees are accredited by institutions, such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers or Institution of Structural Engineers. Being a student member allows you access to a wealth of useful information, events and networking opportunities. Students at the University of Nottingham are also eligible for membership with IEMA, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.
Are you looking for ways to stand out from the crowd? For careers advice tailored to you, book an appointment with one of our Career Advisers now.
Image Credit: Hodan Pictures
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