Looking for a job – how do you stand out from the crowd?

Friday, June 15, 2018

You’re about to graduate or have graduated recently? Congratulations! It’s now time to think about your next step.

If your focus is finding a job – here’s our lowdown on the South West job market for grads and what’ll help you stand out from the crowd!

What’s employment like in the South West?

The unemployment rate is high – 79% according to the ONS’ latest regional labour stats. On top of that, in findings revealed by CV Library, Exeter was named the UK’s top city to find a job. The number of vacancies year on year from May ’17-18 was +25%. Way ahead of second placed Liverpool at 14%. This is just one of the many reasons so many make the move to Exeter!

What companies based in the South West recruit graduates?

The area is known for innovation and with the Science Park doubling in size and the Met Office being based here, our airport now flying to London (amongst other places) and our excellent rail and road links – many companies are basing themselves in the area. Many will look to hire graduates, some will have a formal graduate training scheme and others will see the benefit of hiring a bright and eager University leaver and your training will be planned but more ‘on the job.’

The companies we choose to work with are highly successful, growing and ambitious. One – that was only established two years ago - has just been named ‘most outstanding business in Exeter’. 

They tend to be SME’s that are looking for like-minded people to support their organisation’s development. They don’t have a formal annual graduate intake, instead they recruit when there’s sufficient demand within the business.  Or when they know they know there’s growth around the corner.

Working closely with our clients they’ll rely on us to let them know if we meet someone who could be a good fit to their business, regardless of whether there is a live vacancy. We get lots of jobs created for graduates as a result of that proactivity, which benefits the business and the candidates that we work with – but of course there are no guarantees.

There’s always a well considered induction and training programme and ongoing support and development - and because they’re growing, career progression opportunities can often crop up.  As they’re SMEs, the senior team aren’t at arm’s length meaning there’s potential to work with and learn from some seriously impressive people!

As candidates are highly sought as well as a good starting salary, companies also have to think of other ways to attract talent. Many offer an enhanced benefits package.

Sounds good, right? Let’s get back to the important point. How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd and bag your dream job?

Your CV

The thing most prospective employees will see first is your CV. Here are our tips:

  • We want to know YOU! You can’t go wrong injecting a bit of your personality. Employers read a LOT of CVs and our team often read out phrases that have made us smile or are simply not your run of the mill ‘great team player’ type wording. Don’t use shock tactics though!
  • Include anything that’s a deal breaker. It could be the location or salary you’re looking for, for example
  • Don’t use buzz words or jargon - plain English’s best. Writing as you’d speak is a great start
  • Be honest. If you’re not sure what type of job you’re looking for – be up front. Agency’s worth their salt will recognise potential and spend time helping you to work out your options. They’ll understand what you enjoy doing and match you to roles that fit
  • Word documents please! As a recruitment agency we’ll need to tweak it before we send it out (remove any identifying information) and frankly it saves us a lot of time! 

Shout about any experience!

Paid employment is great to have on a CV – if you don’t have any - it’s really not essential. It’s amazing the things that people do in their spare time that they don’t mention! Voluntary work or hobbies which might include blogging, fixing friends and family’s PC’s or building websites are just a few examples. Equally if you’re sporty and have entered any events, or worked as part of a community team or taken an impressive overseas trip will all demonstrate qualities that might be of interest to your future employer. This also helps your personality shine through too!

Get on LinkedIn

This professional network is the perfect place to make connections and get the word out that you’re looking for work. While we’re on the subject of online networking – make sure all of your other social media is job-seeking ready.

Get out there!

Social media’s great but you can’t beat a bit of face to face. Make the most of any opportunities at Uni to meet with companies and have a chat. If nothing else it’s great practice for when you get to interviews. There’s tons of free business networking events out there too – Eventbrite’s a great place to start.

Job boards

Post your CV on job boards. This is where potential employers and agencies will be able to find your details and help with your search for work. Gradsouthwest is tailored to all things graduate job in the South West. 

Recruitment agencies

Find out why you should get in touch with an agency to help with your search for work. Not least it’s free and you’ll get access to their network of employees!

What’s a complete turn off?

Incorrect phone numbers or email addresses never go down well.

A real pet hate is people not responding when they’ve said they’d like help with their search for work. Communicating in a timely way always goes down well.  

Ultimately we’d always recommend treating people and organisations how you’d like to be treated…it goes a long way.

Visit our website to see the kind of jobs we recruit for and get in touch if you’d like us to help with your search for work!