To combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has implemented some extraordinary measures to keep people safe.  This in turn has caused serious disruption to companies’ workflows, events and normal recruitment processes. As the private and public sector are changing and adapting to the new “normal”, new graduates need to show the same resilience by being flexible and planning ahead to make themselves attractive to potential employers.  Useful general advice can be found on the Next Step Support website and these are our specific recommendations below:
  1. Stay up to date with the labour market. With the world turned upside down, it is surprising who is doing well (and will be recruiting) and who is struggling due to the lockdown and social distancing rules in the UK and beyond. Get alerts to your phone to keep up to date with developments from reputable sources. I use free-to-access sources BBC Business News and Guardian Business News.
  2. Know where to search for Jobs. It’s tempting to wait until everything goes back to ‘normal’, but this may be the ‘new normal’ so search now for jobs in sectors that interest you. Key places to find jobs and work experience opportunities are
    • General search engines for an overview. I use Indeed, sign up for job alerts through the “advanced jobsearch” function;
    • Specialist web sites for your sector. Search on the Job Profiles section of Prospects for the jobs most relevant to you. For example, WM Jobs advertise jobs for schools and local authorities in the West Midlands.
    • Newman Careers Service My Career vacancy database. Search for local and national jobs, work experience and volunteering opportunities.
  3. Widen your job search. If employers are not currently recruiting in your preferred area of work, broaden your search to include others which will give you valuable skills to help you move in that direction in the future. Use ProspectsWhat can I do with my degree?” pages to give you ideas about other careers related to your degree.
  4. Compose your “Elevator pitch”. This is a 2 to 3 minute speech which allows you quickly and clearly to articulate your Unique Selling Point (USP) to a potential employer.  Draw upon your degree, your work experience and your interests as well as your values and your motivation for working in a particular career sector.  Not sure where your strengths lie? Then find out by completing Prospects’ What job would suit me? and the National Careers Service Skills Health Check.
  5. Create the perfect CV. Use the guidance from Newman Careers team to craft your graduate level CV that will impress employers, information here. You will be able to use your “elevator pitch” (see step 4 above) for the ‘personal profile’ section.  And, of course, when you have drafted a CV a member of the careers team will be able to give you feedback on it and help you improve it further.
  6. Get Job ready. As job interviews are moving online, practice Zoom and Skype interviews either with a member of your family, a friend or with the careers team. Advice about video interviewing is available here. ShortList Me, an interview preparation platform, will be available shortly for you to practice and receive feedback on your performance for free. Graduate jobs often include psychometric testing as part of the application process, again now is the time to practice typical exercises so you are not fazed by the real thing.  PwC offers some useful advice and practice tests which are applicable for all, see PwC elearn.
  7. Keep Learning. Postgraduate study can enhance your knowledge and skills in a competitive graduate job market, explore the options at Prospects Postgraduate Study. Alternatively, look at free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available from universities and companies across the world.  I recommend the free online courses on Future learn and Open University, other providers include the Vision2Learn network .
  8. Keep Busy. It is important not to have gaps on your CV, so always show future employers that you can spend your time productively. Part-time work is valuable to develop your employability skills (e.g. working with customers), whilst giving you a “foot in the door” for when full-time opportunities come up. Search on job sites mentioned in step 2 above.  Or, give your free time to a cause that is close to your heart, search on the national database of volunteering opportunities at Do IT.  Volunteering allows you to contribute to your local community, support others and employers value it as, again, it helps you demonstrate employability skills needed in the workplace.
  9. Improve your Social Media image. Use the power of social media in your job search and build your network.  Create a professional CV on the LinkedIn platform; follow companies that interest you and people that inspire you. Also, curate your other social media profiles by checking privacy settings etc. so that employers are impressed when they search for you online. Useful tips can be found at Prospects Social media and Job-hunting .
  10. Keep in touch with the Newman Careers Team. All new Newman graduates are entitled to 1:1 progression coaching through the Transformation West Midlands (TWM) project and the offer of free careers guidance for the next 3 years.  Our experienced staff can help you access jobs, training and postgraduate study to suit your short and long-term career plans. Book an appointment through My Career or email us at careers@newman.ac.uk for more information or advice about any of the above.
– Teresa Waring, Senior Progression Coach – 

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