The Future Graduate Job Market is Digital

In a month’s time, when 750,000 first degree and Masters’ graduates will emerge onto the job market ready to work, what will they discover? More importantly, will they understand how to make what they find out about the graduate job market work in their favour?

Despite the doom and gloom of a media obsessed with Brexit and predicting its negative effects, our UK job market is doing a fine job of remaining robust.

Those searching for a graduate job right now should feel encouraged to know that more people than ever before are employed in the UK. In fact, the nation is enjoying one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.

New graduates should, however, keep in mind that competition for graduate jobs remains as tough as ever. 

Over the past 12 months blue-chip companies have advertised 22,000 graduate level positions, and while that might sound like a lot, you should be aware that these employers receive upwards of 500 applications for every role.

What does this suggest about the competition?

That while graduates are encouraged to apply for the best jobs, what applicants are often not aware of is just how competitive the job market is. Not all recruiters will tell you that.

One recruiter for a major investment bank we spoke to recently informed us that for every 100 new entry-level vacancies they have, they receive well over 100,000 applications, from different parts of the world. What’s more, 85 of these 100 positions were filled from Summer 2018 Internships at the bank last September.

What does this mean for UK graduates?

  1. For every entry-level graduate job, there will be a huge number of applications from around the world (not just the UK).
  2. With so much choice of candidate, it’s an employers’ market.
  3. It explains why only 52% of graduates land a graduate level job.
  4. And it explains why anyone who has gone through the angst to invest all that money, time and effort needs to be clued up on the graduate job market, and how to navigate it. Otherwise, they will find it a total waste.

The baristas of the UK have never been so highly academically qualified as they are today, and this is quite possibly the reason why!

Employers have not been shy in telling us that they are just not interested in interviewing a graduate who lacks employment experience in the field they want to work in, and/or has not completed an internship.

That may seem like bad news, but it is not. Far from it. It’s an insight into what a graduate must do to land one of these highly sought-after positions. If you can see it for what it is, and run with it, you will be better off than most.

Those who enter the job market without the certainty of knowing which careers are best suited to them, or without the skills and confidence to handle interviews or without appropriate non-academic experience, have zero to little chance of succeeding on the graduate market.

How do you go about that?

Any graduate with the will and desire to land a graduate level job role can land one, particularly with the knowledge of a company like ourselves.

We believe the high level of insights we offer will help. One of these is about knowing where to look when searching for employment.

Start by reading this article by Douglas McWilliams the President of CEBR:

This is a wake-up call for government and opinion-formers alike, about the importance of the digital economy and its relevance in creating success for UK plc.

The article was prompted by his 2015 book, The Flat White Economy, which led to some further reflections.

(In case you were wondering, the immense amount of flat white coffee consumed in Shoreditch and other “digital hubs” is what gives the book its title!)

In discussions with Douglas, he said to us,

What actually mainly drives it (the growth of the digital economy) is the huge scale of online business – a much higher share in the UK than in any other major economy. The online activity drives massive amounts of online marketing. In addition we have a relatively large fintech sector.

Douglas McWilliams

It is predicted that 60% of all jobs will have digital elements by 2025.

Yet, we have discovered something interesting – that 60% of all new graduate entry level jobs are already digital in some way.

This information was gathered from insights about the jobs the graduates we’ve helped have been landing since January.

Take a look at this list:

  • 2 in Machine learning or Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • 4 in digital marketing
  • 2 in IT consultancy
  • 2 in app development

We have also been running daily checks on new graduate positions consistently over the past 8 weeks. We have used, which is recognised as one of the largest UK job sites.

They advertise 25,000 graduate jobs approximately on a daily basis, and 60% of these are prefaced with words such as (Graduate) Tech, IT or digital.

This is good news for every single graduate (and their parents)!

While some of these are coder jobs or require degrees in computer science, 85% simply require some interest in digital, as well as the determination to make a career in this fast-paced and future proof way of creating a career.

If I was to offer any advice to the parents and young people out there who are searching for a job right now, it would be this: look very carefully at the variety of tech and digital options available.

These companies vary in size and type yet the majority of them are willing and keen to train up their future employees in the role. There are simply not enough graduates out there with the digital skills required to do the job.

In addition to this, these companies simply seek the typical skills and competencies that employers usually look for…

master 6 employability skills

I think it is fitting to conclude with our spin on this well-known advertising slogan as it sums it up perfectly, “The future is bright; the future is digital”.

How we help

The Student Book & The Graduate Book: Get (& Thrive In) The Job You Really Want

Chris Davies is the author of The Student Book, All you need to know to get the job you really want and The Graduate Book, All you need to know to do really well at work. The Student Book has made it on to the list of the 21 books every 20-year-old should read!

One-to-One Coaching: Stages 1 to 6

If you’re a student or graduate looking for help, our 6 stage one-to-coaching includes learning about yourself, creating a career plan, creating your CV, cover letters and LinkedIn profile, applying for jobs, interview coaching and job coaching and mentoring.

Our coaching follows a six-stage process. You don’t have to do all six stages. You can simply choose the help you need most. But when you choose all six stages, we guarantee success.

Do you need help finding your dream graduate job?

You can book a FREE 15-minute coaching call with Chris Davies!

4 Of the Best Tips for Writing a Winning Graduate CV from Your CV Consultant

An excellent graduate CV is the difference between getting a positive response from prospective employers and no response at all.

We’ll take you through 4 of the best tips for writing a graduate CV that demonstrates what you’ve accomplished in the past and indicates what you are capable of achieving in the future.

So if you need to write an accomplishments-based CV that makes you stand out from other candidates, keep reading!

➡️ Editor’s comments: For this post, we’ve collaborated with Chris Pennington, the Director at Your CV Consultant.

#1: Identify your Career Typology

Leaving University can be an exciting but also daunting time. After studying hard and taking your exams, entering the job market can feel like a large leap into a new world.

During this time, many graduates panic and apply for multiple jobs without taking the time to first assess their skills and work out what graduate job roles are right for them.

Chris Davies from Graduate Coach always advises candidates to do two key things before writing their graduate CV.

The first thing is to identify your career typology, as graduate jobs can be categorised into the following 3 groups:

  • Specialist: This category includes roles within fields such as engineering, science and medicine. These graduates are hired for their core expertise within a particular area.
  • Knowledge Architect: This category includes roles within consultancy, logistics, marketing, finance etc. Graduates are employed in these roles due to their ability to interpret data and deliver insights from them.
  • Communicator: Graduate roles within this category include account managers, salespeople and hospitality.

➡️ Action point: from this list, identify which of the three categories describes you best.

#2: Complete a Skills Audit

Once you’ve identified what career typology suits you best you’ll be able to identify suitable graduate roles.

With this knowledge, you can then perform a tailored skills audit.

➡️ Action point: Identify the job role that is suited to you. Then using job descriptions online compile all the skills and competencies you need to demonstrate in order to be successful in that role.

In a table format, list out the required skills and competencies in one column, and in the column next to it, using the STAR format, give an example of how you have demonstrated that skill in the past.

The STAR format

  • Situation – What was the situation that you or your employer faced?
  • Task – What tasks were involved in that situation?
  • Action – What actions did you take?
  • Result – What were the results of those actions?

Your completed skills audit will provide a solid foundation for you to write your achievements-based graduate CV.

#3: Writing your Achievement-based CV

The next step is to write your graduate CV. Your CV must convince the employer that you should be given the job that you are applying for. Think of it like a sales pitch.

You’ll want to include:

A Personal Statement – this is the first section the interviewer will see. Use it to attract attention. In a few short sentences, tell the employer who you are, what you are looking for and what you can offer in return.

Key skills and achievements – Try using powerful opening action verbs to describe each achievement you have completed in relation to your roles, and more importantly University experience.

Then follow up with impressive results or outcomes so your achievements can be measured, An example could be ‘Successfully transformed’ or ‘Inspired fellow classmates’.

These openings can then form the start of a bullet point where you can go on to state what was achieved. Think about writing your University experience like you would a job role.

This style can really help when entering the job market and it also shows the reader you have thought through what is needed from the CV.

Academic achievements – in this section you’ll need to include your degree grade.

You can also include other achievements that you gained whilst at university. Many graduates omit achievements from activities such as volunteering, marketing for the student union or organising an event for a society or club.

Non-academic achievements – Once you have your University and College experience on page one of the CV, then add any employment experience you have.

This can include placements you may have undertaken and also part-time or summer jobs.

Again, highlight what skills and achievements you have made and pick ones that would help in the role applied for.

As your career develops your work history will eventually move to page one above your education; so remember to keep your CV updated and change its style as you become more experienced.

4: Review the structure and formatting of your CV

How your CV looks on paper is very important.

Ensure that the typeface (font) and the font that you are using is consistent throughout your CV.

Conventional typefaces such as Times New Roman or Arial are best when it comes to writing your CV. Avoid using informal fonts such as Comic Sans.

When it comes to font size, you’ll want your name at the top to be larger than the rest of the text so that it stands out. You may also use a slightly larger font size for headings. The remaining body text should all be the same size and no smaller than size 11.

Final Thoughts From Chris Pennington, Founder of Your CV consultant

Once you have completed the steps above, review your finished CV. Then review it again!

It’s really important there are no spelling or grammatical errors as that can lessen the impact of the document.

You should now have a well designed, thought-provoking, and professional looking CV that showcases your skills and shows how you can benefit the company and role applied for.

If this is done correctly it can really help you stand out from the crowd and your University peers.

Your CV can then give you the edge so you can get those important interviews and all your University experience will have added depth to your history.

It may also have given you an advantage over more experienced applicants making YOU the ideal candidate for the role!

About Chris Pennington

Your CV Consultant was founded by Chris Pennington who has had a successful 15-year career within Financial Solutions Management and as a Personal Insolvency Specialist. Within this time he has built up experience within CV Assessment, Recruitment, Interviewing Candidates, and Career Coaching.

How to ensure your son or daughter lands a Graduate job!

Most of the parents we speak to believe that if their son or daughter gets a 1st or 2:1 from a good university, then it will guarantee a graduate job after University.

Sadly this is no longer the case.

With 78% of students now achieving a 1st or 2:1 with honours, a good grade no longer helps you stand out from the crowd. Many students work hard on their studies but neglect building the employability skills employers look for in graduates.

With 500,000 students graduating each year, how can you ensure your son/daughter gets ahead of the competition?

This article outlines how to help them land a great job, all is not lost!

But first of all, here’s a bit about Graduate Coach.

Who are we?

Over the past 9 years, the team here at Graduate Coach have helped students and graduates to transform their degrees into careers. We’ve helped 400+ people to land opportunities at great companies such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Google, Facebook, Walt Disney, Amazon The NHS, and many more.

How to help your son / daughter get a graduate job

1) Encourage them to get work experience

Why is work experience so essential to career success?

There are far too many graduates competing for too few graduate jobs. Some vacancies receive over 100 applications. For roles at Blue Chip companies, it can be well over 500.

As a result, employers only consider employing Graduates who can hit the ground running from day one. To hit the ground running you need extensive, demonstrable work or work-related experience.

  • 85% of graduate employers automatically reject candidates with no work experience
  • 91% of employers believe work experience is more important than a degree.

Work experience is vital for two reasons;

  1. It teaches graduates vital employability skills
  2. It helps graduates understand what they WANT to do as a career.

1.2) Employability skills

The infographic below shows you the nine key CBI employability skills that employers look for in Graduates.

You must encourage your son or daughter to acquire these life skills via work, volunteering, any other form of experience. Anything that enables them to demonstrate to employers that they are work ready.

But what happens if they have already graduated and don’t have these skills?

Essentially, they need to acquire these skills via a graduate level internship or any other form of employability/work skill acquisition. It’s quite acceptable to do a short stint as an intern after University.

1.3) What the Graduate WANTS to do

Graduate employers’ biggest frustration is that most Graduates do not know what they want.

How many of us went into a job blindly at the start of our career, only to realise that it didn’t suit us at all?

Years can be wasted, confidence lost, potential earnings lowered – the negative impact on our well being of working in the wrong job can be astounding. We have seen examples of these symptoms time and time again in the Graduates we coach.

The more work experience that a student/graduate has, the better they understand their preferences and values and thus; what their ideal career is.

They can, therefore, be clear with employers about their wants and desires for their career. The employer can have confidence that the graduate will put 100% into the role and are likely to commit to the job and stay for a number of years.

This is a huge area that most people overlook.

For these reasons, work experience is vital for your son and daughter.

2) How else can you help?

  • Encourage your son or daughter to find work experience that is related to their areas of interest and passions.
  • Consider your network, who could help them in these areas?
  • Encourage your son or daughter to activate and build their own network, former teachers, lecturers, re-contacting old acquaintances.
  • Contacting companies with a carefully prepared cover letter which highlights the skills they will bring to the company.

3) Hire a graduate coach

As your son or daughter grew up, they will have undertaken extracurricular activities such as learning a musical instrument or playing a sport. To help them learn the violin, you’d get them a music teacher, to excel as a tennis player, you would hire a tennis coach. More recently, to learn to drive, your son or daughter will have utilised a driving instructor.

Graduate coaching is no different. 

To land their dream graduate job, it makes sense to get them a graduate coach to help write excellent CVs, perform well in interviews, navigate their early career and more.

We are the UK’s leading Graduate Coaching company. Please schedule a call with our Head Coach and founder, Chris Davies at a convenient time for you.

Graduate Coach: What We Do

We help Graduates who struggle to secure a graduate-level job. We have seen countless examples of Graduates who have failed a couple of job applications and as a result, are now working in bars and coffee shops. This is a tragic waste of talent and ability.

Our mission is to help Graduates find the jobs that their education deserves.

We help Graduates to understand their unique strengths, skills and values and to select graduate job types that suit them best.

We also help guide students who are currently at university to build a career plan to increase their chances of securing a Graduate level job after graduation.

We offer a wide range of services to suit every budget from ebooks to 1-2-1 career coaching sessions. We invite you to check out our website for more information.

Our mission is to help as many students and graduates as possible. No matter what your son or daughter’s situation is, we are here to help.

Our Resources

  • Check out, and share our blog with your son or daughter. We share careers advice specifically tailored to students and graduates.
  • Encourage your son or daughter to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips on interviews and other career advice.
  • Our founder and Head Graduate Coach Chris has published 2 books. The Student Book is designed to tell your son or daughter everything they need to know to get a job. The Graduate Book helps Graduates to thrive in their career.
  • We offer a range or Online courses and 1-2-1 coaching as part of our core services.

Contact us via email or call 02070 149547 to find out more.

Top Tips for Getting an Internship at Rainbow Trust

If you’re currently at university or have recently graduated, getting an internship is a great way to build your skills and gain valuable experience.

Getting an internship can give you the skills that employers are looking for, including;

-Communication skills
-Business Acumen
-Prioritising skills.

So how can you boost your chances of landing an internship?

➡️Editor’s comments: Gemma Melhuish, The Director of Human Resources at Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity has collaborated with Graduate Coach, the UK’s No.1 Graduate Coaching Company, to share top tips including;
-how to get an internship
-how to maximise your chances of converting your internship into a graduate position.

Without further ado, let’s get started. 🤗

So Why Choose Rainbow Trust? 🌈

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity supports over 2,500 families with a seriously ill child.
With eight care teams across England and a Head Office in Surrey, the charity is proud of its varied and successful internship programme.
It offers unpaid work placement opportunities to students and recent graduates, which offer an introduction to a particular field of work, supports learning and enhances employability.

Opportunities at Rainbow Trust

Interns are as important to Rainbow Trust as a member of staff or regular volunteers.
We provide work placements in all areas of work both front line in our care teams, working with our Family Support Workers, who support families with a seriously ill child and in our Head Office in all support functions.
These range from opportunities in:

The internships typically last three months with interns working at least three days a week.

We are open to supporting interns in all aspects of what we do. 😃

Converting your internship at Rainbow Trust into a graduate role

If you’re looking to get into a graduate programme at Rainbow Trust my advice would be to:
-Work hard
-Be open to try new things 💯
-Don’t be afraid- Everyone at Rainbow Trust is always willing to help where they can.
-When applying, show passion in your area of expertise and Rainbow Trust as an organisation.

➡️Key Employer Insight: You will have a varied skill set from University or College, identify how these are transferable to the role you are applying for and what you can offer and how you stand out.We will be looking for professionals who show versatility and capacity for growth. Rainbow Trust will work with you and will support you to be the best you can be.

➡️Graduate Coach’s comments: For even more tips and advice on how to thrive in the workplace, check out The Graduate Book, written by head Graduate Coach, Chris Davies. 😎

Benefits of interning with Rainbow Trust

It can sometimes be difficult to see the immediate benefit of working in an unpaid role. However, the long-term gain can be the difference between gaining paid employment in your “perfect” role, pipping your competitor to the post! 💪

Your internship will give you a competitive advantage in terms of; gaining experience, developing skills, making connections, strengthening your CV’s and learning about a particular field or the Charity sector more widely.

Case studies

One of our previous interns Max joined Rainbow Trust as part of the digital team after his second year of university.
His experience with us clearly outlines some of the tangible benefits you can get interning at Rainbow Trust.

“Working an unpaid internship as a twenty year old was always going to be a challenge, and sometimes it was tough. However, when you hear the feedback from families saying “your work is invaluable” and “we wouldn’t have been able to cope without you” it feels very worthwhile and gives you an immense sense of pride to know that you are making the lives of families with a seriously ill child, easier. I know that Rainbow Trust will continue to grow and help more families across the country who need their support, as their work is truly remarkable. The experience I have gained from working at Rainbow Trust has given me invaluable experience, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I can now go into interviews knowing that I have the transferable skills employers are looking for.”

Sophia was an intern working with our PR Team:

“As my internship was in the PR department, I wanted to develop my writing skills and begin a portfolio of work that I could showcase to potential employers. This worked a treat! My supportive team helped and encouraged me the whole way and I was delighted when I received coverage from lots of different publications.”

How do you apply?

If you’re interested in developing your skills with us at Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and interning at a fantastic Charity, please see our current internships here.

➡️Editor’s comments: That’s all folks! Thanks for reading this blog post. Do let us know if you decide to apply for an internship at Rainbow Trust, and we’ll be more than happy to review your CV!

5 Top Tips for Making A Successful Grad Scheme Application From Randstad

The UK graduate market is competitive, standing out as an attractive graduate to employers has never been so important.

As a graduate, you’ll have;

  • A degree 🎓
  • A decent bunch of A-Levels, or similar 📝
  • and (hopefully) some work experience. 👔

So how can you stand out from the crowd? 🤔

➡️Editor’s comments: Amanda Akien, Senior Marketing Manager at Randstad, (the largest recruitment agency in the world) has collaborated with Graduate Coach, the UK’s No.1 Graduate Coaching Company, to outline to students and recent graduates five key areas that can help to make your graduate job applications a success!

So let’s get started! 😀

#1: Express your passion for the industry, company and role

Put as much attention to detail into your applications as you do your Instagram account! 💯

It doesn’t matter if your CV is printed on the finest Conqueror paper or if the job you are applying for was your childhood dream; if you’re not able to explain your passion for the job and the organisation, you don’t stand a chance.

➡️Employer Insight: Graduate recruiters are experts in identifying motivation and are looking for candidates with real desire to get the job and work for the organisation.

➡️Graduate Coach’s comments: To be able to confidently articulate why you are the perfect fit for the job, first you need to ensure that the job is aligned with your skills, interests and ambitions.

Here at Graduate Coach, we conduct a ‘skills audit’ to help students and recent graduates identify what type of role is best suited to them.

Caption: Chris Davies, the founder of Graduate Coach conducting a 1-2-1 coaching session with a recent graduate. Find out more about Chris here

Based on the results of the skills audit, we then determine if you are:

  1. A communicator.
  1. A specialist.
  1. A knowledge Architect.

Based upon the results we then advise candidates on the types of role that is best suited to them.

Then we provide comprehensive interview coaching so that the candidate stands the best chance of nailing the interview!

#2: Conduct adequate research 

Whether you spent a week or a year researching for your dissertation, graduate employers expect candidates to be good at research. 🤓 They’ll also expect you to spend a significant amount of time researching the organisation (not just reading the website) and the roles available.

You need to look at:

  • The key issues the industry is facing and what that might mean for the organisation.
  • Who the competitors are and how do they beat the competition!

If you don’t know what’s happening in the industry, you’re at a disadvantage.

➡️Action Point: Read relevant articles/blogs from key industry experts on LinkedIn. The more you build your knowledge on these issues, the more chance you have of a successful application.

➡️Graduate Coach’s Comments: According to CV library, candidates spend 36 minutes on average preparing for an interview. This is simply not enough time. We find taking a strategic approach to interview prep is most effective. Take a look at our interview preparation documents

#3: Take your time with each grad scheme application

Graduate applications can be tiresome especially with a busy social life and plenty of assignment deadlines.😴 However, do not rush your applications.

Treat each one like a final year assessment. Pay attention to spelling and grammar as well as writing the best answers and personal statements you can.

➡️Employer Insight: Put the time in and you might only need to submit a couple of applications as opposed to dozens.

➡️Graduate Coach’s Comments: Once you have completed a skills audit and have identified which roles suit you, you’ll find it easier to compile a shortlist of companies you wish to apply for.

Then you’ll need to create an achievement based CV. One that demonstrates to the employer that you would thrive in the position. Here you’ll find a comprehensive guide to creating a strong graduate CV.

#4 Know what the graduate recruiters are looking for

Obtaining that all important graduate role (you know, the one that will be the envy of classmates and will put a smile on your parent’s faces for the next three months 😜), is not just about your qualifications or whether you get a 1st, a 2:1 or a 2:2.

It is about the other skills and characteristics you have developed throughout your studies, work experience, voluntary work, or hobbies and how you’ll apply those attributes to thrive in your graduate role. 😀

The application procedures of major graduate employers will cover:

  • Motivation
  • Company fit
  • Competency
  • Personality profile or aptitude tests

➡️Employer Insight: Be prepared with detailed examples of competencies such as ‘teamwork’ or ‘problem-solving’ on an application form or during an interview.

➡️Graduate Coach’s Comments: Students and graduates that work with us tend to be worried about the types of interview questions they’ll be asked and fear not being able to answer them on the spot.

Therefore, we put together an essential guide to interview questions! It gives model answers to 40+ graduate interview questions. Email us to request a free copy of the guide!

#5 Brush up your commercial awareness skills

Whichever sector your graduate job falls under, graduate employers like graduates who are commercially aware. 

This is an insight into how organisations operate, what is happening in the business world and the impact this could have on their business and industry.

➡️Employer Insight: leverage your linguistic skills! A second language can be useful for global organisations especially if you would like to work internationally in the future. 🌍

➡️Graduate Coach’s comments: When preparing answers to the interview questions you are most likely to be asked, demonstrate your level of commercial awareness by referencing facts and figures about the company or industry.

➡️Editor’s comments: That’s all folks! Thanks for reading this blog post. We really hope you’ll be able to apply these insights to your graduate applications!

Before you go…. 🤗

Randstad has a number of graduate-level vacancies on their website so check those out if you are looking for your dream graduate job.

They also recruit on behalf of a number of graduate employers including Ford and Ford Credit:

  • Ford: Current graduate roles available include: marketing, sales and IT coming soon.
  • Ford Credit: has current roles in business, finance and IT.


If you are a career-driven student or recent graduate who wants to land the graduate job of your dreams, check out Chris Davies’ (the founder of Graduate Coach) eBooks on Amazon.

And last but not least…

Share this post with all your friends on Twitter (because sharing is caring!😍)

How to coach yourself into the right career

With so many different graduate career choices on offer how can you reduce the chances of choosing badly? Our blog on how to coach yourself into the right career can help. 

Many graduates invest great energy into the process of finding a job without giving due attention to the most important step in choosing the right career, which is to get to know yourself.

Of course, you have an idea of what you like and dislike and, perhaps, your strengths and weaknesses, but there are different levels of self-awareness which, once achieved, can help you to make the right career choice.

Why is this key?

Your career choice determines your future, that’s why we place so much emphasis on it. Your lifestyle, and economic and social status all rest on this decision. Most importantly, it also has a huge impact on your emotional well-being and happiness. Springing out of bed in the mornings is a lot easier when you enjoy what you do.

Ninety-per cent of the graduates who come to me for career coaching will end up changing their minds about the kind of work they want to do. After a bit of probing and discussion they begin to see that, actually, they are best suited to something else. Getting to know yourself can clarify the career steps you should take.

So, how can you coach yourself to choose the right career? It is important that you start by placing your own skills, interests, experiences, strengths and even weaknesses at the centre of making the right choice.

Step One: Audit your skills

The first step we take our graduates through is to audit their skills. A skills audit is a stock take of the skills you have.

When auditing your skills, you should include both paid and unpaid work as it all counts towards your experience. Remember to include your hobbies and interests, as these also count.

Step Two: Check your skills against those employers look for

Once you’ve listed your skills, check them against what potential employers are looking for. There are at least nine employability skills that all employers say they look for in a new hire.

These are:

  1. Business awareness – you have strong awareness of how the company makes money, how they compete with other brands and how they can reduce costs
  2. Communication – you can get your point across clearly, verbally and in writing
  3. Analytical – you can interpret data into practical, easy-to-use information
  4. Resilience – you keep going in the face of what may seem like failure or lack of result
  5. Problem solving – you automatically look for the best solution to overcome an obstacle
  6. Self-management – you know how to use your own initiative and manage your own behaviour and well-being
  7. Organisation – you can organise your own workload, time and priorities
  8. Teamwork – you can work well with others to achieve a shared objective
  9. Entrepreneurial – you have good innovative ideas and leadership skills
employability skills include business awareness, communication, entrepreneurship, IT skills, numeracy, problem solving, resilience, self-management, teamwork

Once you’ve audited your skills and checked them against the nine employability skills employers look for it’s time to think about your ideal career.

Step Three: What career are you best suited to?

Choosing your ideal career begins with looking at what you have particularly enjoyed and been good at. We find that a graduate will usually fit into one of three types of careers:

  • Specialist – doctor, vet, coder
  • Analyst – planner, logistics, advisor
  • Communicator – hospitality, sales, advertising

The majority of those we work with will fit into one of the latter two because a specialist is more likely to have obtained a degree with a clear career path.

Many find it hard to uncover the relevant skills they have. Again, the clue is in what you have done well and enjoyed.

Finding relevant but buried skills

I once worked with a young man who had achieved his rowing blue at university. What was interesting about him was that he didn’t think he had much to offer an employer. He only mentioned this award after a series of questions about what he’d done in his spare time while at university.

Now, let’s think about what achieving an award of this kind really says about a person. The blue award is given in recognition of outstanding performance so, immediately, it marks you out as someone who possesses a set of valuable attributes. You are a person that has consistently outperformed others around you, who makes significant contributions to your team.

If you have worked in a coffee shop, you can list skills such as customer service, communication, problem solving, organisation and resilience. Remember the time you had to think on your feet to help those diners calculate the percentage each should pay for their meal? Or the time you had to help that lactose-intolerant customer choose the best options on the menu?

Breaking down the tasks you carried out to their minutest detail will help you zoom in on tasks you did well and which can be transferred to other jobs. This is work you have to do for yourself: employers won’t do it for you. All it takes is a little out-of-the-box thinking.

What’s naturally outstanding about you?

According to Forbes, outstanding employees are:

  • Clued up on their job and the environment they are working in.
  • Able to apply what they learn to the job – so they continuously improve.
  • Great with people and in their place as part of a team.
  • Able to anticipate problems and address them before they do harm.
  • The type to speak up about sticky topics like workload and ineffective procedures and to suggest how to fix them.
  • Likely to have a career plan in mind and don’t rely on others to manage it.
  • Respectful of others without being people-pleasers.
  • The type to seek out and ask for help when they need it.
  • Likely to share their ideas and embrace the ideas of others.
  • Consistent and get results.

You need to extract these accomplishments and own them. Expressing them on your CV and during your job interview will mark you out for the right career.

Step Four: Boost your confidence

Our final step in coaching an individual is to help them believe themselves. You must do the same. Why is self-belief so essential for getting the job you want? Because the art of getting a job is to convince an employer that you are the best person for the position advertised – if you don’t believe that yourself how are you going to convince anyone else?

There are four main components to cultivating a strong sense of inner belief without coming across as a pompous know-it-all (which no-one likes). These are:

Past accomplishments. Make a list of the things you’ve accomplished in the past. Think about the time you won that race, met that deadline, solved that difficult problem or wrote that great essay or article. Regularly remind yourself of your triumphs.

Talk about your passions. Focus on specific things around your work or hobbies that really interest you and get you fired up. This will help you to get in touch with your personal values and engender a sense of confidence in yourself as an individual.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Whether we like it or not other people’s opinions of us do affect us, especially those of the people we value or are close to. You want people around you who reaffirm and build you up.

Cultivate a growth mindset. Remember, mistakes are inevitable, and no-one becomes skilled at anything without having to learn, so you must be willing to fail forward. One of the top reasons why people struggle to believe they can achieve a goal is because of past failures that leave them believing they will fail again in the future. If you are willing and determined to pick yourself up, learn and move on after every set-back you will eventually land the right career.

At Graduate Coach we offer plenty of support to help you coach yourself into the right career.


A degree is no longer enough – Aspect County

Young people graduate into a different world from that of twenty or thirty years ago when their parents went to university. The student population has doubled since 1992 and last year UCAS reported that a record number, almost half, were accepted into university. The problem is what happens when they leave. With 78% of students now achieving a 1st or 2:1, competition for graduate level employment is rife. Which is why, according to official data by the Office of National Statistics, almost half (47%) of graduates were in non-graduate jobs two years later.
Read Article

How we help

One-to-One Coaching: Stage 1 and Stage 2

If you’re a student or graduate our one-to-one coaching can help. Stage one: Learning about yourself – Find your ideal career will help you learn about yourself, give you a better understanding of your preferences, strengths and skills and help you find your ideal career. Stage two: Career plan develops your career plan – what skills do you have and what do you need, establishes your current level on the 9 employability skills, create your career plan, discussions about what career options will suit you best, Internships and work experience needed.

The Student Book & The Graduate Book: Get (& Thrive In) The Job You Really Want

Chris Davies is the author of The Student Book, All you need to know to get the job you really want and The Graduate Book, All you need to know to do really well at work. The Student book introduces the 9 Employability Skills, how and where to acquire them, ways to develop them, how to prove you have these skills and how to create a CV that highlights your achievements.

Nail That Interview Course with Chris Davies

Nail That Interview Online Course will teach you everything you need for interview success. Module 1 – I CAN do the job – contains the Graduate Coach Skills Audit and the 9 Employability Skills.


The full career coaching programme with Chris Davies | Interview training

Creating a career action plan | Developing career goals

Tell me about yourself | Self introductions with Chris Davies

What graduate recruiters look for | Career coaching for graduates

Why you should consider getting a graduate coach

No-one aims to win at sports, master a musical instrument or learn to drive a car without first getting some kind of coaching or mentoring, do they?

Then why do so many graduates not think the same when it comes to building their equally important graduate careers?

A career or graduate coach may seem alien to some but in actual fact you will have enjoyed exactly this kind of help from the moment you started school (if not sooner). You will have called these people teachers and tutors, but these are the people who coached you to get you where you are today.

Now that they have done their part, what about the rest of the way? Surely you need the same type of support to help you get ahead in your career – at least if you expect to land a graduate level job.

Career coaching helps you to prepare for what’s ahead

Coaching is about getting somewhere or achieving something. Someone who has been there, or somewhere similar, is in a very good position to show you how. They can point out the fast lanes to take and pitfalls to avoid. A graduate coach or mentor can help you set smart career goals and keep you accountable to them. They will help you do the work required to move your career forward.

Coaching, whether it’s for sports, business, singing, health or fitness, is especially important wherever achieving your goal means facing competition or resistance (whether external or internal). When that resistance comes, as it will do when going for a graduate level job, your graduate coach will be there to keep you motivated, focused and on track. A coach or mentor can act as a cheerleader to cheer you along the way.

Career coaching – a common misconception

According to Richard Branson one of the main reasons why people don’t seek out a coach or mentor is because they think it is a sign of weakness. This is a common misconception. Asking for help when you need it is a sign of strength not weakness. It shows wisdom and good self-awareness. You understand that no successful person, no matter who they are, gets to the top of their game on their own. The person who thinks they can is in for an unnecessarily long and bumpy ride.

Graduate coaching brings out your strengths

A graduate coach will help you to bring out your strengths. For a start, a coach can give you useful feedback and critique. They can help a graduate realise skills they never knew they had. Take Mark, a graduate we coached recently. He wanted a career as an accountant and, after many failed interviews, came to us for help. Through working with us he realised that he much preferred digital marketing as the career suited him better. Pretty soon Mark landed his first interview, got the job and has since been promoted. Mark is in fact typical of the many graduates who come to us with one career idea in mind and end up with something that suits them far better. Coaching can open your eyes to a better job for you.

Not only can a coach open your eyes to latent skills, they can also help you understand what areas to work on. You cannot develop your skills all at once. There will be skills that need to be developed first before you can work on others. It’s all about learning the right things at the right time so you’re always growing.


What should you look for in a graduate coach?

In my book, The Graduate Book, finding a coach or mentor is the twelve key to success for anyone who wants to do well in their career. In that book I share some advice on what to look for in a coach, and where to find one.

If you want to find a graduate coach look out for the following:

  • Someone who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. A person that’s too nice or too soft will not help you grow.
  • Someone you respect, admire and hold in high esteem. This is likely to be someone accomplished in their field, who you can look up to.
  • Someone who inspires you. This person should make you feel encouraged and energised. After a session you should feel ready and inspired to act on your goals.
  • Someone who has gone before you. This will likely be someone who is older than you, at least in your early career. We tend to refer to a coach as someone who has already achieved some mastery in the same thing you want to do, and a mentor as anyone who has the life skills to guide you in your own life.
  • Someone who can communicate clearly. You need a coach or mentor who can explain what they mean in simple language you can understand, who isn’t long winded but gets to the point to tell you want you need to know and do.
  • Someone who believes in you. This person should be able to see your gifts and talents, even if you can’t, so they can point them out to you. They should be someone who roots for you and is committed to seeing you through to the end goal. Another person’s belief, expectation and confidence in you will create a miraculous field of energy that will help you to also believe and have confidence in yourself.


How to find a graduate coach

To find a coach you must first know what you want to achieve. There must be a goal and objective before you can ask anyone to help you – otherwise how will they know how to help?

Next, look around you for people who inspire you. Who do you admire and look up to? These can be teachers or lecturers; bosses at places where you’ve done paid or unpaid work; neighbours or family friends; or speakers you’ve met at career fairs, societies, clubs, networking events and other events you’ve attended.

Don’t overlook people you’ve met online – but do be wise. For example, choose someone you have taken the time to get to know. Observe them for a while. Follow and listen to what they have to say. Research them thoroughly. What do they stand for? Are they consistent? Do they have good morals, such as integrity, honesty, reliability and respect for others? These may be old-fashioned but they still work!

Finally, get in touch with them and ask for the help you need!

If you’ve been inspired by the whole idea of finding a graduate coach why not speak to us? We offer a range of support to help you become the best version of yourself you can be, including courses, workshops, one-to-one coaching and, of course, two very great books to help you find and get ahead in your graduate career.

Why you may be more work ready than you think

The number one question a graduate looking for that first graduate level position tends to ask is whether or not they have enough relevant work experience to get the job they want. Am I work ready?

This is understandable. Work experience is very important because without it, it will be extremely difficult for you to find a job. However, if you have graduated and don’t have much relevant work experience then what should you do?

In such cases you might find it better to flip the question on its head and to ask yourself the following question instead:

“What work relevant experience do I have?”

They may seem like the same question, but they aren’t. There’s a world of difference between the two, as you shall shortly see.

Relevant work experience is what the employer lists as a requirement for doing the job. Whereas work relevant experience is what you currently have to offer. The difference between the two is perspective.

Change the way you see your work experience

When you change the way you look at your work experience you will realise that you have far more to offer than you at first thought. You will quit believing that you cannot apply for a job that interests you purely because you don’t have the relevant work skills and experience the employer asks for.

When an employer writes a job advert he or she will list it from the perspective of what the position needs, but you cannot look at it entirely that way. At least not at first. You must ALSO look at what YOU have done that is relevant to the job.

How do you do that?

How to change the way you see your work experience

In my role as a career coach I frequently come across graduates who sincerely believe they have nothing to offer. They read a job vacancy and see a mismatch between the experience they have and what the employer is asking for. They see the sparseness of their CV and their hearts sink. And, sadly, they often give up.

But I tell them the same thing I’m telling you now: if you want to succeed at getting your feet on the ladder you must to begin to look at your skills and experience differently.

What I usually do at this point is ask them, what have you done at university? What do you do in your spare time? Have you volunteered anywhere, travelled to any countries? Do you have any hobbies?

The answers I get back usually astounds me just as much as it astounds them. They begin to reel off a long list of activities they have been involved with.

As the graduate talks about what they have done, and realise what they have learnt as a result, their eyes begin to light up. They realise that they have a lot more to offer than they first believed.

Analysing your work ready skills and experience

Work relevant skills and experience are those that can be used by an employer. They may need to be unpacked and repackaged differently but that’s all.

I once coached a guy who up until starting college had never rowed before in his life.

Within four months he was rowing for his college. He started university and by Christmas he was on their rowing team, a team that did exceptionally well in the England finals.

To achieve all of this he had to get himself up at 6am seven days a week to row between 6:30am and 7:15am. He went to gym three times of week. And he got his rowing blue in just 12 months.

He hadn’t thought anything of all of this until we spoke about his experience.

I had to point out that he had learnt self-resilience, time management and teamwork as you’re only as good as the worse person on your team.

I met another guy who wasn’t the best cricket player by his own admission but excelled when he took over the running the team.

He did a lot of rugby coaching and had to put out four or five teams to play on a Saturday. Through this he learnt soft skills like organisation, fundraising and leadership.

I have numerous examples of people who threw themselves into university social life, such as running societies, and I can always tell the difference. You don’t have to do a formal work experience programme with a big employer to understand what employability skills are.

How to find your work ready skills and experience

Ok, so you should now have a better idea of what work relevant skills are. Work ready skills are those that you have developed from:

  • School
  • College
  • University
  • Voluntary work
  • Travelling
  • Hobbies, like sports and writing
  • Non-paid work (like work experience you had to do while at school or college)
  • Internships
  • Part or full time work, whether job-related or not
develop employability skills via activities at university, volunteering, hobbies, internships, paid work

Obviously, the closer related they are to the job you want to apply for the more recognisable and easier they are to sell to an employer.

But, for the purpose of this article, where you may not have lots of this type of experience, you need to be much more critical of what you’ve done if you are to identify skills you can sell on your CV or in a job interview.

Start by asking yourself the following sets of questions:

Business awareness

Have I ever

  • volunteered or done work experience in an office, retail outlet or other place where I had to deal with people I did not know (i.e. customers, clients, suppliers)?
  • had to work anywhere where I have had to work to fit in and behave professionally?
  • worked with people from different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs?
  • worked with people of different positions, either senior or subordinate to me?
  • read and understood a business or trade report, article or newspaper?
  • done any research on a company or organisation to understand what makes it successful?

Communication and literacy skills

Have I ever had to

  • speak or do a presentation before an audience?
  • carry out research and to produce a conclusion or summary of what I learnt?
  • persuade anyone to make a decision, such as to sign up to or support a project or event?
  • write a blog, report, article or other material that was to be published in print or online?


Have I ever

  • been elected to represent my peers as a prefect, head boy/girl or in some other capacity?
  • had to lead others?
  • had to lead or manage a project?
  • had to convince people to sign up to a campaign or attend an event, like an open day?
  • had to show visitors around my school, college or university campus?

IT Skills

Have I ever used

  • a computer
  • Word, Excel, Photoshop, illustrator, SPSS, or other software?
  • WordPress, Joomla, Dreamweaver or other website building software?
  • social media to promote an event, product or information?


Have I ever had to

  • assess the outcome of an activity or situation and to provide feedback?
  • analyse figures, tables, statistics and other data and communicate them in a way that others could use?
  • handle money or budgets?

Problem Solving

Have I ever had to

  • help others solve a problem?
  • find my own ways to solve a problem?
  • ask others to help me solve a problem?


Have I ever had to

  • motivate myself or others to achieve a goal?
  • keep going in the face of disappointment or difficulty?
  • perform under pressure and keep my head?
  • deal with difficult or negative people?


Have I ever had to

  • organise my own time, workload, priorities or diary to get stuff done?
  • meet a deadline?
  • assume responsibility for others, a budget, a situation, event, outcome or anything else?


Have I ever had to

  • supervise others?
  • work as part of a team to achieve a goal?
  • find ways past problems so that I could achieve either of the above?
employability skills include business awareness, communication, entrepreneurship, IT skills, numeracy, problem solving, resilience, self-management, teamwork

There is no substitute for work experience gained from an employer. However, if you’ve graduated without having accumulated lots of relevant work experience then work relevant work experience will be the place for you to start. All is not lost. By answering the questions above you should be able to see that you still have something to offer.


A degree is no longer enough – Aspect County

Young people graduate into a different world from that of twenty or thirty years ago when their parents went to university. The student population has doubled since 1992 and last year UCAS reported that a record number, almost half, were accepted into university. The problem is what happens when they leave. With 78% of students now achieving a 1st or 2:1, competition for graduate level employment is rife. Which is why, according to official data by the Office of National Statistics, almost half (47%) of graduates were in non-graduate jobs two years later.
Read Article

How we help

One-to-One Coaching: Stage 1

If you’re a student or graduate looking for help, stage one of our one-to-one coaching: Learning about yourself – Find your ideal career will help you learn about yourself, give you a better understanding of your preferences, strengths and skills and help you find your ideal career.

The Student Book & The Graduate Book: Get (& Thrive In) The Job You Really Want

Chris Davies is the author of The Student Book, All you need to know to get the job you really want and The Graduate Book, All you need to know to do really well at work. The Student book introduces the 9 Employability Skills, how and where to acquire them, ways to develop them, how to prove you have these skills and how to create a CV that highlights your achievements.

Nail That Interview Course with Chris Davies

Nail That Interview Online Course will teach you everything you need for interview success. Module 1 – I CAN do the job – contains the Graduate Coach Skills Audit and the 9 Employability Skills.

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Graduating this summer and worried about finding a job? Read this.

If you are graduating this summer and worried about finding a job, don’t. Here are some of the best things you can do to prepare yourself.

All those lectures over. No more course assignments. Hanging out with your buddies in the student bar is a thing of the past. Now you’ve got to find a job.

Graduating can feel scary.

You may feel alone and worried about how to find that first graduate job.

Well, the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a deep breath and stop panicking over…

…what job you should do…

If you already know what type of job you want to do that’s a good start but if not, you shouldn’t be too concerned about that either. During the first few years after graduating most people don’t know what they want to do or, if they do, end up changing their minds about their career choices. Use this time to learn more about yourself and to explore your skills in a work environment. One of the most important distinctions between university life and working life is to understand that the latter is much more self-determined. There are no programme leaders to set agendas for you or to lead you by the hand. You must decide what you will learn and how far it will take you.

…not having the right skills…

Don’t worry over whether or not you have the skills to do that job right now. What’s more important is to know how and where you are going to acquire those skills. The journey to building the skills you need is just as important as getting them as it gets you in the right frame of mind to make the most of this important stage of your life and career. What I mean by this is that if you know you are on the journey to building your skills then you’ll recognise opportunities as they come up and know what to do with them when you see them. And, besides, you’ll enjoy the journey much better.

…how and where to build the sort of skills you need…

Find an internship position where you can begin to develop, grow and build up your work experience. Look for an internship position in a field or industry that holds some interest for you. Internships opportunities are much better than they used to be in the past and will at least pay you something around an entry level wage. Once you land your internship seek to learn all you can about:

  • The company and how it ticks – what makes it stand out? Do you understand its branding, how it makes its money, what makes it different to its competitors?
  • The different departments in the company – how do these department work and fit interdependently with each other? Where does your own department fit?
  • Build networks – who is who and who does what? How does your own role help other people do their jobs well, and is there anything you can do (without stepping too far out of line) to improve that?

…about money or about not finding the type of internship you really want…

Counter this by finding a job. If you can’t find an internship in the area of your interest find any other job, full or part time, as long as you are working. I’m inclined to say find any job that helps you to build as many of the following skills as possible (and, by the way, these are skills you should also be looking to build during any internship):

  • Communication skills (written or verbal but preferably both) – writing articles or reports, doing presentations and speaking to members of the public, colleagues, suppliers… anyone in a professional context.
  • Business awareness – this also covers customer service skills and knowing how to be professional when working with clients, suppliers and colleagues. It also includes understanding and fitting in with the company’s culture.
  • Resilience – staying on task no matter how hard things become and being determined to learn whatever skills you need to master in order to do your job well. You must be sensible however not to do anything that jeopardises your long-term health and wellbeing.
  • Numeracy skills – yes, seeking out and using numbers, charts, statistics and other data for practical purposes, but also seeking opportunities develop your analytical, critical and creative thinking and skills. This includes good research skills.
  • IT skills – you must know how to use software packages to help you do your job better. You’ll also need awareness of online tools (social media, online marketing skills and basic coding or website building skills).
  • Entrepreneurship skills – an entrepreneur is resourceful, comes up with good workable ideas and knows how to motivate others to get on board to make those ideas work. Be a good leader.
  • Problem solving skills – never throw your hands up in the air when facing a problem at work but look for ways to solve them. This may include getting help from other people, but you should always present your need for help with at least some ideas of your own on how to solve the problem you’re facing.
  • Self-management – using your own initiative and managing your own time and work load are important skills if you want to get ahead in your graduate career. You must be a good organiser and planner.
  • Teamwork – whatever job you do it is likely that it will involve working with other people so get your teamwork skills up to scratch. Teamwork is about doing whatever is required to get the team objective done. It’s not just about you.
employability skills include business awareness, communication, entrepreneurship, IT skills, numeracy, problem solving, resilience, self-management, teamwork

…about what to do while waiting for any of the above to happen…

There are a few other things you can do to build your skills while you are looking for the right internship or job. You can:

  • Volunteer – another great way to develop the skills you need for your graduate career is to volunteer. Volunteering can open doors to valuable opportunities to develop the experience you need, and you can offer as many or as few hours as you have free. Again, seek to grow in the direction of the areas listed above.
  • Start a blog or online project / business – with WordPress it is easy to set up your own blog or website selling products online. This will give you the opportunity to develop many of the skills listed above and, who knows, you may even end up making lots of money or becoming famous! Ok, maybe not. But at least it will give you the opportunity to develop important skills in marketing, communication, customer service, problem solving, resilience and other important aptitudes you can list on your CV.

Remember, nothing happens by accident. You have to strategically create the opportunities you want to see in your life. Don’t spend the summer sitting on your laurels and bemoaning the fact that you can’t find the job you want. Keep yourself busy building valuable experience and confidence and the doors will open for you.


A degree is no longer enough – Aspect County

Young people graduate into a different world from that of twenty or thirty years ago when their parents went to university. The student population has doubled since 1992 and last year UCAS reported that a record number, almost half, were accepted into university. The problem is what happens when they leave. With 78% of students now achieving a 1st or 2:1, competition for graduate level employment is rife. Which is why, according to official data by the Office of National Statistics, almost half (47%) of graduates were in non-graduate jobs two years later.
Read Article

How we help

One-to-One Coaching: Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 4

If you’re a student or graduate our one-to-one coaching can help. Stage one: Learning about yourself – Find your ideal career will help you learn about yourself, give you a better understanding of your preferences, strengths and skills and help you find your ideal career. Stage two: Career plan develops your career plan – what skills do you have and what do you need, establishes your current level on the 9 employability skills, discussions around Internships and work experience needed. Stage four: Applying for jobs includes how to find the right job opportunities and internships and how to network.

The Student Book & The Graduate Book: Get (& Thrive In) The Job You Really Want

Chris Davies is the author of The Student Book, All you need to know to get the job you really want and The Graduate Book, All you need to know to do really well at work. The Student book introduces the 9 Employability Skills, how and where to acquire them, ways to develop them, how to prove you have these skills, how to create a CV that highlights your achievements and things to consider before and during an interview.

Nail That Interview Course with Chris Davies

Nail That Interview Online Course will teach you everything you need for interview success. Module 1 – I CAN do the job – contains the Graduate Coach Skills Audit and the 9 Employability Skills.


Help to get a graduate job | Graduate interview coaching

The full career coaching programme with Chris Davies | Interview training

Tell me about yourself | Self introductions

Creating a career action plan | Developing career goals

Successful internships | Creating your own internships