Young man in a virtual meeting with another man.

May 11, 2021, by indybamra1

4 Things To Do Today To Give Yourself an Edge in a Challenging Labour Market

By Chris Birchall, Employability Education Projects Officer

There’s been a lot of talk about the state of the UK labour market and the challenges many people face when starting or changing careers in unusual circumstances. However, you can do several things to gain an insight into what opportunities are out there and where they can be found. Below are four things you can do today if you need help highlighting and narrowing down your options:

1. Explore careers events 

You can do this by visiting our events page today and looking at all the events currently on offer. There is a wide range of events organised by our team which aim to cater to you at different points of your career journey. This includes our Spotlight On events which bring several employers together from a specific sector to give an overview of what it’s like to work in that sector and the opportunities you might want to be aware of. Then we have our Skills Workshops that aim to help you develop the employability skills that will help you be successful in putting together a winning application or at interview.

2. Start to research

If you know the sector or the area that you’re interested in working in, start by looking at who the more significant employers are, by searching for roles on our vacancy board, MyCareer and other graduate jobs boards. As a rule, the larger the organisation is, the more visible its opportunities will be. To give you an insight into smaller employers, try using LinkedIn to search for other companies in the sector.

Another valuable way to use LinkedIn is to look for University alumni from your course and investigate where they’re currently working. Taking the time to contact alumni directly via LinkedIn and asking if they’d be willing to take the time to speak with you, can help you understand a company and its culture in more detail.

3. Contact employers directly

When considering smaller employers, many respond well to a speculative application, where you send your CV and a covering letter to them directly to enquire about any opportunities they might have. A successful speculative approach needs to be thought through in advance, with you taking time to investigate the employer and researching the kind of organisation that they are.

Your covering letter will demonstrate your enthusiasm and motivation to work for the employer. What’s the best way to do this? Highlight that you understand the company, its values, and the kinds of work that they carry out in your covering letter.

Avoid falling into the trap of sending out large numbers of generic covering letters. This might feel like the way to go, as sending a generic letter out to dozens of employers can be done relatively quickly once you get started! However, these generic letters are often ignored as they fail to show any level of enthusiasm to the employer who will read them. An employer is far more likely to spend time reading and responding to a covering letter if they can see that it’s been tailored to them and they can see that you’ve researched their company in advance.

4. Come and have a chat

Why not book a careers appointment to talk to us about what you’d like to do after graduation and why. You’ll be able to get another perspective on how you can move forward with your plans. It might mean that you get a better understanding of the employers within a particular area, what other students in your field have previously moved into, or it could be an opportunity to explore options that you had not previously considered.

When booking an appointment through MyCareer, you’ll automatically be booked in to talk to someone working in your faculty Careers team, who has specialist knowledge and will be able to work with you to help you progress.

You’re welcome to book an appointment with our team if you’re struggling to think of which direction you want to take after graduating or if you just need some help putting the finishing touches to an application. And, there’s no limit on how many times you can talk to us.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceCovidGraduating in 2021Labour Market Insights