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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, recruiting thousands of graduates from every degree discipline for household names such as HJ Heinz, Asda and the Co-operative Group before setting up Gradconsult in 2012.

“The graduate job market in the UK has been drastically changed by Covid-19. The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) members reported a 23% reduction in student recruitment numbers for this year. I’d re-frame this to say 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 highly valued. Here are my five top tips for you this summer:

1. Widen your horizons

Over 70% of graduate vacancies in the U.K. 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 well geared up to support the graduating class of 2020. You can access almost all services remotely and this can include everything from advice and guidance to 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 c4-5 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 have 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:

5 top tips for launching a career in tech

If you’re looking for a career in the tech space, Generation UK have some top tips for you…

  1. Explore for free. Take advantage of the free resources available online to explore your interest in tech. We would recommend taking a look at the introduction to Python on Codecademy or Javascript in 3 hours on FreeCodeCamp.org. This allows you to explore if this is right for you and demonstrates to employers that you are keen to pursue a career in this sector.
  2. Build your online presence. You probably already have an Instagram or Twitter account, however, are you on LinkedIn? Building a professional social presence online is important, find out how to do this here.
  3. Network with tech professionals. Join online webinars, meetups, or events in your area to hear first hand from people in the field what roles look like in the real world so that you can get out there and network. Eventbrite, London Tech Meetups and Meet Up are all good places to start.
  4. Make a plan. You’ve got a taste of what roles are out there, have done some networking, and have an eye on the career you’ve identified as right for you using the “Where do I belong in Tech?” quiz. Now it’s time to create a plan of how you will get the qualifications you need to enter the industry. Identify what these are and create a plan to achieve these. 
  5. Start applying. Getting yourself certified will put everything you’ve learned into perspective. With a wide range of courses available, both online and classroom-based, there’s something out there to suit everyone. Generation offer 4 – 12-week free bootcamps to help you upskill with a guaranteed job interview at the end. If on the other hand you already have the qualifications take a look at job site Hackajob to find the right role for you. If you are looking for an opportunity to simultaneously work and learn then it may be worth exploring apprenticeships on the gov.uk website.

Scotland districts

Select your county to find the page for your local jobcentre.

City of Edinburgh
Clackmannanshire
Dumfries and Galloway
East Ayrshire
East Dunbartonshire
East Lothian
East Renfrewshire
Falkirk
Fife
Glasgow
Highlands
Inverclyde
Midlothian
Moray
North Ayrshire
North Lanarkshire
Orkney
Outer Hebrides
Perthshire
Renfrewshire
Scottish Borders
Shetland
South Ayrshire
South Lanarkshire
Stirlingshire
Tayside
West Dunbartonshire
West Lothian


Aberdeenshire

Aberdeen
Banff
Buckie
Fraserburgh
Peterhead


Angus

Arbroath
Forfar
Montrose


Argyll and Bute

Campbeltown
Dunoon
Helensburgh
Oban
Rothesay


City of Edinburgh

High Riggs
Leith

Westerhailes


Clackmannanshire

Alloa


Dumfries and Galloway

Annan
Dumfries
Stranraer


East Ayrshire

Cumnock
Kilmarnock


East Dunbartonshire

Kirkintilloch


East Lothian

Musselburgh


East Renfrewshire

Barrhead


Falkirk

Falkirk
Grangemouth


Fife

Cowdenbeath
Cupar
Dunfermline
Glenrothes
Kirkcaldy
Level
St. Andrews


Glasgow

Castlemilk
Drumchapel
Govan
Laurieston
Newlands
Partick
Shettleston
Springburn


Highlands

Dingwall
Fort William
Invergordon
Inverness
Portree
Wick


Inverclyde

Greenock


Midlothian

Dalkeith
Penicuik


Moray

Elgin
Forres


North Ayrshire

Irvine
Kilbirnie
Saltcoats


North Lanarkshire

Airdrie
Bellshill
Cumbernauld
Motherwell


Orkney

Kirkwall


Outer Hebrides

Stornoway


Perthshire

Blairgowrie
Perth


Renfrewshire

Johnstone
Paisley
Renfrew


Scottish Borders

Eyemouth
Galashiels
Hawick


Shetland

Lerwick


South Ayrshire

Ayr
Girvan


South Lanarkshire

Rutherglen
Cambuslang
East Kilbride
Hamilton

Lanark


Stirlingshire

Stirling


Tayside

Dundee


West Dunbartonshire

Alexandria
Clydebank
Dumbarton


West Lothian

Bathgate
Livingston

How to use Find a job

Applying for DWP vacancies using the Find a job tool couldn’t be simpler. Watch the video below to see how it works.