50 Tips to get you a great job
Over the past 50 issues, Real World has brought you unsurpassed careers advice and job-hunting tips from some of the country’s leading authors and careers advisers. Now, to help you succeed in your graduate job search, we have painstakingly collated the best of those top tips…
1. January 2004 Assessment Centres: 10 Top Tips
"Ask for feedback. Even if it’s not offered. The further down the recruitment process you go; the more valuable the feedback."
2. May 2003 Choosing the Right Employer
It’s all in the detail. "Instead of looking at starting salaries, think long term: look at remuneration four or five years down the road. Is the company a meritocracy? Is pay performance related?"
3. February 2007 Real World Great Read
All You Need To Know About Commercial Awareness What It Is And Why You Need It To Become A Successful Professional, 2007/2008 Edition, Christopher Stoakes. Longtail Publishing, £14.95. "This is a practical guide for anyone considering a career with a corporate or commercial element. It breaks down into simple terminology everything from mergers and acquisitions, to how to make money."
4. November 2001 Checklist
"It’s never too early to plan summer work-experience placements for highly competitive areas like the media. First- and second-year students: beat the rush and write your letters now."
5. February 2000 All the Fun of the Fair
"Employers generally wear suits, or at least something smart, so even though you may look ridiculous to your friends, don’t rule it out… be "casually smart" and look like you mean business. A good first impression and you will feel more confident and professional."
6. March 2005 Facts ‘n’ figures
"81 per cent of students are optimistic of finding a job after university."
7. March 2000 Prove Yourself
"Prove your initiative, creativity and ambition. Develop team management, presentation and time-management skills."
8. June 2000 How to Impress on the Telephone
"Make your call from a quiet place. If you’re at home, make sure that the TV, radio and your mobile are all switched off."
9. October 2003 Facts&Figs
"Fact: taking a gap-year or a postgraduate degree is not regarded as a cop-out by employers, despite becoming increasingly popular among graduates. But students need to ensure that what they’ve done looks purposeful and planned, so it helps them to stand out."
10. October 2001 CV Clinic
"Tailor your CV to the job for which you’re applying."
11. May 2000 Stamp Duty
"Find out as much as you can about a company by ringing them up for an information pack or surfing its website."
12. October 2000 21 Ways to a Better CV
Consider the layout: it’s not enough to list qualifications, job titles, firms and dates and expect your audience to guess the rest. Use three or four bullet-pointed phrases to highlight your responsibilities and achievements. Remember to use succinct, sharp phrases."
13. January 2003 Career Tip of the Month
"CVs should focus on skills rather than duties, but make sure you provide credible evidence. So, whenever possible, add relevant numerical details to gain that extra credibility."
14. October 2006 Finding the hidden job market
This is vital, because according to Warwick University careers service, "up to 80 per cent of jobs can go unadvertised."
15. June 2003 Wild Ideas
"Starting a new job is daunting, but if you’ve been allocated a mentor or personal adviser within your new firm, it can be a huge help in ironing out any initial problems, learning more about the company or development projects."
16. March/April 2007 Real World Great Read
Career, Aptitude and Selection Tests, by Jim Barrett. Publishers: Kogan Page, £8.99. "Not only does this guide give you advice on how to do well at assessment centres, it also includes an extensive range of motivation and personality questionnaires to assess your strengths and weaknesses and match them to your ideal career."
17. November 2002 The Golden Rules of Interviews
"Don’t slouch or avoid eye contact. Also, practise the art of the handshake with someone you know – too limp is yucky, and a bone-crusher is offensive. When interviewing with a panel of interviewers, be sure to shake each person’s hand."
18. May 2004 Tactics to Career Clarity
"Throwing yourself into some targeted work experience can define your likes and dislikes and help to focus your career options."
19. May 2004 3 Steps to Success in Covering Letters
"Your covering letter is the first information employers read about you, and therefore crucially important. Be careful to avoid spelling mistakes and factual errors. Initially, it might help to find someone to check through the letter for you."
20. October 2003 Capitalise on Your Careers Service
"I don’t think students make enough use of the employer presentations – they should keep themselves up to speed with which presentations are happening, and attend them, then use the careers service to develop the skills employers talk about."
21. May 2004 10 Greatest Hits – Careers Advisers
"In order to get the job you want, you need competitive advantage. I advise students to: 1. Clarify your objectives 2. Focus on your objectives 3. Try to find a placement that satisfies your ambitions."
22. May 2004 CV Clinic
"Don’t send off a CV without a covering letter. Why miss out on another chance to sell yourself and reiterate your suitability for the job."
23. November 2004 What’s In Store
"You do need to do extra-curricular activities while you’re at university to demonstrate leadership and team-working qualities. Join sports teams and societies, as it’s vital to enhance your skills and show that you did more at university than just studying."
24. September 2004 Get nosy: The 7 secrets of Research.
"The best way to get the low-down on a particular job or organisation is to speak to somebody already working there. Your university alumni office can often put you in touch with graduates happy to share their experiences."
25. September 2004 9 Reasons to Love your Careers Service
"A mock interview gives you the chance to road-test your professional personality. You will also receive helpful feedback, preventing avoidable mistakes in the real thing."
26. May 2001 5 Steps to get Productive Work Experience this Summer
"If you have any contacts working in the area you are interested in, use them, however tenuous they may seem. Other people will. Talk to family friends and peers and interrogate people who visit your university for suggestions and advice."
27. September 2005 8 Reasons to Love your Careers Service
"Careers services devote a great deal of time to encouraging employers to offer work placements and experience to students. They can provide guidance on applying for internships and can put you in touch with volunteering organisations."
28. October 2004 What Next? 10 Strategies for Success
"Do not wait for things to happen. Make the most of your careers service (guidance, information, psychometric testing); look at career opportunities in small businesses; keep up to date with developments in your prospective career area; view everybody you meet as a potential client."
29. June 2002 Career Matchmakers
"Temping jobs can lead to permanent placements. Temping in a field you like could open doors and it’s a good way to prove your enthusiasm for the job."
30. June 2002 How to…Survive your First Week at Work
"In most jobs there will be a ‘grace’ period when you can ask straightforward or seemingly obvious questions. Take notes. However, don’t just ask for the sake of it – use your initiative and start solving your own problems."
31. March 2005 Take the Lead
"Employers want to know if you will add value to their business. Try to show evidence of commercial awareness from basic things such as managing your debt, or working in a shop or bar."
32. October 2006 Real World Great Read:
How To Get A Job You’ll Love, by John Lees. Publishers: McGraw Hill, £12.99. "A practical guide to unlocking your talents and finding your ideal career."
33. May 2006 CV Clinic
"Don’t spend so long procrastinating about your CV that you never send out any applications."
34. November 2006 Building an Amazing Career
"Although you might not like the word ‘networking’ it is an essential part of working life. If you are trying to get an internship or job, use your existing contacts to see if they can help you get a position."
35. October 2005 Barometer
"Research by the Institute for Employment Studies and the Council for Industry and Higher Education confirms that the internet has made graduate-recruitment processes more efficient."
36. November 2006
4 Things You Should Know "Your future lies with people you know, and the people they know. Contacts, contacts and more contacts are what you need to climb the ladder."
37. March/April 2007 Real World Great Read:
How To Succeed In Psychometric Tests, by David Cohen. Publishers: Sheldon Press, £10.99. "This is a practical guide to psychometric tests which demonstrates how to prepare for tests and perform well in team exercises. The latest edition, by experienced author David Cohen, includes sample tests and useful advice on how to succeed in tests."
38. March 2005 News Flash!! More Jobs
"Blue-chip employers expect to pay a median starting salary of £22,000 – an increase of 4.8 per cent on last year."
39. September 2005 Facts: Knowledge is Power
"49 per cent of employers think graduates are under-prepared for employment. And 67 per cent think they lack business-awareness skills."
40. February 2007 CV Booster
"Knowledge of a foreign language is a considerable asset when entering the world of work. Not only are you likely to be eligible to work abroad, but domestic employers – particularly multi-national organisations – hold foreign language ability in high esteem."
41. May 2006 Barometer
"Employers are struggling to fill vacancies because of the poor social skills among graduates. A survey of employers found many graduate positions will go unfilled because of lack of soft skills such as "team working, cultural awareness, leadership and communication skills."
42. June 2006 How to…Survive your First Week at Work
"Before your first day in the office brush up on your employer’s business. Spend some time on the internet and look at relevant trade magazines. Read a variety of newspapers for at least a week before you start to get up-to-date."
43. June 2006
Big Dos and Don’ts to Ensure you Maximise your Time at Careers Fairs "Get hold of a map of the careers fair so you know where to find the companies you’re interested in."
44. November 2002 How to Milk the Milkround
"If the milkround doesn’t deliver a certain company to your university, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to get a head start on your job search. Forget the tradition, contact the employer and develop the relationship yourself."
45. October 2003 Six Steps to your Dream Career.
"The most successful job seekers hardly ever invent a new wheel – they learn from others. Part of the way forward is to identify successful career movers and find out how they did it, and how they have learned to ‘read’ the marketplace."
46. March 2006 Take Control of your Future
"Work experience is highly valued by employers – 25 per cent say it’s almost a condition of employment."
47. Nov 2004 CV Clinic
"Do get someone – preferably a careers adviser – to have a look over your CV before you send it out."
48 June 2002 How to Become More Employable
"Talk to friends (how did they get their job? Can you shadow them?) family, lecturers, friends of your parents, parents of your friends. Don’t hold back. Probe for industry and company information, names and contacts."
49. March/April 2007 CV Booster: Work Experience
"More than 60 per cent of university students now leave with a 2:1. And with government policy aiming to get 50 per cent of over-18 year-olds into higher education, the graduate job market has never felt more crowded."
50. March 2005 What do I Want to do with my Life?
"Many graduates make light of temporary or seasonal jobs, but they provide a huge source of evidence to employers. Your work experience is also a testing ground for discovering your likely career. Examine every experience of work you have achieved to date."
Compiled by Amy Harris