As we reach the middle of February, time is slowly creeping up on all of you third year university students. Whilst you might have enjoyed the last two and a half years, the onus is now on you to take the reins and get yourself noticed. The graduate marketplace is one of the most condensed, crowded and confusing job pools you’re likely to ever swim in. This blog aims at being your first pair of armbands, giving you the confidence to tread water on your own and, in time, show yourself to be a strong swimmer.
1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
This question isn’t meant to offend, or to condescend, but to get you to actually think about it. So many third year students get to April/May before they even think beyond university. Waking in a cold sweat as they realise it’s nearly time to move back home or move on with some form of career. Don’t let that be you!
Our first piece of advice is, that you sit down and really think about what you want to do with your degree. For some of you it’ll be easy. You’ve spent the last two and a half years with a goal and you’re not going to stop until you achieve it. For those of you who don’t see an obvious path into employment, consider your strengths. Ultimately, employment is a happier place when you are doing what you love. Lending your strengths to your new employer will help to prove that you are worth the investment.
The quicker you know what you want to be the better. That being said, this author went to Uni at 28 following a long period of not knowing what he wanted to be. Has he grown up? Well, that’s a whole different question!
2. Where can I find companies doing interesting work?
Last week we had a meet and greet stand at the Manchester Digital Talent Day. There were surprising numbers of soon-to-be graduates who hadn’t done any research on the companies who they’d be meeting. These events are largely about selling yourself, what you could offer and why you’re the best candidate they’ll see all day.
Imagine the impression you make when you come tooled up with knowledge about the company's latest campaign, the types of clients they work with and why the latest logo change has done wonders for their brand. Go in with this knowledge and you’ve already elevated yourself up above the crowd. By showing that you had the foresight to research in advance, you’ll show yourself not as a graduate but as a professional young person ready to make inroads into the industry.
I still haven’t answered my question though, have I? Well, those of you who I spoke to at Talent Day will know the answer. For those who missed it, the answer is obvious – Social Media. Any company worth their salt will have some form of social presence. Particularly Twitter and Linkedin. A simple location specific search on either of these platforms will throw up a great list of potential companies. These are your two key platforms, go forth and discover.
3. How can I make them notice me?
The beauty of social media is that you have the opportunity to not only find out more about a company and the types of work that they do, but you also have the capacity to discuss that work with them.
- Company A just won a new client/award – Congratulate them
- Company B just asked for an opinion on some creative – Give your opinion
- Company C is seeking answers to an industry relevant question – Answer it
Take notice of how many other people are doing this, you’d be surprised at how few are. This is a great opportunity to put yourself in front of your preferred agency and have an opinion on what they are doing. By showing an interest regularly you will also be putting yourself in the minds of the company. When your CV drops on their desk they'll recognise your name. If they already know you’ve been engaging with them on social, might you be worth an interview?
Whilst I can’t speak for the industry as a whole, companies like ours monitor social very closely and will certainly notice the interest and enthusiasm.
Make yourself heard.
4. How much do I want this?
There is no advice for this question. It’s all about you. Application and Execution. You got to the end of this blog – just go and put it all into action. That is, if you want to…