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5 tips for 2020 graduates

Rebecca Fielding, Founder and Managing Director of Gradconsult, has spent nearly twenty years working in the graduate recruitment sector. During that time she’s recruited thousands of graduates from every degree discipline on behalf of household names such as HJ Heinz, Asda and the Co-operative Group.

“The graduate job market in the UK has been drastically changed by Covid-19. The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) reports a 23% reduction in student recruitment numbers for this year. The good news is over 75% of student recruitment vacancies still remain, even in the midst of an unprecedented recession and global pandemic.

There are many reasons to be optimistic, as your skills remain in demand and are highly valued. Here are my five top tips for you this summer:

1. Widen your horizons

Over 70% of graduate vacancies in the UK are typically open to applicants from any degree discipline, so don’t constrain your job search to roles directly related to your degree. Take a look at this twitter thread for inspiration – including a Biology graduate who is now a quantity surveyor.

2. Change your search engine criteria

Most graduates search job sites for the keyword ‘graduate’ – meaning any job title with the word ‘graduate’ in it will typically get ten times more views than those without! Search instead for words like ‘Co-ordinator, Assistant, Administrator’ or the field you are interested in. If an employer has made the effort to put it on a university or graduate jobs board, you know it is a graduate level role regardless of the job title.

3. Contact your careers service

Most university careers services are geared up to support the graduating class of 2020. You can access almost all services remotely and this can include advice and guidance, interview preparation, job vacancies, mock digital assessment centres and even fully paid digital internships.

4. It’s about quality not quantity

The odds of progressing to the next stage of part of any graduate recruitment process are often 20:1 or higher. Good research and an application tailored to the specific requirements of the company improve your chances of progressing. Rather than spending 30 hours on 30 applications (where your chances of getting through are slim), spend 6-8 hours on 4-5 applications each week.

5. Invest in, and showcase, your skills

Whilst job hunting keep developing your professional skills and knowledge by:

  • Joining professional or membership organisations and making the most of learning or networking opportunities.
  • Attending university webinars or workshops to support your transition into work
  • Completing on-line courses to develop your professional, technical or soft skills. The Open University for example has a wide range of free ones to choose from
  • Engaging with social media posts and articles from people within the sector or profession you are interested in.  

This type of self-motivated learning demonstrates your drive and commitment to your continued professional development to any future employer. Add this learning to your professional portfolio or LinkedIn profile to help employers find you.”

Other resources

If you’ve found this article helpful and would like know more about the graduate job market, you might also enjoy the following: