Graduate Coach Blog

Self management is the key to ‘how to get a job’

Posted: February 19, 2015 at 11:07 am | Author: Chris Davies

Management skills are always desirable and the first and most significant place a graduate needs to demonstrate that they have it in good supply is in the way they manage their own ability to get a job. It is the simplest answer to how to get a job.

No one is going to hand you a job on a plate, so you need to manage the journey yourself. If you are graduating this year and thinking about finding your first job then how you manage yourself over the next few months is going to make a big difference to your job finding success.

There are a set number of skills that you need to ensure you gain by the time you are ready to graduate. We have spoken about them in great depth at Graduate Coach using different names, but they amount to the following:

  • Entrepreneurship and Initiative
  • Business Awareness
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-Management
  • Focus

Graduate career prospects looking good

If you are graduating this year then you are doing so at the best time because various sources predict that you will graduate to the highest number of graduate vacancies in 10 years.

High Fliers’ most recent research predicts an eight per cent rise in job openings for graduates and the third increase in as many years. The CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey finds the same: job prospects for young people have improved with many new openings for graduates and apprentices. This is predicted to continue over the next year.

‘Firms are gearing up for a positive 2015 with over half planning to create jobs, most of which will be permanent,’ Neil Carberry, CBI director of employment & skills policy, said. ‘Young people should find more chances to get a foot on the career ladder this year, with many firms looking to boost their intake of graduates and apprentices.’

All graduates need to manage their digital skills

Speaking on behalf of Accenture, Olly Benzecry, managing director for the UK and Ireland, said this is ‘very encouraging’ to hear but also pointed out that the motivation for these companies is to ‘enhance their competitiveness by harnessing the digital capabilities of these young people’.

You therefore need to consider this in the way you manage your digital skills. Whatever job position you are looking for, whatever your graduate career aspirations, digital skills will feature centrally. As the government’s recent survey into future career prospects reported, even traditional jobs like train driver and farmer where IT skills once featured lowly now demand digital skills.

Manage the way you gain work experience

This bit of advice is the most important you need to know but will be a sobering thought for those who have not heeded it in the past. According to half of the recruiters interviewed in the High Fliers’ research those without work experience stand ‘little or no chance’ of receiving a job offer through graduate programmes.

The key to getting a graduate job is still to undertake work placements and internships throughout your time at university. Your chance of securing employment is even higher if you do your work placement at a firm with job vacancies opening up.

If you are in your final year and have not yet had the opportunity to do work experience there is still some hope, but you must manage this now. High Fliers says an unprecedented 13,049 paid work-experience programmes will be available this year from more than four-fifths of the UK’s leading graduate recruiters.  Half of them are offered as part of degree courses but some – two out of three – are for students in their final year at university.

Manage how and where you apply for work experience

You need to manage the way you go about getting the experience you need. When looking for a company to do your work placement you should think about how frequent the company hires. Study the vacancy history of the company to see when openings usually occur, how many places are opened up and in what areas. You will also be wise to apply as early as possible. In the past companies advertised their internships and work placement vacancies for students in their second or third years but recent trends show that an increasing number of employers are now trying to attract those in their first year in order to find and develop the talent they need as early as possible.

Should you apply for an internship at a large or small company?

The advantages of applying at a larger company is that the prospects for training and progression maybe better. Also, the possibility that a job will open up at the end maybe greater. An internship at a smaller company may enable you to delve into serious and ‘real’ work where you are able to develop you skills and experience more quickly. But some experience is better than none, wherever you get it so don’t rule smaller companies out.

The most important point is that the experience you gain is relevant. You need to manage this carefully. Think about what type of experience you actually need and make this clear when you apply.

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