By Alex Townley
Sales. You might be tempted to conjure up images of soul-destroying call centres or Del Boy and friends hawking on street corners with suitcases full of counterfeit watches, but we’d like you to shelve those thoughts for five minutes.
Unfortunately a large number of high-profile careers websites peddle ill-informed graduate sales careers advice, so we’re here to set the record straight.
Myth 1. “I’ll spend my days cold-calling”
Wrong! Gone are the days of reading from scripts and making over 100 calls a day. The internet has replaced cold-calling and more recently, given rise to social selling. People buy from people and today’s buyers have no patience for unsolicited phone calls hawking products they don’t want. Working in sales requires a certain entrepreneurial spirit: you need to demonstrate a clear product or brand understanding and build on-going relationships.
Modern salespeople spend their days leveraging social networks to generate leads, educating others with informative content and engaging with decision makers. They analyse data to make better-informed choices, email the right person at the right time with the right message and use their time more effectively to build a demand for their product.
It is likely that you’ll have targets, but you won’t necessarily be expected to achieve them by calling strangers all day.
Myth 2. “Sales has got nothing to do with my degree”
“A career in sales would not involve a lot of the skills that I learnt at university and is not particularly creative.”
Anonymous graduate, Inspiring Interns’ graduate survey 2014
No! Throughout your time at university you’ll have built up a host of transferable skills. Those with large social circles and enjoyed life at university often make good sales people. If your degree involved debating subjects, frequent communication with your peers and interpreting information then you may well be suited to a career in sales.
Working in sales is all-encompassing; you’ll learn how to use email marketing techniques to garner new leads, social media platforms to nurture leads and clients, and ultimately set up face-to-face meetings. You’ll need to be analytical to understand your clients’ needs, you can put together a strong case for your particular product/service and you’re convincing enough to close a deal.
Myth 3. “There is no career progression”
False! The lead characters portrayed in Phoneshop are funny, but they are probably the world’s least accurate representation of salespeople.
“Graduate sales positions should not be confused with sales work in shops, door-to-door sales roles or telesales.”
The University of Kent’s careers page
A graduate sales position will give you a firm grounding in all aspects of business as you develop a full understanding of all business activities. Working in sales is usually a complex job; most business leadership positions require sales experience and successful salespeople are usually an organisation’s prize asset.
“Good salespeople are never out of work and always in demand.”
Les Csonge, Co-Founder Yudu Media
If one day you do decide to move on, many of the skills that you develop as a salesperson are applicable in a broad range of other positions; managing client expectations, closing deals and communicating effectively, to name a few.
To properly arm yourself for a successful career in sales, take a look at this sales-focused graduate weapons piece on attacking the job hunt.
If we’ve already convinced you that sales is your next career-move, take a look at our latest vacancies in sales and send us your CV.
Alex is the marketing manager at Inspiring Interns. He enjoys sport, cinema, admiring sharks from a safe distance (on TV) and supports Arsenal. Alex occasionally blogs on plainhelvetica.com, tweets @agtownley or you can add him to your circles on Google+.
Actually, it’s probably fair to say you will believe what happened next.
Hey you. Yes, you! You, sat at home reading this as you indulge in a little mid-job application procrastination. Don’t feel guilty, we’ve all been there. And let’s face it, if you’re going to do a touch of procrastination there are worse places to do it than a graduate recruitment blog. Am I right?
So…how can we make this a useful five minutes? Well how about a little bit of inspiration to get you back on track, courtesy of our boy Charlie Bragg and the brilliant MyLondonHome. You’re in? Great – let’s go.Charlie graduated from the University of Leicester last year with a degree in English and, like you, was sat at home last August applying for jobs. Specifically, he wanted something with a marketing bent. So he put in an application to Inspiring Interns. He got a call from us. He came in to meet our HR team and film a video CV. Then came an interview at MyLondonHome, and no longer was he sat at home wondering what was next but starting a social media internship. And, in his own words, it went quite well.
“The best thing about interning at MyLondonHome was opportunity to learn. From day one I was afforded the time and training to truly understand my role. It wasn’t the cliché of making tea or filing paperwork (although of course with any office, tea was heavily involved). A young office with a good social side meant I quickly felt at home in the company and, if offered the opportunity, I could see myself working there for a long time.”
Boom. Kick-starting your career could be that simple. Feeling a bit more motivated but not quite there yet? No fear, Charlie’s got this to say about everything he has gained from the experience:
“I came into the company as a social media intern, but I was quickly learning to manage our Google Adwords account and analyse our web traffic through Google Analytics. After securing a full-time job at MyLondonHome as a Marketing Executive, I was offered the opportunity to study the IDM (Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) Diploma in Direct and Digital Marketing, of which I am expecting the results of in September. I have since been able to fully immerse myself in all company marketing, including copywriting, radio advertisements, an MLH taxi campaign and many other projects.”
Cracking. An internship converted to a permanent job, and a huge amount learned along the way. Well played Braggsy! [NB Braggsy may not be Charlie’s nickname, but we like it]. So having been there, done that and got the job, what advice would Charlie give to potential interns?
“I think the one piece of advice I’d offer anyone looking to start a career in marketing is that it doesn’t have to be for an agency. I’ve had an incredible year at MyLondonHome and think that’s largely down to the fact that every project I’ve been involved in, I’ve been able to see the results first hand.”
Booya! Marketing isn’t all about agencies, and doesn’t Charlie know it.
Hopefully Charlie’s story has given you a bit of impetus to snap out of your brief procrastination and crack on with the applications. We’re certainly feeling double lively after reading about Braggsy’s success. And if you want confirmation of what a lovely chap our lad is, along with a reminder that inspiration comes from all around us, he’s revealed one last golden nugget of truth.
“My Dad is probably my biggest inspiration, he never stops thinking of ideas (most of them terrible) but he doesn’t give up and occasionally there’s a good one…In all seriousness, his passion for innovation is infectious and I don’t think I’d be so motivated without him.”
Top man, top story, and hopefully some top motivation. Go get ‘em tiger!
To stock up on even more motivational nutrition, have a butcher’s here!
Andrew James Scherer was thrust into this world in 1986 and from the moment he was born knew he was destined for the top…of the the Inspiring Interns Manchester office. Scherer somehow persuaded Inspiring to take him on in November 2009 and has been immovable since. Can be found @scheza on Twitter. You can also connect with Andrew on Google+!
By Hannah Roberts
It’s nearly upon us, that extended weekend we’ve all been waiting for, the last one we’ll see until Christmas. In case you didn’t know, we quite like fun here at Inspiring. We’re a (fairly) young team that recognises the importance of letting your hair down after a hard week of work, so when a three day weekend comes around, we like to take full advantage! It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to club together with some suggestions of how to revel in the holiday happiness, and this time is no exception. No one knows what the weather will do, most likely a freak thunderstorm or deceptively-sweet-named-hurricane will make an appearance. But, on the off chance that the sun shines, we’ve got your back with a loaded list of happenings across our beautiful Capital. Take a look below to see what’s on our to-do list this weekend…
Move ya body
First up and most obvious, Notting Hill Carnival! For those new to London, a visit West-way to see the streets of Ladbroke and Westbourne Grove transformed into a tropical sea of rhythm and colour is a must. A vibrant collaboration of nearly-naked dancers in bejewelled costumes, sizzling Caribbean jerk, boom box speaker-stacked floats and a load of happy people: a guaranteed party for all your senses. As always Timeout has you prepped with their guide to all things Carnival, from route map, to safety and travel advice.
Top tip: BYOB (as much as you can carry) and a pocket full of change – the toilets ain’t free!
London loves any excuse for a party, rinsing Carnival for all its goodness and spreading the celebrations across the weekend with warm-ups and after parties a plenty. Friday night sees Trouble Vision replicating last years’ success with their Carnival Warm Up ft. J Rocc. Other party-starters include the travelling collective, Cirque du Soul at Islington Metal Works and the launch of Hydra: a 2014 nightlife series special. They’re igniting the fire this weekend with a trio of club night collaborations (Resident Advisor, Ghostly International & Blueprint) at their brand new custom-built venue in Wapping – a triple taster of the good things they have to come.
Want more? Head south of the river this Saturday and you’ll be greeted by the sights and sounds of Jamaica rupturing from the rooftop of Brixton’s Prince of Wales with their Jamaica Rum Tings Carnival Warm-up Party (the next day will also see Gilles Peterson up on the roof – well worth a look). Further North, you’ll find Troupe launch the first big terrace party at Egg this Saturday/night with the likes of Dennis Ferrer, Hannah Wants and Applebottom hitting decks for their final fling after a summer series of hits.
Kiss Sunday goodnight with the annual krankbrother After-Party a stone’s throw from the days’ festivities. These techno-bros are veterans to the carni-after-party scene, always delivering on a night of heavy beats and production filling the vast studios with infectious energy. Last year the curved white walls of the venue were lit-up by an incredible lava-lamp-esq visual installation – I’ll be returning again this year to see what musical magic they have planned. Secretsundaze, the Daddy of daytime clubbing in London have not one, but two events taking place this Sunday! The party starts in the sun over at Studio 338 with German gems DJ Koze and Nick Höppner, and continues into the next morning with a fresh batch of artists over at Shoreditch’s Village Underground. Head here to find out more.
Top tip: Hydrate. Day-to-night parties are a marathon not a race. Pace yourself with a few waters in between the rum n’ ginger ales!
Beach n’ beers
Bringing seaside vibes to the North of London, Camden Beach will be serving up the sand for the last time this Friday and Saturday. With a Tiki Hut, Rum Shack-a-lack, (hot) Dog House and Pork BBQ Bar making this the perfect-after work spot to kick-off your long weekender.
After its success last bank holiday Meantime Brewery’s Brewfest is back with a bang: perfect for those who missed out last time. Returning to its Greenwich home at The Old Royal Naval College, this weekend promises three whole days of food, music and 40 breweries worth of beer. As before, a £20 ticket will get you six beer tokens and a souvenir glass.
Potentially more appealing on the pocket than the above option is Camden Town Brewery’s Tank Party – celebrating the beauty of breweries with fresh Unfiltered Hells Lager flowing from their 60HL tanks, FOR FREE. Join in for a day of friendly vibes, tasty street food traders (inc. soft shell crab burgers!) and pints upon pints of fresh beer spouting from their pop-up bar and through their extended beer garden.
And for something slightly more chilled…
For those less interested in drinking your weight in beer all weekend, we’ve got a few ways to enjoy London at a more chilled pace.
Escape the hustle n’ bustle and relish in a little greenery this long weekend with a trip to Plantasia at Kew Gardens. Attractions include the Barefoot Walk, Tai Chi sessions, an opportunity to Climb the Pagoda, explore the various gardens and plant houses and, most intriguing to us, sample the delights of the Gin and Tonics Garden!
Canine lovers, this one’s for you. This bank holiday Monday plays host to the Old Spitalfields Paw Pageant, delivering a day filled with all things dog. Canines in couture will strut the ‘dog walk’ from 1-3pm, judged by the likes of famous photographer, Rankin, in a bid to raise money for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Alongside the pooch parade they’ll be free microchipping and dog tagging for all per owners plus a ‘doggy garden’ takeover of Spitalfield’s Las Iguanas for you and your companion to enjoy.
Architect enthusiasts looking to make the most of the extra day’s grace should head to the new face of the Serpentine Pavilion, designed this year by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. This fully-interactive, shell-like construction is open for the public to enjoy until September.
And finally, something a little different on our hit list this weekend: the ArcelorMittal Orbit Lates. For those that don’t know, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the big red twisty structure nestled next to the Olympic Stadium, which is in fact the tallest sculpture in the London. This trio of adult-only evening events gives you the chance to get in amongst the red frame, serving up a remarkable view of the capital alongside live music, DJs, food and drink.
Whatever you get up to over the coming days – stay safe and enjoy yourselves!
At university, you’re repeatedly told to ‘read around your subject’ to improve your knowledge and make the most out of your degree. The same applies to your job hunt. From having something extra and insightful to say in an interview situation, to having a more well-rounded understanding of what is happening in the industry you are keen to get into – stay up-to-date and you could put yourself ahead of the pack! We’ve taken eight key industries and researched the publications you should be reading, the websites you should frequently be visiting and who you should be following on Twitter. We recommend checking out the Twitter profiles of all the websites we’ve mentioned to get a bite-size daily dose of information!
If you have an industry in mind, click on the word below and you’ll jump to it.
• Campaign is an online magazine providing a mix of news, analysis, features and comment to the communications industry (advertising, media, digital, marketing).
• Similarly, Creative Review is a platform for ‘advertising, design and visual culture’.
• Advertising is a popular choice when it comes to thinking about a career path, so try logging on to Adforum which allows you to research different agencies. Perhaps most interesting about this website is the creative library which explores and introduces you to some of the most critically acclaimed work in the industry.
Computing & IT
• Visit Computer Weekly for technology tips, multimedia and management information.
• Try Q&A site Stack Overflow for professional and enthusiastic programmers.
• Keep on top of software developments and most importantly with this industry, practise makes perfect! Enhance the skills you already have and master other programmes so you can demonstrate to an employer that you have what they are looking for.
Digital & Media
• Those in the industry have found Tech Crunch useful and this is also one for marketing enthusiasts. Go onto the website and take a look around or get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox with TechCrunch Daily.
• Econsultancy post a huge range of brilliant blogs featuring industry trends, tips and advice to keep you up-to-date with the fast-moving world of digital. Members also get access to a range of reports and up-to-date research (key in an ever-changing landscape).
• A vital thing with digital is to learn as you try it yourself. You can enhance your industry knowledge through meeting more experienced contacts, but also (and more easily!) by engaging with them online. Ask a specific, relevant question to a company about their experience e.g. of the current market and you may not only get the answer you want, but make contacts in the process.
•The Financial Times delivers a constant stream of the very latest UK and international business, finance, economic and political news, comment and analysis. It may sound obvious, but this is essential reading for graduates interested in finance and is also very useful for those with an interest in business and current affairs.
• The Economist is another well-known publication offering similar insights, but also focusing on science and technology.
• Forbes is well worth a follow on Twitter and/or regular visits to its website for reliable news, politics, economics, business and finance information.
• Depending on whether your focus is markets or global strategy, whether you’re looking into investments or accounting; following relevant financial advisors, experts and business leaders can give you an insight into what goes on and what is happening right now. Twitter feeds or individuals involved in the financial sector will often have a specific focus, so it is worth following a variety of people, companies, news channels, publications and (unbiased) independents.
• Finance News 24 is a Broadview ‘Best Finance Blog Award’ winner and provides financial news from the major markets across the world, with particular focus on sports topics. Websites such as this can be a nice way to incorporate your interests into your work/research.
HR & Recruitment
• It may be worth adding the CIPD’s People Management to your bookmarks bar if you are interested in this sector; they provide up-to-date HR news to keep you in the loop.
• Personnel Today also offer news and guidance related to all things HR.
• Battenhall Monthly is a social media and communications trend report published free, every month (as the title suggests). This is essential reading for those wanting to be in the know about the latest data, trends and analysis.
• Moz blog is an SEO and inbound marketing hub of information with great tips on what to do and how to it with regards to search, social, content and brand marketing.
• The Drum and Marketing Week magazine publish news for the marketing and media industries.
• Consider researching different brands and keeping an eye on those who excel in promoting their product, like Innocent An awareness of current marketing trends and techniques and an understanding of what makes a particular campaign or business successful is important.
• Finally, be sure to check out Mashable for regular updates on ‘what’s hot’, ‘the new stuff’ and ‘the next big thing’.
• Go to Gorkana to find out what’s creating a social buzz and what’s going on in the industry, or log onto PR week for the latest updates and job specific news.
• Take a look at this article for ‘top tips on how to bag your first job in PR’ featuring advice on which direction to take your career, how to network and where to look online.
• The Red Rocket is a tech, PR and social media guide and 10 Yetis will give PR fans examples of good and bad PR.
Sales & Business Development
• Familiarising yourself with the CRM software used by numerous companies to assist them in the tracking of sales figures is a great place to start. Try Sales Force.
• Daniel H Pink’s book To sell is human has been a NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Times bestseller and said to be a favourite amongst top salespeople. It looks at the art and science of sales through stories, research and analysis. Mixing up your reading material and looking at a variety of different sources can keep things fresh in your mind!
As Mashable highlights, the power of social media makes it easier than ever before to build up a personal brand. You can take part in industry conversations and build personal connections with those in your field (or field of interest). You can also take a look at our blogs for more information on how to sell yourself and how to boost your professional online presence.
For further information and pointers, explore our free graduate guide with particular emphasis on the following sectors: advertising, analytics, charity, digital & IT, fashion, finance, marketing, PR, sales and a bonus section on using your language skills. The guide lists a huge range of free options to help boost your application, but also points you in the direction of the very best paid-for courses and qualifications.
Finally, if you’re a budding entrepreneur bursting with questions, try Inc. They provide a wealth of information on how to start and grow your own business!
Katie is an Inspiring Intern and a recent addition to our marketing team. A dancer/health & fitness enthusiast, she tweets here: @KatesApps, blogs at: http://bit.ly/WN9rpu or you can connect with Katie on Google+.
By Monica Karpinski
It’s no secret how competitive the job market is these days. We’ve all read the scary headlines and scrolled through endless job adverts, all the while working ourselves up into a frenzy. “What’s going to make me stand out to an employer,” we ask ourselves, “when everyone has already done everything else?”
But don’t let the naysay brigade discourage you; there is always a way you’ll be able to impress an employer. You’ll just have to be creative about it.
Internships are an increasingly popular avenue to higher-level, permanent positions in competitive fields. With more and more interns on the scene, you’ll have to work a bit harder to make yourself stand out. Learning additional skills not necessarily related to your field can help you do just that.
As well as allowing you to pick up new know-how, additional skills and knowledge on your CV make you seem interesting. They will demonstrate that you are driven, dynamic and that in your spare time you don’t just sit around and rest on your laurels. You’re a go-getter, with keen interests who’s ready to proverbially take the bull by the horns.
Fortunately, learning something new has never been easier for Brits on the cusp of their careers. For example, Hotcourses’ Cash for a Course Awards allows five prospective learners to complete a course of their choice in one of five broad subject areas: arts and craft, technology and business, languages, cookery, and sports and fitness.
Did you study French or Spanish in your GCSEs? A UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) found that 17% of employers were unable to fill vacancies due to a shortage of candidates with languages skills. Why not pick it up and plonk it on your CV? (Incidentally, you can check out Hot Courses’ French courses here!)
It’s good news for those not looking to learn something so serious, too. Another recent survey by the National Careers Service named 23% of employers’ vacancies hard to fill based on a lack of skills, qualifications or experience. Got your eye on a publishing internship? You might be a whiz with words but if you aren’t digitally minded then you’ll shine out less next to someone who does. Taking a short course in technology or social media will show you’ve made an effort to fix that, and that now, you’re up to scratch. In the same vein, your novelty cupcake decorating class will expose your creativity and interest in foodie culture. Your employer feels like he knows you a little better already.
Whether you’re in it for the long haul and ready to pick up a second language, or just want to learn how to decorate a lampshade, each and every skill you acquire will broaden your perspective and add something to the way you think. And that will only ever work in your favour.
Editor’s note: If you’re looking for a course in London to improve your employability, check out our new all-encompassing guide: http://www.inspiringinterns.com/interns/london/guide/
Monica is a London-based writer and digital content producer for Hotcourses. A keen art and culture fanatic, you can follow Monica on Twitter, add her on LinkedIn or connect with her on Google+.
By Katie Appleby
In between all those BBQs and beaches find the time to keep active this summer with these slightly-more-fun-than-the-treadmill things to do. Involve your friends, make it fun and try something different!
Be voucher savvy
Take advantage of fitness offers, from Groupon to your local community or gym. A little bit of digging and you could find inner peace through yoga or go all out at a bootcamp. Try hot yoga near Old Street for introductory offers like 90 days for £24 or improve your fitness with bootcamp in Shoreditch at a great price.
Host your own tournament!
Venture to Hampstead Heath or London Fields taking a supply of friends, food, drink and sports equipment with you and you’ve got a rounders tournament! Find your local tennis courts (free to use in some areas of North and East London) and set up your very own championship to rival Wimbledon. These are easy, fun and free ways to enjoy fitness this summer and socialise at the same time. It’s up to you how much exercise you actually choose to do…
Seriously! Not only is it a great (and fast) calorie burner, it is taking London and the summer by storm. Performances at festivals like Lovebox and with hula hoop aerobics classes popping up around the capital, the hula hoop is going from garden accessory to the next get fit must-have. If you’ve yet to master the hoop or it’s just not for you, why not try skipping? Throw a BBQ and raise your heart rate with these old school classics before you sit down and stuff your face. I’m looking to buy one at the moment… looking at you hula hoop companies. Discount?!
Jump on the organised fun bandwagon
There are a huge variety of sporting events, from the free to the competitive, going on around London and the rest of the country this summertime. Why not try a 5km colour run and get covered in paint? Or take a trip to Notting Hill Carnival and get your groove on joining the parade – that counts as exercise right, guys? Guys? Oh…
Start something new
You know that thing you’ve been meaning to start or wanting to try for a while and you haven’t got around to it? The days are longer and the sun is out, so whether it’s trying a new activity or getting round to joining the gym. No time like the present!
Katie is an Inspiring Intern and a recent addition to our marketing team. A dancer/health & fitness enthusiast, she tweets here: @KatesApps, blogs at: http://bit.ly/WN9rpu or you can connect with Katie on Google+.
Editor’s note: All images are property of Inspiring Interns.
Inspiring Interns is proud to announce that we have teamed up with CommuterClub to save you money on your London commute! Read on to find out more.
What is Commuter Club?
CommuterClub allows everyone to access the benefits of an annual travel pass. If you don’t have access to an employer season ticket loan, keep reading! CommuterClub buy your yearly travel card and you pay them back on a monthly basis over eleven months, saving the cost of one month’s commute versus buying monthly travel cards. If you commute between zones 1-2, that’s around £140! And that’s before we take into account TfL’s random fare hikes…
Why is this relevant to graduates in London?
Once you’ve landed your first job out of university, your thoughts may turn to saving money and cutting costs. As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll save at least £140 with an annual travel card, but there are also a selection of exclusive benefits that go with being an annual travel card, or gold card, holder. To start with, a third off all national rail travel. Perfect for those who don’t have a 16-25 railcard. CommuterClub has also teamed up with Fitness First, Uber and many more companies offering their members great benefits. CommuterClub is also rolling out free Time Out cards to customers soon (worth £25): find out more about that here.
Give me more!
A couple more things you might not have considered. Since CommuterClub’s scheme is technically classified as a loan, you can start to build a positive credit rating while saving money. Perfect for when you finally save enough cash for a mortgage deposit. (OK, so we realise that might not be for a while yet, but still. It all helps!) The move to the big city and navigating the job market is stressful enough before taking into consideration commuting. CommuterClub tick off that box so it’s sorted for a year!
I’m with you. But what happens if I leave London?
No problem. CommuterClub offers a non-committal twelve month subscription. So you can leave if you need to and you won’t lose any money.
Sounds great, how do I sign up?
Simply click below and enter the discount code INSPIRE to receive a £10 discount off your first month of travel.
The legal stuff:
Commuter Club Ltd is a provider of retail financial services and is Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Interim Permission Number 659398. Commuter Club Ltd. is entered in the Financial Services Register. For more information you may visit www.fca.org.uk.
By Liam Weaver
It’s a frustration regardless of which stage you’re at in your career; sending your CV in and never hearing back is the proverbial of throwing yourself into a black hole. Of course it’s even worse if you’re a graduate.
If you’re reading this you’re probably at the stage where you’re on the lookout for graduate roles and are firing out CVs left, right and centre. Regardless of how it’s going, here are a few things to consider from the eyes of a recruiter.
1. You didn’t sell yourself
A CV shouldn’t just be a piece of paper with a few stats and contact details, you need to sell yourself, but in a convincing way. Be selfish and boast about where you believe you really stand out. It doesn’t have to be charity work or public speaking; think about instances from your course. Did you consistently get work in early? Were you top of your class; think, think, think!
2. You overused the business mumbo-jumbo
Knowing what you’re talking about is always an advantage if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, but knowing when to hold back is another skill entirely. Don’t encumber your CV with phrases like: ‘command and leverage the businesses personnel to meaningfully navigate a pressing company project’. What does that even mean?
3. You were too generic
Even if you’re applying for 15 roles a day, be prepared to tailor your CV to each job. Take time to read through the role you’re applying for and chop and change certain skills where necessary. If you’re going to be in a customer facing role, highlight previous part-time jobs in retail/bars, for example.
4. You deemed previous experience ‘irrelevant’
You’ll likely be entering your first full-time job so it’s easy to see yourself as having no relevant experience, but don’t neglect what you have done. Some of your old part-time roles, clubs, or positions in university societies may highlight skills you’ll be using in your new graduate role!
5. Your CV was too long
This is definitely one of the most common problems. Your CV should realistically not exceed one or two pages at graduate level. A seasoned professional’s CV will be about two pages, so don’t overload your CV with non-essential information. Employers will be faced with hundreds of CVs daily so if they’re presented with one which is 3-4 pages long, it’s likely to be discarded.
6. Overuse of clichés
When it comes to naming qualities, traits and skills keep them simple and if you can, back them up with evidence. Nobody wants to read endless lists of ‘passionate’, ‘motivated’ and ‘team-player’- get to the point!
7. Wipe the slate clean
A graduate role should be a stepping stone into the world of work, so use this chance to get a new professional email address and refresh any social media profiles.
Remember that your CV is the first hurdle in the job race, nailing it at the first attempt will save you valuable time in the job market.
By Katie Appleby
The economy is growing, exciting new businesses are emerging and the job market is heating up. Competition for graduate internships and jobs is HIGH and it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:
Technology is one of the fastest-growing industries – so embrace it! Get your skills endorsed by previous employers and co-workers on LinkedIn (not just your best mates liking every single one) and secure recommendations (also on LinkedIn) from people you have worked for/with highlighting your contribution, personality and skills. Be active online! From making videos, to blogging or contributing to a publication or website – a relevant, visible online presence can help you to market your brand; you!
Add a splash of colour
Consider jazzing up your CV by adding the logo of companies you have worked for or gained experience with next to their name. This is a simple, but effective way to give your application some colour. Research shows a picture is far more effective at getting a reaction than a block of text. This coupled with the fact that the ratio of applications to job opportunities has been recorded as high as 85:1 with top employers – all points towards the need to be memorable! Putting a small, passport-size photo on the top corner of your CV could also have a positive impact. If a recruiter or company is looking a multiple applications a day (very likely), they will be drawn to your application and remember what you look like if/when they meet you.
It’s less about the extra-curricular activities and more about your involvement. Taking a leadership role says a lot about you as a person – as recently highlighted by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in a Twitter Q&A about getting into the legal sector. Standing out is important in this day and age! Whether through what you achieve as a result of your extra-curricular activities, the unusual nature of the hobby or the in-demand skills you have gained as a result of your efforts. You can stand out in other ways too; inject some personality into your job applications, be original in your answers to interview questions or find new and innovative ways to get noticed by people in your industry(ies) of interest.
Keep your eyes peeled for Inspiring’s Annie’s upcoming blog ‘What to wear to an interview’ – this will be especially helpful to those girls with a full-to-bursting wardrobe of potential! Until then, present yourself in a way that is relevant to your industry. If you are interviewing for a position in a corporate environment, looking smart is essential. Pay close attention to the job specification or any guidance you are given. If the description highlights a relaxed, start-up office environment, consider that smart/casual may be more appropriate. If in doubt, it’s always better to be overdressed. Presentation is more than just what you’re wearing; how you present yourself on paper, online or via email or telephone communications is as important.
If your CV features an impressive list of desirable characteristics, traits and skills, think about how you can demonstrate or prove that you have these assets. When prepping for an interview for example, prepare examples of when you have had to use said skills in a real-life situation, how or why you did it and what the outcome was. For more interview advice and insights, have a look at this. You can also back up your statements with examples through your choice of extra-curricular activity (as previously mentioned) and your relevant qualifications or work experience.
Editor’s note: All images are property of Inspiring Interns.
By Katie Appleby
With the gown returned and certificate in-hand, as a recent grad – the world feels like your oyster! Many of you will want to take a (well earned) break after graduating, but here are a handful of things to consider during your few months of freedom.
In today’s competitive job market, employers are looking for more than just a great academic background or relevant work experience. A hobby highlights what you are passionate about and gives an insight into your personality. Performance experience, for example, demonstrates confidence and presentation skills. Interesting or impressive qualifications gained from pursuing a hobby can be a positive addition to any CV.
Adding strings to your bow outside of the office or classroom environment will help your application to stand out. Why not try learning another language? Inspiring have seen how highly sought-after such skills are. Bi-lingual or multi-lingual candidates dramatically increase their employment and earning potential, for example.
Furthering your education doesn’t have to just mean postgraduate studies. If you are looking to boost your CV, local community colleges often offer educational or practical courses or introductory classes/workshops. This could be particularly useful if you are looking to get into an industry which you don’t have experience in.
Reading is another way to enhance your employability. Keeping up-to-date with industry-related news and reading relevant articles and texts will help you when it comes to impressing at an interview. Consider following industry leaders and relevant business figures on LinkedIn and engaging in discussions on Twitter.
If you are unsure of the career direction you want to go in, researching different industries and the job opportunities that they have to offer is a great place to start. Check out our graduate glossary for a detailed explanation of different career sectors and job titles.
Find an Internship
An internship is a great way of getting a foot in the door and kick-starting your career in the industry of your choice. However, an internship can be the pursuit of an interest rather than a career focus. Shadowing someone at work for a short period of time is less commitment, but still valuable experience. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to trail an industry of interest and see if it’s something that you could see yourself doing. Take a look at our vacancies page to see the kind of internship (and job) roles we currently have on offer.
As tempting as it to spend your extended post-graduation summer break lazing around on holiday, why not look into doing an internship or taking part in a volunteering project abroad? Get your fix of fun in the sun and add to your CV at the same time: win, win!
From coaching sport to preserving wildlife, there are a whole host of exciting volunteering opportunities available to those looking for an experience. Volunteering doesn’t have to mean travelling to a far away destination; it can be a way to engage with your local community which in turn, may appeal to (local) employers and you could be offered future volunteering opportunities, broadening your experience.
Throw a wild party! OK maybe not, but the right kind of socialising can be a valuable addition to your CV. From industry-specific events to more general graduate recruitment fairs, networking and making important connections is an integral part of the job hunt process. It may reaffirm what you already knew about a particular career option or it could open your eyes to an opportunity you may not have previously considered.
Embrace these opportunities, improve your skillset and look forward to a fantastic welcome to the world of employment!
Editor’s note: All images are property of Inspiring Interns.