Tips for 2012 Graduates

Graduate job hunting season is about to get into full swing. Most students leave looking for a job until after they graduate and so causing a real race to find the most suitable job. Given that the economy is in a poor state, despite lower salaries, more unpaid positions and a banking crisis, it’s not all doom and gloom for graduate jobseekers

The hundreds of thousands of graduates about to hit the market in Europe really will have to get their skates on in order to land their dream job. Unemployment figures across Europe are not very positive. 50% youth unemployment in Spain and a slightly lower rate around the Med means that for every vacancy there are hundreds of applicants.

There appear to be loads of jobs on some graduate websites, but these are, in fact, lengthy unpaid internships – and research from Incomes Data Services found that those lucky enough to find paid work will discover their starting salary is 2% lower than it was for the class of 2011.

2012 is a tough year to start your working life – but there is a lot you can do to boost your chances of landing a good job. There are a few things you need to know to avoid some pitfalls on your journey to work.

1. Unpaid internships are illegal

The biggest problem for today’s graduates isn’t being unemployed – it is unpaid internships. A large number of students have done several internships and the problem now is that they often do not lead to paid jobs anymore. They are simply replacing paid jobs.

There is no legal definition in Europe what an intern is. But if an intern’s role has clearly defined hours and responsibilities and the intern is contributing work that’s of value to the employer, the company might be breaking the law. Not that anyone really gives a hoot. Even political parties in Brussels are using scores of interns to help out with party political work. It’s annoying though that the law makers are flouting the laws themselves. They are meant to set the example.

2 Don’t believe the newspapers – there are still plenty of jobs out there

Competition for jobs seems fierce with sometimes hundreds of graduates applying for the same job. It’s not that fierce when you analyse what’s going on. Graduates tend to act like lemmings, they all look for similar jobs in similar places. Hence, big name employers such as Unilever, Shell, Apple, etc are inundated with applicants, whilst smaller, less well known companies struggle to attract any candidates.

However, there is a huge shortage of graduates and this growing year on year. You only have to look at the demographic make-up of Europe to realise that the baby boomers are retiring and that there not really any replacements in the wings.

All graduates have to do is to look for jobs outside the mainstream publications. Research a market, check out the main players and identify new, growing companies. You’ll be much more likely to land a job with great career opportunities in a smaller company that will give you more responsibility than a large corporate. The only thing you won’t get the added job security of a large company, although that is now questionable as well.

3 Getting another degree isn’t the answer

A second or third degree will mean a bigger and better job – or at least a better chance of getting a job. It might sound attractive, but the market rules here as well. Before you saddle yourself with more costs (and debts), check if the market actually needs people with those degrees. Will it add anything to your chances? Ask some companies what their opinion is before you commit to another degree.

4 Check the potential of your chosen industry

The internet has caused many industries to die or at least to dramatically change the way they operate. The effect of the Amazons and Ebays of this world has caused several traditional industries to decline. Look at your skills and then look at the industry you want to work in. Is there any future is it? Are people leaving the industry? It is much better to think outside the box and apply your skills in other industries. I have a textile engineering degree, an MBA and a translation degree, but I’m working in the internet industry, where I can use my various skills.

5 Apply to jobs that fit like a glove

Don’t try to doctor your CV so your experience appears ideal for the company. Recruiters can easily see through that. If you’re ideal for a job, the recruiter will take notice.

You’re much better checking on what is out there online about you. What did you do in the past? Posted photos of that drunken weekend in Paris? Or that great shot of your buttocks at the end of year party at university?Think about what potential employers might find and how it could affect your career chances.

Use Facebook’s new “view as” button (found under the “edit profile” settings) to see how your non-friends can see you – and adjust the privacy settings accordingly. Get rid of anything that might scupper your prospects.

Check other sites, clean up your online profile to make sure no one gets a wrong impression of you.



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