As a graduate recruiter I can tell you that I’m seeing more graduates than ever before and that the job market has never been more competitive. That means you need to get yourself noticed, so I’m going to tell you about one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd.
Turning up to all your lectures and getting your coursework in on time isn’t enough, not any more. Graduate recruiters want to hear about the real you – the skills you’ve developed, your life experience and whether any of that is likely to be relevant – or even vital – to the role they need to fill.
Not sure you’re able to meet any of those requirements? Then let me introduce you to skill sessions. These are get-togethers, often run by employers, which are designed to help you develop useful skills – everything from your interview technique to working as a team to developing your leadership skills. You’ll find plenty of these sessions advertised on campus and they provide a safe, convenient and free environment for you to acquire the kind of know-how that prospective employers are looking for.
They can be interactive and fun and will also give you a chance to meet fellow students doing different courses. Most important, skill sessions fill in the blanks that your degree doesn’t cover and are essential if you want to showcase everything you’ve achieved when the time comes to applying for jobs.
Skill sessions can help you to draw upon your education, work experience, sports and society membership activity and pull together your skills while boosting your confidence at the same time.
There’s another benefit as well. Employers want the opportunity to meet personally with you. At the same time as you’re competing to get the best degree you can, we’re competing to find the best students we can, and by attending an employer-led skill session with me, you’re giving me a chance to get to know you – and maybe decide whether I think you should come and work for us. And because attendance is voluntary, you’ve already gone the extra mile in my eyes – what a great first impression!
For you, skill sessions are a win-win. You get to find out what employers are looking for and solidify your own skill set so you’re ready to shine when it comes to the interview stage; and you get to check out future employers.
So my advice would be to ask your careers department what skills sessions are being run at your university and see which ones you genuinely want to attend. Do your homework on whoever is running the sessions as well, because demonstrating a little knowledge during the session itself is a great way to make an impression.
If it turns out that particular company isn’t a good fit, you’ll still have gained valuable experience that you can use elsewhere, maybe even with us here at Enterprise – we’re always interested to hear from bright graduates who can demonstrate they’ve gone that extra mile. Why not have a look at our graduate jobs and placement opportunities?