We speak to IT graduates on a daily basis and if we identify someone that we think has good skills, and the necessary drive and determination to succeed, we’ll make it our mission to help them find a suitable role. And they in turn will do everything possible to ensure that they secure a good opportunity – such as taking a technical assessment, attending multiple interviews or even relocating. We can usually tell the first time we lift the phone to speak to them whether they will make the grade. Many graduates look good on paper but let themselves down by their attitude to finding work.
Here, then, are the three graduate types that we encounter.
The Type 1 graduate receives a call from us around, say, 11am. Conversation is slow at first, implying that we might well have woken them up. When asked what they have been doing since graduation, they might say ‘not much’, or something along those lines. They have attended no interviews, gained no voluntary or freelance experience, and on the whole it appears that they have been sitting at home and waiting for their dream job to be offered to them, throwing out a sub-standard application to an agency like ourselves once every few months and then (probably) complaining because we didn’t seem that interested in putting them forward for the vacancy.
The Type 2 graduate has misjudged the market completely, and similarly hasn’t worked since graduation. They are motivated to find work, unlike the first kind, but they have very particular requirements for what they are willing to do. At some stage during their education, someone has informed them that graduates can command a very high salary right from the beginning. So they won’t get out of bed for less than £25k. Unfortunately, having no commercial experience whatsoever, they are of very little interest to our clients at this level. Ironically, if they were to get their hands dirty in an appropriate junior role on a lower salary, if they are actually worth what they think they are, they will probably be earning it in less than 12 months. But instead, they sit at home, waiting for their dream job and inflated salary to land in their lap, while their skills become stale and dated.
The Type 3 graduate understands and appreciates the wonderful advantage that they will have from doing a degree, but they won’t be complacent. They will be marketing their CV, sending out strong applications, networking on LinkedIn, gaining experience through voluntary work and/or freelancing, building a portfolio, attending interviews, and getting good advice along the way. They know they’ll be snapped up soon enough. They are flexible on salary because they understand the value of getting commercial experience under their belt with a good employer – the rest will come naturally through hard work and dedication. They also understand that any work experience is good experience – if that means working part time in a non-IT related job while they search for work, then that’s fine too. All the better to get a good reference from your employer that says you are punctual, reliable and hardworking.
The final type is much easier for an agency like us to help, but is in the minority! If you are a graduate looking for work and you recognise yourself as belonging to Type 1 or 2, a simple change of approach and attitude can make all the difference.