EDUCATION EYE: Top tips for securing that dream graduate job

Locksley Christian School in Manby rejects the accusations.
Locksley Christian School in Manby rejects the accusations.

As the class of 2014 finish their degree and more rose coloured spectacle wearing students leave university with ambitions for that perfect job, what practical advice can parents share to help their quest?

Online job boards are one way to find vacancies; however their huge audience attracts large numbers of applications. Seek out less obvious opportunities. Build contacts within the industry that appeals to you by attending events and ask around your current network to identify useful introductions.

As well as targeting large companies, research smaller businesses in the same market-place, as they may be more open to a personal approach.

Once you’ve identified companies which appear to be expanding show initiative through writing speculative emails or letters. Always address them to a relevant person, identify your key skills and put a strong case for how you can add to their business. Include a paragraph about why you are interested in their company, one to highlight your key skills as relevant to them and suggest a meeting.

If offered an internship ensure it is building relevant employability skills and that the company’s name will enhance your CV. Making tea and filing for months on end does little to enhance your ability to sell yourself at future interviews.

In applications, match your CV to the job description. In no more than two pages, highlight key skills, work experience and achievements, emphasise leadership, problem-solving and team-working skills.

Review online footprint. Use privacy settings to ensure there are no skeletons in the closet to affect an employers’ assessment of you. Build a more professional online presence by completing a profile on LinkedIn for example, listing key skills, qualifications, work experience and interests. Add a business-like photo. Make constructive, engaging comments in forums; write guest posts on relevant blogs, so you start to build recognition in areas of interest.

Hopefully the above will open doors to realistic opportunities. Then all you will need to do is prepare for interview!