In this guest post Simon Briffa, Internal Talent Manager at The Sellick Parnership, shares his tips on how to stand out from the crowd in the graduate recruitment market.
As more and more students graduate each year and with approximately 39 applications for every entry-level role, it can be increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. So what steps can you take to ensure you differentiate yourself from your peers in such a highly competitive job market?
- Get the experience
More often than not, a graduate that demonstrates relevant work experience on their CV is more likely to get through to the interview stage. Graduates often complain “how can I get experience if no one will give me any?” – by using your intuition and being proactive you can ensure the experience you receive equips you with the valuable transferable skills needed to kick-start your career.
There are plenty of opportunities in which you can gain experience whilst at university such as involving yourself in extracurricular clubs and groups. Alternatively, work placements and internships are a great method of gaining and developing skills. There are also numerous local volunteering opportunities on the do-it.org website, allowing you to not only develop your transferable skills and learn on-the job, but also offering you the chance to meet new people and significantly contribute to your community.
- Upgrade your CV
Recruiters receive hundreds of CV’s so it’s important to ensure yours is the memorable one. Rather than sticking to the standard CV format of black text on a white background, be bold and choose to present your information creatively. If you’re looking to enter creative industries such as graphic design, PR or marketing, perhaps create an infographic CV, using images and statistics to demonstrate your skills, education and career history. Alternatively if you’re applying for jobs in the finance, legal sectors, keep your CV’s minimalistic, formatting correctly and sharing your achievements in a quantifiable way.
- Differentiate yourself
Be sure to use your online network to your advantage by writing and sharing interesting content on social media platforms including LinkedIn and Twitter. Your digital footprint says a lot about your interests, enthusiasm and knowledge for the industry you’re looking to enter. Twitter and LinkedIn are also great tools to network with like-minded peers and industry experts. Even managing and writing your own blog on a niche topic can distinguish you from the rest of crowd. With social media platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr and WordPress, the options to be creative in how you network, create and share content is limitless and are bound to help you stand out from the crowd.
- Focus on communication skills
Communication skills are absolutely vital in any career; whether you’re writing a report or presenting information verbally, it is crucial that you present this in an articulate and coherent manner, remaining professional at all levels. Avoid using slang, superlatives and buzzwords such as “self-starter” when in an interview. Instead, expand your vocabulary for example, rather than saying “I booked and organised speakers for an event”, perhaps rephrase this to “booked prominent keynote speaker to raise profile of the event and attract delegates”- by using a variety of words, you’re sure to stand out from your competitors.
- What’s your unique selling point (USP)?
Finally, discover you own niche in your chosen industry; this may be a certain technical skill you’ve developed, or specific experience you have received. For example, you may have received specific training on a specialist software whilst on your university placement. Once you find out what your unique selling point is, think like a marketer and advertise your skills, using them to your advantage for any role and then you can truly stand out.
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