10 Oct 10 tips for Graduate Success
We see it every day. Graduates with the lack of thought, planning and preparation for the recruitment process OR for entering their first ‘real’ job. It is alarming. The ironic part is that, as graduates, we prepare for this moment (of securing our first ‘real’ job) from an early age at school, but then don’t give the planning and preparation part of our self-development more than a passing thought… Until we need it, or even worse, when it’s too late.
Based on years of witnessing these missed opportunities, here are 10 tips for graduate success when preparing for either the graduate recruitment process AND the study to job transition:
For the recruitment process
1. Internships & Vacation Programs – Getting to final year (or even beyond) and realising that the employment journey should have commenced in first year university. The truly employable students have planned for this and, in many cases haven’t even had to compete in a graduate recruitment process because they have secured a graduate role through their pre-graduate work experience programs.
2. Understanding yourself – Often students are unaware of the great skills, knowledge and experiences they can offer an employer. To reflect (and truly understand) on what makes you unique and employable is critical to your employment success.
3. Pursue volunteering & extra-curricular experience – these skills and experiences are often what separates a strong candidate from an average one. This experience is also arguably the easiest to get, so get involved!
4. The recruitment process – Being aware and prepared for how an employer will assess you through the recruitment process. Specifically, core competencies and how they are assessed during stages such as behavioural interviews, video screening and assessment centres. Your cover letter, resume or GPA alone won’t get you your dream job. Seek out help and resources to help you with this process.
5. De-valuing part time or casual work experience – Too often students either ignore or dismiss how important their part time or casual jobs are in relation to a graduate employer. They ARE critical, especially in the absence of work experience related to your degree or discipline.
For transitioning into your first ‘real’ job
1. Job transition plan – Turning up on your first day with your new company having thought about it in advance. It’s very apparent which of your graduate cohort have prepared in setting out some goals (and sticking to them). A basic action plan for the lead up to entering your new job is highly important.
2. Putting too much pressure on ourselves too early – So often graduates enter an organisation desperate to perform or quickly show value. For the first 3-6 months, most employers will just want you to get to know the business, the people and the values / culture and feel like you belong before you need to think about being profitable.
3. Elevator Pitch – this is a big one. Not being able to articulate who you are and what makes you unique is unfortunately too common. What are you going to say when the CEO or Managing Director of the organisation you are joining asks you “Tell me about yourself?”
4. Build relationships & networks – While you are not expected to have a huge network when starting your first job, those graduates who build longer term, authentic relationships and networks will be more likely to succeed – so start now!
5. Be a ‘sponge’ – We need to be aware that as a graduate we have a lot to learn. Being open, collaborative and actively listening to those with more experience and expertise from day one is a great recipe for career success. Seek out a mentor as soon as possible too.
Rohan Holland is a director and co-founder of Readygrad. Readygrad is student coaching organisation established to build employability skills with students through blended employability programs with an employer point of view.