The time has come to start applying for graduate positions and 2017 will be another tough year of competition for graduates.
Employers are increasingly looking beyond academic results to find the best candidates, so students should find ways to differentiate themselves in a tough job market.
With competition so fierce, the graduates who are well prepared will stand the best chance of securing a coveted graduate spot.
Here are some tips to improve your chances of success:
Don’t doubt yourself
First and foremost, don’t dismiss your chances of success based on your qualifications, background or any other reason. Employers today are looking for a wide and diverse range of candidates who can bring a variety of skills, backgrounds and attitudes to the business. Think about what you love doing, where your strengths lie and how you could bring value to the organisation. “Clever employers recognize the power of a diverse workforce and as such look to hire people from different ethnic backgrounds, studies, gender, sexuality and physical capabilities,” says Nicola Campbell, Accenture’s Graduate Recruitment Lead. “It’s important when applying for positions that you don’t try to hide who you are but rather demonstrate your strengths or highlight how your unique attributes will be an asset to an employer.”
Focus on more than your academic results
Employers are looking for well-rounded graduates – those who have travelled, have volunteered, taken internships or showed entrepreneurial skills. For example, have you developed software or designed an app in your spare time? Have you launched your own business, created a travel blog, written code or invented something? All of this shows initiative, technical and digital capabilities and how you interact with other people. Don’t hide these achievements.
Show your leadership abilities
Have you ever coached or mentored at University? Have you ever taken a lead on a project? Or have your showed leadership in your local community by starting a charity, managing a club or led a campaign? Think back over your years at school and University and pull out examples of where you have demonstrated leadership skills. Accenture’s Nicola Campbell recommends these five steps to help you jog your memory and gather your achievement.
Research the company
It doesn’t look good if your potential employer thinks you have blindly applied for every graduate position on offer. Instead you should show enthusiasm for this specific position and why you would make a good fit. You should know about the company you’re applying to, why you want to work there and be able to clearly state what you are looking for in a job.
Put forward a strong application
The elimination process starts with the application form so it’s important to get this right. It’s astonishing how many graduates skip over sections of the application form by saying “see CV” or just by leaving the section blank. Each question on the application form is designed to give you the opportunity to showcase your unique abilities and what sets you apart from other applicants.
Master interview techniques
If you have made it to the interview stage now is the time to master your interview techniques. Simple things like arriving 15 minutes before the interview, body language and preparing for the common yet tricky questions will improve your chances of success. To read more on mastering the interview process, check out Accenture’s Graduate Recruitment Lead Nicola Campbell’s 10 best interview tips for graduates here.
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