It’s not all doom and gloom for grads

The average number of graduates applying to each vacancy has risen to 83 – up from 31 just three years ago, it was reported yesterday.

The headline figure from the bi-annual Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) report makes grim reading for those poised to leave university. The number of CVs sent in for each vacancy is now the highest on record so job prospects look slim for the class of 2011. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for university leavers.

The AGR report gives a skewed picture of the graduate job market with too great an emphasis on big business. The statistics do not reflect the positive developments within SME recruitment and small firms which often have far less competition for positions and graduates are far more likely to succeed with speculative applications.  Although they may not provide a marquee name for your CV, often these roles provide far greater responsibility and better prospects for young jobseekers.

Students are often drawn to the ‘big boys’ on the milkround, who advertise heavily with university careers services and can offer eye-catching starting salaries. For many graduates, however, starting with a smaller company is often a more rewarding move. Better work-life balance, improved job satisfaction and swift progression up the career ladder are the sorts of benefits many employees find working within small business can bring.

So don’t let negative media dishearten you and stay positive about your job hunt. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you look in the right places, graduate schemes do not start and end with the big multi-nationals. Focusing on smaller companies and completing a graduate internship could be the key to unlocking your career.