Entering the job market as a graduate is different to looking for employment when you have a track record on your CV. Here we are going to talk about using recruitment companies and what employers are looking for in graduates to ensure you make the best approach to them. Recruitment companies and employers evaluate graduates on different criteria than more experienced candidates. You’ve rightly been focused on learning new skills and gaining a qualification, which gets you so far, however the decision to give you a job will not be based as much on qualifications as you may think.
You’re an unknown quantity
The reality for the vast majority of graduates is that they go into permanent roles at the start of their career; there are few exceptions to this. Contractors are hired to solve problems and complete projects; they get jobs based on past experience. Graduates get jobs on what they can do in the future, it’s more about your potential and less about your skills.
Find the right recruitment companies
If you’re looking to work as a specialist in a sector such as SAP or Oracle, then register with a recruitment company that also works in these areas. For general IT find firms that work in this sector. Make sure they recruit in permanent roles; some tend to focus on contract only. Ensure the agency has a broad and well established client base that will be able to offer you positions in house within an organisation or with external consultancy firms. Working in house will give you experience in a single environment on a single platform. Working for a consultancy will expose you to many projects in many environments, you need to be prepared to travel extensively, but it’s a quicker route to build experience.
Register your CV
Sounds simple enough, you register your CV and when a role arrives that fits your skills you get a call, right? Nope it doesn’t work like that. Recruiting for entry level positions is one of the hardest tasks for a recruitment consultant. Unlike an experienced candidate we’re matching you to a company as much on potential, motivations and personality as your skill set. Its means we definitely need to talk to you and understand what makes you tick, so when we put you forward we know that you’ll match with our client’s culture. Therefore your interests, hobbies and passions make up a large part of this process, employers are asking themselves can we work with this person every day? As well as assessing your ability to grow into the role technically.
How to present yourself
The client will be investing in training you and skilling you up; there will be other candidates with similar qualifications to choose from. Have a plan about where you’re going and how working for the client fits, don’t make it too broad and define clear objectives that you can talk about. Be prepared to be flexible about location as this will increase the opportunities available to you. Always do your research before meeting a potential employer, fit what they do and their objectives with yours.
- Qualifications open doors but are only half the story in securing a job
- Develop a relationship with your recruitment consultant, give them the confidence to talk to clients about you
- Consultants see 1000s of CVs, but will remember who they’ve talked to and who is persistent
- Employers are investing in you, they are most interested in your potential to achieve and how you would fit into their teams
- Be open to location; show employers how well you can both achieve your goals together by doing your research
Neil Beaney is the Oracle Business Manager at Whitehall Resources where he has worked in recruitment for 7 years. Previously Neil worked for FTSE 100 companies as an IT manager for 13 years.