A graduate job – what’s that?

There have been plenty of doom and gloom articles in the news about the employment prospects for graduates due to the recession.  The facts and figures are coming from surveys done at different times with different people so its all pretty confusing.

What do graduates do?

  • Graduate schemes – they may be related to your degree but many are open to any degree subject.
  • Graduate entry jobs – a degree is a requirement, possibly due to specialist knowledge requirements or for entry into professional training.
  • Graduate internships – a degree is a requirement, the jobs are a mixture of those requiring specialist degree related experience and those that will give graduates the experience to get graduate entry level jobs later.

Work where a degree is not a requirement – well not on the person specification anyway!

  • The entry route does not specify a degree but most people who do it have one.  The personnel department will have designated the job to be suitable for a certain pay and grade below graduate level. However the nature of the job is popular among graduates often as a stepping stone to get experience for higher grade jobs later. E.g. administrative jobs often in the public sector.
  • Some jobs require industry related experience before you can apply and it may not be possible for everyone to have gained this before graduating – it may be the only route into the profession.
  • Volunteering – for some careers its the only way to get the right experience.  E.g. If you want to work for a not for profit organisation they may require you to have some experience working with their client groups so that you can see how the organisation works from the ground up.
  • Unpaid placements – we all know it goes on, some industries can get away with it because demand for experience is so high that someone will be prepared to do it for free.  You need to consider if you can afford to do this financially and ethically.
  • Jobs to pay the bills – lets be realistic everyone has to live, all jobs give you some useful transferable skills, even if it’s not your dream job.

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

  • Think more widely about your options – where one sector is failing, another is in recovery.
  • Consider multinationals – organisations with large operations overseas may be able to spread the risk better and there may be increased opportunities to work abroad.
  • Think about small and medium size companies – they don’t advertise as widely so there may be less competition for jobs.

…and remember

  • Your degree is not just a certificate. As a student you will have developed as a person and have gained a number of useful skills whether they relate to your degree or not. So don’t feel that a job has to be related to your degree.
  • Don’t believe the hype – jobs are out there, but you have to be positive and proactive in your job search to get them. Be creative – don’t just rely on graduate directories for information.
  • Be informed – whatever you decide, make sure you have researched the options so you don’t miss out.

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