Ok – let’s be honest, 2020 has been tough for everyone. No matter who we speak to, everyone has a story about how their own career, job, business has been affected by the goings on over the last 11 months.
One of the groups of people who are feeling the effects are new graduates. There is no point in trying to sugar coat it (and to be honest that isn’t really our style), the number of entry level positions out there for people about to start their careers just aren’t there anymore. Graduate employment was already a competitive market, and if you are one of those students that did everything you were told to do – placements, work experience, extra effort – you might be questioning what it was all for right now.
However, it’s not all bad news. For those willing to work hard, be dynamic and hunt out the opportunities – there is still a lot to be excited about, and brilliant brands and businesses to be working with. So how much do you want it? How hard are you prepared to work and seek out the opportunities? Here are our 5 tips for graduates looking to get on the career ladder in the current market.
The one thing we can all agree you probably have more of right now, is time. So, use it. Think about what you want to do. The decisions you make in the first couple of years of your working life could have a significant impact on how your career plays out long term. Don’t play the numbers game and spam everyone with your CV. Apply for the jobs you really really want and take the time to tailor your CV to every role you apply for. It will be appreciated. Also, don’t discount the power of a covering letter – no one does them anymore, so when employers do get one – they get noticed (we didn’t say read), but that’s what you want – to be noticed.
Whilst 2020 has caused some massive issues for some industries and sectors, some have actually seen strong growth over the period. This is no more apparent than in the digital sector. With more businesses than ever having to make the move online, or improve their digital shop window, website agencies, SEO agencies and paid digital agencies have gone from strength to strength.
When times are hard for businesses, they look inwards and start making more of what they already have – often turning off expensive paid marketing channels and focusing on nurturing their database of current clients to maintain sales. Approach your job search in the same way – reach out to people and let them know you are looking and what you are looking for. You would be amazed by how many opportunities come from conversations with your network – you never know what opportunities other people are aware of.
They say that, ‘Necessity in the mother of all invention’. Some of the biggest brands started out during what were really hard times. Don’t forget that you are an asset in yourself – you have skills and abilities that you want an employer to pay you for, so why not start offering those skills and abilities to a wider audience? If the job offers aren’t flooding in – why not think about creating your own job? Your own business? If you can make it work during the hard times – you will be able to make it work at any time.
Ok, hear us out on this one – given that you have just finished 3 or 4 years of studying, with multiple unpaid work placements, you probably didn’t envision the start of your career involving working for free. However – whilst companies aren’t spending money on recruitment, there is no harm reaching out to the businesses you want to work with and asking for some work experience. This could end up being a very smart move – because when businesses are recruiting again, you are in a great position. Plus, just because you are doing work experience with a business doesn’t mean you can’t keep up your job search – it just means you are adding to your skillset while you apply. Also, with the majority of businesses now working remotely, the headache of travel and other expenses doesn’t exist.