Friday, April 27, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup.Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.

We’ll kick things off by looking at the sectors. This week there has been a real mix, we’ve got news about everything from law to engineering. However, the sector that is leading the way is the built environment where there have been interesting developments in both the construction and property sectors

  • We’ve got some top tips for property job hunters. There may not be many positions available at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there. If you’re currently looking, we have some interesting tips for you.
There is plenty going on in the other sectors too. Law, insurance, engineering and consulting job hunters all have something to talk about this week:
It has also been an interesting week for developments in the wider world of graduate jobs.
  • In the wake of this month’s Undergraduate of the Year awards, we asked what it would take to win next year. Pre-entry for the 2013 awards is now open, so take a look at the advice and then get applying.
  • We also ran the TARGETjobs Breakfast News event yesterday, our regular networking event with employers. This time we discussed whether apprenticeships were better than degrees. Special guest was Phillip Taylor, star of BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’. Join the debate on our Facebook page.
  • A breadth of experience can be a massive boost to your chances, and TARGETjobs is proud to announce that it is teaming up with Step. We are working with this leading work experience provider to ensure you have access to the best range of vacancies and advice possible.
  • In the final instalment of our series on the top 10 skills and competencies you need to get a graduate job we looked at enterprise skills. These skills are in demand in industries ranging from law to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
  • And once again, we have our round up of the graduate job vacancies closing next week. If you are looking for graduate jobs right now then there is no time like the present to get applications sorted. Check out the latest jobs here.
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!
TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seize opportunities and other useful tips from Nick

Great advice from Nick Talbot an ex-TARGETjobs work experience member of the marketing team (we miss him!!) 

Hi. My name’s Nick. As a recent graduate who is currently employed, with a grad scheme position lined up for September 2012, I’ve been asked to chip in with some advice for all you student job hunters. In this entry I hope to pass on a few general points, which will help you to structure your first year after completing university, with the aim of breaking into the job market.

First things first. Congratulations to everyone who has graduation to look forward to this year, or even over the next few years. The celebrations will be wild, and sharing in your friends’ successes as well as your own creates a sense of collective achievement. Nothing makes you value your hard work and the good times along the way more than the realisation that your time at university is coming to an end.

That said, many people around you and in the media would have you believe that there’s not much to look forward to on the other side. If you took it to heart you might think that the world was coming to a stand still. Well, don’t panic. There is a world outside university and a job market that still values graduates a great deal. It might be a cliché, but we really are all the world’s future leaders- a fact that isn’t lost on most companies.

So how do you go about getting what is probably your first “proper” job? Well first of all it helps to know what you want that job to look like. That is to say, create a clear job-related goal or an outline of the job you are aiming for. For some of you this may mean setting yourself the target of getting 3 or more internships/temp jobs over the next 12 months in a variety of industries, to help you decide what roles suit you. For others it might mean trying to get a grad scheme offer from one of the Big 4 accountancy firms for next September in their audit department.

Now those goals might seem a bit advanced right now, but the more ambitious and specific your targets, the more you start to actively think and research what you want to do. Which brings us to my next tip. Make use of your free time. This doesn’t necessarily mean spend every waking minute job hunting though. Chances are after university you’ll have a fair amount of free time if you’re still seeking work, or just doing part time odds and ends to earn some cash. At the time you might not know what to do to keep yourself entertained on a low budget and boredom could set in. But that free time is like gold dust. Whether you take up a hobby, catch up with friends, or research different jobs it’ll be time well spent. Staying busy and being productive are crucial to remaining upbeat during a job hunt.

Seeking and sharing help and advice from a range of sources, is my third pointer. Perhaps the word “networking” needs a bit of rebranding. It comes across to me as a bit egotistical and one-sided. Chances are if you genuinely take an interest in talking to people about their experiences and spread the word that you’re interested in learning more about jobs, people will mention opportunities or provide useful advice. Your parents have probably been there and done that when it comes to building a career, so they’re a good place to start. The internet too, is full of detailed personal and factual accounts of different industries and roles. Friends can be a good source of information as regards the here and now. My university career service was limited in what it offered but the service and leads were of a very good quality. If you spread your job hunt into more social or adventurous activities you’ll probably enjoy it more and open up new opportunities.

Seizing opportunities is tip number four. For example when I heard that someone at my friends workplace had left, I knew that they would need someone. Who better to hire at short notice than a job-seeking graduate who is available immediately and friends with one of their current employees? (I got the job). Likewise if you do get an interview put the extra effort in to research the company and try to emphasise how you have the skills they’re looking for.

Finally I want to put forward my interpretation of job hunts. My chosen phrase is: “it’s (almost) a numbers game”. Yes, getting your CV out there is essential. Yes, the sooner you can get over being rejected (or even not hearing anything at all!) the better. But how I intend to use that phrase is to suggest that every company with a vacancy or potential position looks for a good fit. Realising that you wouldn’t really be happy with just any job will hopefully help you empathise with the employer. That means by researching jobs you want, putting yourself out there and being positive about every opportunity that comes, you will come closer to achieving your goal.

For more helpful tips and advice on how to get yourself ready for the graduate job hunt why not visit our career pages 

Friday, April 20, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup. It has been a busy week here at TJ HQ. While you’ve been putting your feet up and catching up with home friends, we’ve been slogging away to bring you all the news you need for your graduate job hunt.

This week it has been law that is making the biggest impact on the headlines. There have been some interesting developments at one of the City’s major firms. On top of that, next week is the deadline for most pupillage applications.

But law wasn’t the only sector experiencing interesting goings-on. There were also significant developments in financial services and the built environment.
While there isn’t much going on in the sectors, there is still plenty of interesting news and advice for you this month.
The Undergraduates of the Year (front row) and award sponsors (back row)
To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Give yourself an ultimatum

Read Michael McKenna's graduate job hunting journey and his ultimatum

I initially undertook my graduate job search much in the way I take life, as laid back as possible. January 2011 when it should have been in full swing, I was preoccupied with motivating myself to complete my dissertation, and felt I didn't have the time to be filling in application forms and sending out CV's.

As a result I found a way of shaving of the pressure of parents to get it underway, by applying for a postgraduate study.  This was because I knew a response from the Admission offices would not come for a number of months, holding off the parents.

Obviously one reason for these applications, was trying to hold on to my relatively carefree student days, I now realise that in the current economic conditions this was a mistake.

Graduation came and went. 2.1 secured, left Dundee and moved home, penniless and facing what has become the biggest challenge I have faced.

The search began in earnest in late June of last year, and has continued for nine months with barely a nibble on my bait in the job pond, I am still extremely unemployed. It now seems it is only going to get harder as the Government cuts continue to bite and a new group of final students prepare for graduation.

One thing I have always maintained is that there is no point letting the job search get me down, it is an experience many others are having, and losing any motivation to continue is not going to help at all. Part time work keeps a few pounds coming in and allows me the time to fill in applications, so it could be worse.

However even bearing that in mind, it can't go on forever, so I have given myself three months, no job and everything will be geared towards emigration. Although that will bring an adventure in itself, it is quite depressing that the only opportunity available to this generation, may be one that previous generations undertook and always hoped their descendants wouldn't have too.

Find Michael on Twitter @MichaelMcKenna8

If you are worried you may have left your job hunt too late, don't worry here is some practical advice on how to get started. Or find out what the top 10 skills graduate recruiters are looking for. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

Hello and welcome to the TARGETjobs news roundup, where everything from the world of graduate recruitment is served in one manageable portion.
This week’s portion is particularly small, as graduate recruiters took the long weekend as a good excuse for a holiday and most of TARGETjobs staff is out at the Undergraduate of the Year awards ceremony announcing this year’s winners. (Very exciting!) Find out who won on here next week or find out as it happens today on our Undergraduate of the Year Facebook and Twitter pages.
Nonetheless, the news is still pretty tasty. This week it is dominated by the construction sector, which has had a bit of good news:

But it hasn’t all been about construction this week. There have been a number of other interesting developments as well.
  • We also gave you the lowdown on the next skill in series on the top 10 skills and competencies you need. This week we looked at emotional intelligence; a vital prerequisite for many.
  • We also discovered which graduate recruiters use which psychometrics tests? This is a great way to find out what to expect at different stages of your application process.
  • And finally, we gave you our weekly roundup of next week’s deadlines – useful if you’re the kind of person who ‘works well under pressure’. The particularly busy sector is IT, with lots of deadlines coming up this week, you’d better get typing! Check out the latest graduate jobs here. 
Like always see you next week and hope you all have a lovely weekend! :)

To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!

TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Thursday, April 12, 2012

From student to student marketing. The rises and falls of a graduate job hunt

This weeks posts comes from our very own, Louisa Smith, Marketing Assistant telling you all about her transition from being a student to her first full-time graduate job. 

For my first entry, I want to go right back to the beginning and tell you about my journey from university to working life. As a student, it’s incredibly easy to assume that you will finish your degree, graduate in the summer, enjoy a few months of lazing about in luxurious sunshine, and then settle down on a graduate scheme in September, earning your own money, renting a swish new pad with your friends, and essentially, living the dream. Of course this happens for a lot of people, but for those it doesn't happen to – I want to reassure you that there are many other ways to find your feet in the world of work!

A year ago, I was happily living in the bubble world of Warwick University. I loved everything about Warwick. I knew the end was nigh, and whilst I was sad to leave university, I was also excited to start my career. I therefore spent the majority of terms one and two filling out application forms for graduate schemes. My Facebook news feed was constantly plastered with celebratory statuses from those who had secured their graduate scheme and new life for the next year. As I wrote about all the extra curricular activities I was involved in, all the work experience I had done, all the ways I had expanded my knowledge and developed my personality at university, I made the assumption that I would be offered a place on at least one of them, surely?

Sadly not. I was rejected from every single graduate scheme I applied to, and was dragged away from Warwick an emotional wreck, with about 50p in my bank account and no plans for the rest of my life. After a few (long) days of arguing with my parents about washing up or radio volume or sharing of the car, I decided that regression was not the way forward, and that the only way I would be happy is if I had a reason to get up and get out of the house everyday! I therefore began the search for an entry level graduate job.

And that’s where TARGETjobs came along! The role required someone to work for 3 months, travelling the UK, representing TARGETjobs at Freshers and Careers Fairs. I would be in different places everyday, meeting new people, having new experiences, and all the time developing my skills for future employment. For the first time, I felt excited about a job. I completed an application form, had a telephone interview, and was then invited to the head office for a face-to-face interview. As expected, I was asked about my previous experience, my skills, and what I believed I could bring to the role. My answers came naturally for the first time, I felt like I had found a job which matched my skills, and which I believed I could really succeed in. When I was offered the job, I accepted immediately! The three months flew by, and I had a fantastic time working at all the fairs. My success in the role then led me to a full-time position in the TARGETjobs Marketing Department, where I began work in January. I’m now expanding my skills and knowledge everyday, and am (hopefully!) well on the way to a future career in marketing. All this stemmed from one application back in July, for a temporary role!

This experience has therefore taught me that there is more than one way to enter the world of work. There are hundreds of jobs out there, but what’s important is that you search out the right role for YOU. My CV was bursting with extra-curricular activities which I’d undertaken at university, and it was this energetic and lively lifestyle which got me my role in marketing, because they demonstrated that I had the necessary skills for the job. My advice is therefore to get as much work experience as you can, in the area that you would like to work in. If you get rejected from a graduate scheme or entry job, keep going! There is something out there for everyone, and once you find your dream job, I promise you that all your experience and efforts will definitely pay off!

So have a think about what you’d like to do, then get out there and go for it!



P.S. Next time I’ll be writing all about my role in marketing, and what you can expect as a graduate in a marketing job. Until then, happy job-hunting!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

TARGETjobs news roundup

This week's news roundup is coming to you a day earlier as we are off on holiday for our long Easter weekend! It has been a short week this week, but busy nonetheless. There have been interesting developments in a number of sectors and plenty of advice for you all.

Leading the way this week are the financial sectors. They have been all over the graduate recruitment news, with two stories advising you how to get jobs, and a third asking for your help:

However, finance wasn’t the only sector in the news this week. There was plenty more from law, construction, consulting, property and charity:
But that’s not everything that’s going on, there is plenty more for the career-hungry graduates out there:
  • A fortnight ago our resident recruiting editor Abi told you about some of the things that put her off graduate applications. Well this week she’s back with some advice on how to sidestep common covering letter blunders.
  • This was also the week that we ran the TARGETjobs Easter egg hunt. All of the eggs on TARGETjobs and TARGETcourses have now been found, but keep an eye on our Facebook page for more competitions.
  • We also gave you the next instalment in our series on the skills and competencies you need to get a graduate job. This week it was creativity under the microscope.
  • It has also been awards season here at TARGETjobs HQ. Wednesday 4 was the National Graduate Recruitment Awards. There were a number of winners, including KPMG LLP as the graduate employer of the year and the public sector as the most popular destination.
  • And finally, it is once again time to run down the list of next week’s graduate deadlines. There are plenty of interesting vacancies in there, particularly if you’re interested in property or science. Check out the latest jobs here.
Happy Easter and see you all again next Friday at our usual time. 

To get graduate careers news as it happens, check out the TARGETjobs news feed. Alternatively, check out the roundup this time next week!
 TARGETjobs offers the largest choice of graduate jobsinternships and placements. Independent reviews on top graduate employers and career planning tools and expert guidance. Become a TARGETjobs blogger by getting in touch with

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Graduate job hunting: To sell out, or not to sell out?

Read what Holly McCluskey our very own trainee editor has to say about not selling out when graduate job hunting. 

My best advice for job hunters might be easier said than done, but it’s also the best way to remain sane during the slog to success: don’t sell out.

Two months into my job search, I began to panic. I wanted more than anything to work in media or publishing, and was seriously struggling to find anything at all appealing. All I could find were unpaid internships, based hundreds of miles away in London, at the kind of magazines that might appear as guest publications on Have I Got News For You.

I took an approach that would usually be considered a positive one: I started widening my search to other sorts of jobs. Now, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone else from doing this, because people often find jobs that are perfect for them in areas not previously considered. My problem was that I stopped thinking about what I was interested in and began to apply for everything that I thought I could probably do.

I found one job, in particular, that I met the criteria for. It was vaguely related to writing and media, and so given my comically low bank balance and dwindling self-esteem, I poured my energy into writing a cover letter that was overloaded with enthusiasm and sent it off along with my CV.

Exactly 19 minutes later, the hiring manager called to ask whether I could attend an interview that week. I said yes. Brilliant! I had obviously impressed him so much that he felt the need to snap me up! I had successfully tricked him, and myself, into thinking that this job was The One!

I showed up to the interview feeling nervous but positive. I had spent time researching the company and the job, I’d thought of all my answers to all of the questions I might be asked, and now all I had to was remember everything.  

But the first question was the only one I hadn’t prepared for: “Why do you want this job? Why would you want to leave media behind?” 

My heart sank. He was right: why did I want abandon everything I had been working towards? This job was by no means a bad one: it paid well, it was in London, and there would be a lot of perks. But I had always been interested in writing from a neutral perspective and in this case I would be writing solely to toe a particular line. I knew that I wouldn’t like it.

I spent the next two hours (yes, two hours) telling the interviewer how much I was interested in this job and how great I would be at doing it. He told me that he was impressed and would arrange a second interview. We parted, and as soon as I had made it to the safety of my car I burst into tears.

Dramatic, I know. But I felt ashamed of myself for giving up so easily, and embarrassed that I had come to the point where I was apparently willing to do something I would hate. After a bottle of wine and several days of thinking it over, I turned down my second interview and I’m yet to regret it.

I didn’t find another job straight away, but I did find a fresh focus. I even had some of my pride restored; it was good to know that I wasn’t the type to give up (and at least it had been me to turn someone down).

Now, I have a new job that is much more suited to me and I am happier than ever that I didn’t go to that second interview. I’m sure that whoever got that job will be equally satisfied, but it just wasn’t right for me, and that’s what everyone needs to think about when that paralysing sense of desperation begins to creep in.

Times are tough, but abandoning your goals will only make them tougher. 

Thanks for the post Holly! If you want to get in touch find Holly on Twitter @hollykmc 

If you are yet to find your focus why not visit our Degree Matcher page as a first step to finding out which careers best match your future qualification. If however you already know what career path to follow why not see how to fine tune your hunt further by looking at our specific career sector pages.