You’ve finished all your exams and all that’s left is to wait for your results. Bit of an anti-climax don’t you think? After your graduation celebration, which leaves you with a hangover you definitely can’t handle like you could three years ago, you’re left thinking what now?
If there is any advice out there amongst the wishy-washy blogs that tell you to ‘take your time’ and ‘make each application unique’, then this is it. Let’s get real and tackle some home truths that you need to sort out right away. So here are my pointers to help you make a positive impact on your career and future self.
1. Attitude adjustment
Let’s start with possibly the most valuable piece of advice that I think anyone can give you at this stage; change your lifestyle immediately! Reel back your body-clock to fit in with a normal routine. When you land your first job, you’ll be waking up at 6am and most likely not getting back home until 12 hours later after what will be a tough day, no matter what role you’re doing. It’s vital to stay fresh and not be tempted to slip back into the student lifestyle of sitting up watching one more episode or staying awake because you have nothing to do. Make your own luck, get busy!
You’ll have heard this before as well no doubt, but it really is time to get smart on the content you are associating with online. Nobody is telling you to leave your former self behind in a blaze of glory but just think what would you want a potential employer to see. Let me guarantee this, they will definitely look you up online. Keep active but just be smart.
Granted a lot of people these days don’t have to wear a business attire every day for their job, but guess what, you don’t have a job yet. Every interview you attend, no matter what you’re applying for requires business dress every single time. Clean shaven, unless you genuinely have some stylish facial hair going on - no half grown beards guys. For the women, be stylish yet conservative.
First impressions matter so much, you’re up against tough competition don’t forget, you really need to show them that you’re committed to developing your own future and employers know that this starts with you.
3. Get your CV right
It goes without saying, you need to tailor your cover letter to each role you apply for, giving reasons such as; why you’re right for the role, what you like about the company and what you think you could bring to their team. But I think a lot of people just miss a couple of key pointers.
When an employer, or even recruiter, sees your CV, they are looking for relevant experience that will make you a good choice for the business or client. So, after you’ve written a bio about yourself and what you’re looking for, this should definitely be the next part. Go into as much detail as you can, this is what will give you the actual competitive edge. Follow this up by ‘relevant’ work experience, mention that you’ve had roles throughout university but don’t go into too much detail about them.
Core competencies, education then references, if appropriate.
4. Show enthusiasm but stay humble
You have just completed a gruelling 3 or 4 year course, studying to become an expert in your field, but this doesn’t quite make you an expert just yet. Yes, you want to get the point across that you have a solid understanding of your field and the role you’re applying for but don’t get carried away, you still have lots to learn. Make sure it shows you’ve got the knowledge but are ready to take on a new challenge and learn how to apply the theory to a commercial environment.
5. Don’t be too picky
It’s a numbers game. There are hundreds of thousands of graduates each year in England alone. That’s right! Take a percentage of that number who have studied a similar subject, then take off those that aren’t in your geographical area, that’s still going to be a very large number. You need to get yourself out there in as many ways as you can. Apply for all marketing roles that suit your skills and interests – don’t be picky on locations, salary, and industry – remember it’s your first role.
Once you’re there, learn and ask as much as you can to broaden your knowledge of the role and the company. Getting into these types of habits early will rapidly increase your development rate throughout the first few months of employment.
6. Talk to recruiters!
I can’t stress enough how important this really is! If you can leave a recruitment consultant a good impression of you, they are going to help you get in the door with any companies they are working with. Set aside some time to speak with them on the phone, explain what type of role you’re looking for, where you’d like to see your career heading, what you think your key strengths are. All this will help them build a case for you and get you in front of the right people.
I mentioned before it’s a numbers game, you’re going to be increasing your chances of getting an interview if you’ve got a well networked professional giving a company their recommendation to interview you. Think about it. A word of caution must accompany this message though – keep track of the roles you are being put forward for. Be honest and clear about which agency is representing you for a particular role. If you try and get multiple agencies to put you forward for the same role, you’re not only making yourself look silly but it’s highly likely that you won’t get their support any more.
The market isn’t how it used to be, today’s graduates are metaphorically fighting over jobs straight out of university and it really does make such a huge difference what you do now! Don’t leave anything to chance, give yourself the best chance you possibly can at securing your first role. It’s a totally different landscape when you’re looking to move on from one job to another but the time is now!
Here at Forward Role we specialise in both online and offline marketing roles throughout the whole of the North West. We look after Marketing, Creative, Digital, Analytical and Executive roles. Our consultants are industry experienced in their particular field and are experts in recruiting for their roles. If you’d like to register with us to get one step ahead of the curve, chat to any of our consultants or arrange a meeting with us.
Adam Miller is a Recruitment Consultant at Forward Role and as he graduated in 2012, he really understands the challenges facing new graduates. If you are looking to make your first step to finding a marketing role, contact Adam on 0161 914 8499.