Getting a job in a recession – feedback from employers

Even though we are in a recession there are still jobs out there.

There seems to be a somewhat convenient urban myth going round that there are no jobs so you might as well not bother looking or applying – just give up and go travelling. Check out the article in The Times: There are still 10,000 reasons for graduates to get out of bed.

Ok, yes there are industries that have been seriously affected, but not all of them have been affected in the same way, and there will be graduate schemes to apply for.  The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Summer Review 2009 Survey states that:

  • The biggest drops in vacancies (between 40-45% over last year) are in investment banking, engineering, construction and IT.
  • But vacancies in energy, water and utilities are up 7.1%.

So is it worth bothering to apply for a graduate job?

  • From 2008 to 2009, AGR say they have experienced an increase in applications per vacancy from 30.7 to 48.8.
  • Investment banking received 82 applications per vacancy and accountancy only 16 applications per vacancy.

That may sound like a lot but really its not many at all – you can bet that some of those applicants won’t meet the criteria!

At a recent Royal Society of Chemistry event, an employer from a small company that recruits science students (chemists and biologists) commented on the following…

  • They advertised a job in the New Scientist which resulted in only one applicant – the ad itself cost £7K!
  • Last year they received only 2 speculative letters from students seeking work experience – they offered places to both of them.

The reality of the situation is that some jobs will attract hundreds of applicants while others go unnoticed.  Consider all sources of vacancies – journals, professional body websites and speculative opportunities, not just graduate recruitment websites.

So it’s not all doom and gloom, but you do need to get out there and make an application.

It also needs to be a decent application!

  • 39.8%of AGR members said that the standard of applications is higher this year. However there were still comments about poor applications – carelessness and sloppy spelling.
  • You also need to be truthful on your application – recruiters are getting increasingly sophisticated in the filtering procedures so don’t be tempted to lie about grades or anything else for that matter!  When you get found out, any offer of employment will be terminated – so why waste your time.

So what should you do if you are going into your final year this September?

  • Do your research early so that you are clear about the types of jobs you are looking for. If you can use the Careers Service during the summer to avoid the crowds!
  • Make a list of the companies that interest you and check their websites to see when they open their applications.
  • Be aware that there could be increased competition for graduate schemes this year due to last years graduates taking a year out.
  • Do everything you can to make your application the best it can be – attend talks and workshops to get all the insider tips.

One Response to Getting a job in a recession – feedback from employers

  1. Anna says:

    It’s tough landing a job during a recession but it’s not impossible. There are still employers who are hiring! It all depends on how motivated someone is to find a job. If it takes sending out 40 resumes to get one interview, then the graduate has to be willing to put in the effort.

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