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Useful Career Advice for Graduates

Useful Career Advice for Graduates

Posted on 08/07/24

So you’ve either finished or are coming to the end of your undergraduate study. Now is the time to complete your journey from academia to a professional role. But how do you transition from the lecture hall to the professional world? And what planning and preparation is required?

Here, we offer some useful career advice to help you navigate this critical phase with confidence and success.

 

CV Advice: Targeting your CV

 

Your CV is often the first impression you make to potential employers. It’s essential to ensure it effectively showcases your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Here are some key tips:

Tailor Your CV: Customise your CV for each job application. Highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to the job description using the same keywords where possible.

Keep It Concise: No more than two pages and try not to pack too much content. Keeping some ‘white space’ on the document will make it easier to read.

Use Action Verbs: Start bullet points with strong action verbs like “developed,” “managed,” or “implemented”.

Use metrics: Whenever possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements. For example, “Increased sales by 20%” is more impactful than “Increased sales”.

 

Advice for Cover Letters: Expand your CV

 

A cover letter complements your CV by providing context to your application. It’s an extra opportunity to ‘sell’ yourself to the employer.

Personalise It: Address the hiring manager by name if possible. Draw connection between your experience and the job you are applying for. Personalisation shows attention to detail.

Tell a Story: Use your cover letter to tell a compelling story about your career journey and why you’re interested in the position. Don’t forget to add how you feel you’ll fit in with the organisation’s values and ethos, and how you would add value.

Be Concise: Keep your cover letter to one page. Every sentence should add value.

 

Job Interview Preparation: Prepare for Success

 

Preparation is the key to a successful job interview. It shows your seriousness and readiness for the role.

Research the Company: Understand the company’s mission, values, and recent developments. This knowledge will help you tailor your responses.

Understand the Role: Familiarise yourself with the job description and be prepared to discuss how your skills and experiences align with the role.

Practice Common Questions: Prepare and practice responses to common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why should we hire you?” and also be prepared for ‘Situational’ type questions such as “Tell us about a time you had to…….”

Prepare Questions: Have a list of thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer. This shows your interest in the role and the company.

 

Applying for a role in the Public Sector or the NHS? Here are some further tips!

 

Interview Tips for NHS Jobs: Frameworks

 

If you’re applying for a job with the NHS or any other public sector employer, there are specific concerns to keep in mind. One of these is the use of ‘Frameworks’ e.g. sets of Behaviours and/or Values the employers expects from its workforce. These guide their application process.

Understand NHS Values: Familiarise yourself with the NHS values and be prepared to discuss how you embody these values in your work.

Know the Role: Be clear about the specific requirements and responsibilities of the NHS role you are applying for.

Prepare for Competency Questions: NHS interviews often include competency-based questions. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses.

Transitioning from a graduate to a professional is a significant step, but with the right preparation and mind set, you can navigate this journey successfully. By utilising these career tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make a strong impression and start your career on the right foot.

 

Don’t forget: DGHE offers free career counselling to all our students and alumni!

 

Contact Roger Martin at r.martin@dghe.ac.uk to benefit from our free careers advice service.

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