From education to employment

Five ways students can stand out in this complex job market

Neil Smith, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Scape

Graduate recruitment season is upon us once again, with many graduate scheme submission deadlines due over the next couple of months.  

At a time of year where employers begin to uncover talent for 2022’s intake, students applying for graduate schemes will be facing tough competition for those coveted roles.

With the employment market saturated with students that hold good degrees, the focus for employers at this time will be on what additional employable skills a candidate can offer an employer.

With many businesses reporting a ‘skills gap’ with new emerging talent, it’s even more important that students know how to successfully highlight the qualities and value that they can bring to a prospective graduate role.

While there has undoubtedly been an increase in demand for new talent since the height of the pandemic, competition for the best roles with sought-after employers remains fierce.

Over the next few months, students will need to ensure they take steps to make themselves stand out as they strive to start at their dream job come September.

Digital upskilling

As companies continue to embrace a hybrid approach to work, employers will be keen to hire a team well practiced in the latest technology, platforms, and channels.

Similarly, as we recover from the pandemic, companies are focusing their efforts on how they can expand their ability to operate at pace in this new more digitalised, technologically advanced environment. To do this, they will require new fresh talent, thinking and capabilities in the coming years.

With each new graduate cohort comes new skillsets, developed in line with the demands of modern-day life. The emerging workforce of students are digital natives, with skills and talents born as a result of growing up in a society driven by social media and new technological advances.

Students looking to stand out in the complex job market will want to focus on this unique skillset that they can offer, as well as provide evidence to show how it could benefit their new employer.

1. Showing creativity

Getting noticed is key to success when looking for a job in a competitive job market. By offering insights that could be beneficial to that business and shows out-of-the box thinking, creativity and initiative, candidates are more likely to be remembered during the interview process.

2. Emphasising existing skills

Candidates should seek out webinars or online courses that could expand their already established skills. They can also turn to online courses to help obtain new talents in areas that are likely to see an increase in demand in our post-pandemic future. Additionally, already established knowledge of sectors that firms may be seeking to expand will be an impressive addition to a CV.

Through their degree, students will have developed several transferable skills. For instance, humanities students will have developed vital analytical research skills that are so often mirrored within many different career options from data analytics to journalism. Likewise, language students have a proven ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of new environments and cultures – an invaluable skill for future career paths. Students should do their research to show how the skills they have acquired from their degree can relate to the field of work they are applying for.

3. Entrepreneurial spirit

As student living specialists, Scape is passionate about supporting the budding entrepreneurs of tomorrow and believe that an entrepreneurial skillset can be hugely beneficial to job applications. Outside of academic studies, roles such as leading a university sports club or society may have helped flex the type of entrepreneurial skills that businesses admire, such as self-discipline and leadership. Potential candidates should ensure these experiences are detailed on graduate scheme applications, outlining their relevance to the role too.

4. Make use of guidance

This year’s graduating student cohort should also be made aware that university career services and residential mentors are available to support students of all levels.

These services are available to offer guidance to students that are worried about their job search, as well as outline the latest government support for individuals that may struggle in the current climate upon graduation.  

5. Keeping perspective

Scape believes that to be the best candidate for a graduate role, one must look after and prioritise their mental wellbeing. At Scape, we want to do our bit to ensure that students remain confident and positive in mindset when applying for graduate jobs beyond university.

Equipping students with the know-how and skillset to help them prepare for the world of work

For this reason, Scape launched Conscious Careers, an event series dedicated to equipping students with the know-how and skillset to help them prepare for the world of work and land a graduate job as they complete their university degrees.

Students should take the time and precision to ensure applications are a true reflection of themselves as a candidate and as an individual. Although important, candidates should not allow job searches to become an all-encompassing activity, as this will only amplify any pressure or anxiety.

While applications for the best graduate schemes remain competitive, it is worth noting the world of work is full of new opportunities that did not exist previously. Technology has opened doors to new opportunities for emerging talent and the move to more remote and hybrid working allows for more inclusivity in the workforce.

This year’s graduating cohort should feel confident that the ‘dream job’ is out there and remember that they have a lot to offer a potential employer.

Neil Smith, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Scape

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