4 Ways To Optimise Your Career Potential as a Graduate

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From the point of view of a soon-to-be grad working with CEOs & hiring managers:

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given in regards to the job market was to PR myself – to control my brand by controlling what I put out there. One of the most essential ways of doing this is to:

Optimise your CV

If you’re still at university and don’t have a CV, your careers service will likely have an online template. You can utilise the template to build one – once you’ve done this, take your CV in and get it checked.

On the other hand, if you already have a CV and are currently working, ask your manager to help you. If you had a good relationship with your previous boss – ask them too. They know EXACTLY what skills and experience make a CV stand out in that industry. They what to write, and how to frame your experience for future employers.

Another option is to contact recruiters and ask for feedback on your CV. Graduate recruiters are aware of your inexperience. They’ll be able to look at your competencies and their insight will enable you to write a great CV.

Start by writing out your key performance indicators. They will help convey job success.

Key takeaways:

  • Use key performance indicators (KPI’s) to convey job success.
  • Use industry-specific terminology to describe what you did.
  • If you have enough job experience – tailor your CV to each application (include the most relevant jobs only – the shorter the better, they will never read it all)

Consistently reflect on your current job experience!

I’ve had more experience in professional jobs roles than most people my age, yet I still struggle to answer job applications and interview questions.

Why? Because I haven’t recorded the specifics of each experience.

Now that I’ve been on the other end of the interview process, I’ve realised why keeping a record is important. Being specific about what you’ve done in your previous jobs, i.e. – objective facts like KPI’s & specific experiences – gains the potential employer’s trust in a way that waffled accounts will never do.

The way to ensure you can do this – REFLECT on your experiences as they happen – key metrics, times you’ve problem-solved, skills you’ve learnt, and RECORD these for future use.

Rule break when it comes to applying for jobs  

**note – especially for Women**

woman working at an office
Women tend to follow rules set out by jobs too strictly.

It is a well-known fact that women take less risks when applying for jobs. The famous statistic that emerged from a Hewlett Packard internal report – ‘Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them’ has been thrown around and interpreted to mean that women should be more confident when applying for jobs.

According to the Harvard Business Review , the number one reason women don’t apply to jobs is the belief that they won’t be considered if they don’t have all the experience and qualifications in the job criteria. In other words – they follow the rules set out by the job TOO STRICTLY. A much less common barrier when it comes to men applying for jobs.

It’s not just the qualifications and experience that employers look for. It’s the whole package – who you are and everything else that you can bring to the team – your drive, determination, motivation, and resilience. These are the qualities that when framed right within your CV or interview process can help you overcome a previously advertised ‘required skill’

Professional Development.

During lockdown you may be finding it really hard to secure jobs or work experience. So, take time to work on yourself and those soft skills your employer won’t be able to directly teach you.

Remind yourself, why you – and not another person with the same qualifications – would make a better candidate. Spend time thinking about what your personal values are now and what you’ve learnt about yourself. Employers value the ability to reflect on your strengths, your weaknesses, and the ability to grow from those with support.

As individuals who will inevitably be going into junior roles, we will all experience periods of self-doubt. Knowing who you are, and what you’re capable of, will enable you to grow through those periods much easier.


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