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The Secret to Getting Hired as a Graduate

  • By Charlotte Cross, IT Recruitment Partner at InfoSec People - and once graduate!

The Secret to Getting Hired as Graduate

As a recruitment partner at InfoSec People, I specialise in IT recruitment, matching great candidates with great opportunities. Graduating from University in June 2017 with a Business Management degree, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do thereafter. It’s quite funny how I ended up working at InfoSec People actually; when I initially got the call from Chris to invite me into the office, I thought he was going to be speaking to me about potential opportunities that he had – not with the view to be part of his team! Never did I think that a year and half later I would be loving a job in IT recruitment!

What’s so great about my job is getting to speak with passionate people who just really want to be working on some great projects and making a difference in their career. It’s an absolute bonus when I do find someone a job that they never thought they could get; and then receive a call a few months later to tell me what a great decision it was and how much they love their new job!

It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. Some of my most difficult conversations have been with those who are in the same position I was in last year – graduates – desperately seeking their first rung on the ladder.

Getting hired as a graduate

What I’ve Learnt

Recruiters can really put the pressure on … I don’t know about you, but when I have a big decision to make, comments and additional pressures really don’t help. For many recruiters, getting a deal on the board is the number one priority, where as it should be to provide as much information and support needed for you to make an informed decision. If a recruiter tells you that you must give a response to an offer within 1 hour of receiving it – THAT IS A LIE! It’s terrible the amount of people I have spoken to who have had awful experiences with recruitment agencies because they’re being forced into interviews and jobs that really don’t interest them.

Take your time. Ask questions. Speak to the company directly if you need to.

Make sure that you have all the information you need and if you don’t feel like the recruiter representing you is being professional, you are within your right to speak with the company directly. Don’t think that you need to take the first offer that you’ve been given simply because you could miss out on some fantastic opportunities.

I don’t know what I want for breakfast, let alone what I want to do for the rest of my life… A lot of graduates seem to think that they must stay in the same job or industry that they start in for the rest of their lives. I don’t know where this assumption comes from and it certainly isn’t the case. Our first job can definitely steer our career in a certain direction, but only in a positive way! Experience is the best way to learn, and different jobs will allow you to work out what you do and what you don’t want to do with your career.

Top tips for getting hired

There seems to be a hesitation to hire graduates…

“Oh, I don’t know if we have the capacity to train someone at that level.”

“Let us know if they would be interested in a role with us in a couple of years’ time.”

“They’ve got a great portfolio of work and are clearly very clever, but just too junior for us at this time.”

All are comments I have heard or received, and while there is usually good justification behind most of these, there’s always the frustration of a company losing the opportunity to bring on board some great talent and let them grow within the team. There is also a stronger likelihood of loyalty when a company takes a ‘risk’ on someone and gives them a chance to flourish.

If people don’t hire graduates now, where are the experienced engineers going to be in a few years’ time?

  • 3 Top Tips to Get in to IT Roles

1. Don’t be too picky

If only I had a pound for every person I had spoken to who was waiting for their “dream job” to come around…I would definitely be able to go on another holiday before Christmas!

Of course, being happy in your job and enjoying what you do is such an important factor, but is sitting around not doing anything for a year really worth it? Working on personal projects in your spare time is great, but there really is nothing better than hands on work experience.

I speak to so many graduates that are on the hunt to be a CTO of a really funky gaming company and think this is going to happen in a heartbeat. Sometimes this could happen (in Hollywood movies), but it’s important to be realistic in what’s out there with your level of experience and for the location/technology/salary that you are looking for.

Getting your foot in the door with a company that will allow you develop your skills, in the area that you have just spent years studying within, is an amazing start. If you enjoy programming in C++, look at opportunities that will allow you to focus on developing this skill and don’t worry too much about what it is you’re developing.

2. Don’t let a ‘no’ get you down

I am a very strong believer in that everything happens for a reason, so if you don’t get an offer from that great company that you fell in love with, keep your head high. Keep persevering because it won’t be long until the next job opportunity comes around that makes you forget about that job that you thought was the best thing since sliced bread.

Take every interview as experience and personal development for yourself. Companies are very good at knowing if in a few months you’ll be bored of the projects and can tell from the way that you answer questions what area of work could be best suited to your skillset. Take all feedback on board and use it to prepare for other interviews and working out where your skills fit even better.

3. Go the extra mile

Showing potential employers that you’ve been doing activities beyond your university course shows you’re willing to learn more, which is really key in the IT industry. The industry is forever changing and so keeping up to date with changes and emerging technology is always a good thing. Whether you get yourself a part-time job, volunteer or do extra projects through university, all will have a huge impact on your employability and that goes beyond gaining work within IT.

Most universities offer some sort of work experience/placement within their course, whether that’s for a full year or couple of months. Use this wisely! Not only is this an opportunity to gain experience in an area that interests you, it gives you an insight into possible career options - you may realise that you don’t enjoy something you’d always wanted to get in to! Work with career advisors who will have lots of contacts to help you find something that is relevant to your course and that interest you, use it as a bit of a ‘try before you buy’ option!

And keep on the look-out for local meet-up groups in your area (www.meetup.com is a great place to start). Many of these groups have young professional networks and they are a great place to meet new people who may be able to connect you with their contacts and network, opening new doors for you along your job search.

Good luck!

Getting hired as a graduate

  • Charlotte has helped many graduates find their perfect role - why don’t you get in touch with her and see how she can help you? Most of all, she understands your needs and works hard to match you with a fantastic role and company for your skills and experience: charlotte@infosecpeople.co.uk or call 01242 507105.