Victoria Rees, Employability Manager looks at whether you’re applying for the right jobs this Autumn…. 5 things to consider before your applications
Graduate schemes and Internships are open for 2016 recruitment and everyone (mostly your parents!) is telling you to crack on and make some applications. Lots of them, get them in by the bucket load – WRONG! Rolling recruitment means that you need to apply as early as possible, right? Well, yes, if you’re sure you know what you want to do, that’s a great idea. But, are you sure? Or are you panic applying with a half-hearted application? If so, don’t waste your time or theirs!
Here are my TOP things you should think about to be certain that you are applying for your dream graduate job/internship…
1. Are you excited by the job you’re applying for?
You’ve worked hard at university to bag your dream job, so your first role should be exciting. You should be looking forward to every element, the work, the lifestyle, the office, your colleagues. If the job is right for you then it’s important that you can visualise yourself in work. When you picture yourself in this job, do you feel happy, excited, enthused? If you don’t feel positive about the job, it may not be for you. Why waste time applying if it’s not what you REALLY want to do.
We have hundreds of employers on campus this autumn, meet their employees (often Cardiff University alumni) and discuss the work ethic, company values etc before making a hasty application. We have fairs, skills sessions, employer presentations and networking sessions for you to make the most of. Come along, bring a friend if it’ll make you feel more comfortable – who wouldn’t benefit from an application bootcamp?!
2. What are your work life priorities?
Have you thought about what your values are? Do you want to “help”? Perhaps what matters to you is money and a glitzy lifestyle? Are you applying for something which is going to give you what you want from your life? A job which doesn’t fit your ideals is probably not going to suit you, meaning you’re not going to enjoy a large portion of your week – this isn’t good! If your social conscience plagues you every day at work, you’re not going to be happy. If your job doesn’t give you the chance to earn the money you want, you might grow to resent the time you spend doing it. If the job pays well but is mind numbingly dull or the polar opposite of your skills set, you are not going to enjoy working. There are thousands of jobs, meaning there is no need whatsoever to be going for things you know you don’t want to do.
Write yourself a priorities list, look at what makes you tick and what makes you dread the working world. Then make applications to roles which align with your priorities.
3. Does the day to day ‘work’ sound interesting?
You need to find your job interesting. Simple. You’ve worked hard (are working hard!) at University to get a degree and now you deserve to work in a job that interests you. You, not your housemate or your course buddy, you! Have you researched what is involved in the particular job you’re looking at? You might want to think about what the job offers in terms of a mix (for example) of writing, data analysis, presentation delivery and people engagement. Does the likely balance suit you and your skillset? If the thought of travel excites you, make sure you’re happy with the amount of time you’re expected to be away from home. If the thought of cold calling makes your skin crawl, check the job specification to be sure that it isn’t involved.
Know what you would like to do daily, what you would absolutely hate to do, and ensure this role fits this mix. It’s no good being petrified of numbers and having sleepless nights over spreadsheets but applying for a job that manages a large budget regardless!
4. What are the career prospects?
As a graduate you may well aspire to be leading the next top FTSE 100 company by your 25th birthday (let’s have an element of realism here, ahem!). When you’re frantically trying to get applications out, it’s often hard to think further than the “here and now”. However, it’s worth doing some thinking about where the job might lead and whether that appeals to you. Are you going to be undertaking three years of professional accountancy exams to not want to be an accountant? If this particular job isn’t going to be right for you for very long, ask yourself if it’s improving your general employability, or leading you in an interesting direction. What if you have no idea what you want to be doing in 5 (let alone 10) years’ time? Then ask yourself whether this job keeps options open for you. If it’s not going to develop new skills or open new doors it might not be the right move. There are hundreds of jobs available, our vacancy board has hundreds added every week, or we have fairs which have hundreds available. Check out our events pages so you don’t miss out!
5. Location, Location, Location
This might not matter to you at all. Great! The world is your oyster. Alternatively you might feel very strongly about where you want to be. If moving home is important for you, or you’re desperate to stay in Cardiff, or if it’s London that is calling your name – don’t waste your time or the recruiters by applying for a job elsewhere. It might be that you can tolerate the location in the short term and the job is going to give you a raft of new skills which will make it easier for you to get the job in the coveted location. Excellent! But what if the job is giving you niche skills and there is no clear exit route? It might make you very unhappy if you end up stuck in the wrong place. You are going to be a graduate from a top university, if you attend lots of our employability skills sessions and meet employers on campus (and make a good impression!) then the choice is going to be yours which fabulous graduate position to apply for. Where you live, what friends and family you are near and the length of your commute to work, are going to be VERY big ‘happiness’ factors. If you’re using job board sites, you can implement a radius on your search, if you’re applying direct for the job of your dreams, bare some realism to the fact you can’t do a four hour commute twice a day AND still see your family, play for your football team, learn a language, keep on top of Netflix and make it in time to go for drinks after work with your old housemates.
These five tips are a starting point, somewhere to have a little think about before making mass applications, or applications for something that you are clearly not going to enjoy. Perhaps everyone else you know is applying for a particular job and you’ve just been going along with the herd? No need… STOP RIGHT NOW (I’m not sure quoting the Spice Girls is going to help but stop regardless!) Don’t plough on with the applications for the job you don’t want. Take stock, talk your thoughts through with one of our careers consultants (drop-ins available this term in 50 Park Place).
If you’re still feeling good about your chosen route then why hang around? Attend the careers fairs and start getting your applications together. We have endless sessions running this term on CV clinics, Assessment Centre Bootcamps, Mock Group Work sessions, Interview Skills…. And many more. Make the use of your Careers and Employability Centre 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and most of all, GOOD LUCK / POB LWC!
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Tori, Employer Liaison Manager
Careers & Employability Team
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