Top tips for today’s graduate job seeker

In our organisation, over the last four years we have hired 10 graduates straight out of university including hiring those who have completed a successful placement with us.

As a small growing business, we find that graduates have a lot to offer, and if you can afford the time to invest in them, they offer a lot back to the organisation;

  • Drive, enthusiasm and a great willingness to learn new skills
  • Loyalty
  • Fresh skills and ideas

Today we are attending the Graduate Fair at Southampton University, #sotoncareersfairs, looking to fill some of the graduate roles we have available and we thought it would be a good idea to offer some pearls of wisdom, from our employees, to the current graduate pool.

Preparation and questions to ask

Below are suggestions of what to say and do before attending careers fairs and likewise applying for jobs and going for interviews. Although interview techniques are a whole other blog post!

  • Be honest and do your research when it comes to choosing a job. Ask to spend time shadowing someone in the role or visit the company to get a feel for it.
  • Don’t just look for big companies; look for fast growing companies too.
  • Ask about internal training, and externally accredited training. This is a good indicator on the value an employee holds for its employees.
  • Do research on the companies attending jobs fairs. By showing that you have taken an interest in them, you will give yourself an advantage over the competition.
  • Complete strength finders. Focus on what you are good at and share the results with prospective employers.

Follow up

  • Get on LinkedIn and build your profile. It is the Facebook for business, plus there are some benefits; it will mean you don’t need to get cards printed and you can connect quickly afterwards. Just asking to connect with people on LinkedIn will make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Take contact details for any organisation you are interested in and within 24 hours make sure that you have made contact, even if this is just connecting on LinkedIn and thanking whoever you spoke to for their time.
  • Where appropriate set up a meeting to visit the company and/or email across your CV.


Many companies have taken to having telephone interviews before meeting you in person, so think about how your portray yourself; on paper, over the phone, in person and especially online!

  • If you don’t want future employers to see what you’ve been getting up to at university; when you haven’t been studying, then make sure your privacy settings are updated across your social profiles.
  • Make sure your profile images are appropriate, as often these cannot be set to private.
  • Keep your CV and cover letter short and full of whitespace. If you think a company will get hundreds of CVs. You want to make sure yours is memorable and easy to read.
  • Don’t wear a tie (too formal), but don’t wear jeans either (too scruffy)! This applies to our organisation and industry in general, but may not be the same for corporate roles, in banks for example.

Good to know

  • Don’t listen to your parents too much. It was different then and it will be different in the future; often for their generation it was all about one company, one career. Whereas now mobility and portability are key considerations.
  • Look for balance. Money is important but not everything. Look for an ideal mix of; money, variety and opportunity and training.

And now for one more motivational tip from our Group MD, Adam Sharp,

“Never stop learning, you got the degree, but life is about continuous learning and engagement.” 

June 12th, 2013 by Louise Fielding-Smith

Tags: , , ,

Category: Events, Recruitment

Comments (1)


  1. Josh says:

    There are some great tips here, with the point about appearance being particularly salient.

    We have been recruiting for marketing jobs for almost ten years and over that time have witnessed the advent of Skype or video conference interviewing, and it continues to be more and more popular.

    If you are going to have a Skype interview, then consider your environment – as well as making sure you are well presented, also ensure your background (in terms of both what can be seen and heard!) is professional.

    Do your research, be calm and collected, and make sure you listen to questions and answer them in a concise and clear manner.

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