Graduates: how to start a successful career

Despite the graduate job market now doing so well, it can still be difficult to find a graduate role. Darion Naylor shares his advice on how graduates can build up their experience and land the job of their dreams.

Darion Naylor is a member of our specialist graduate recruitment team, and has a wealth of experience in advising and preparing graduates in their future careers. Here is his advice for those who are unsure about what options are available to them post-graduation.

Young male professional with a briefcase, stood at the bottom of 3 large grey stepsDespite the graduate job market reaching a 10-year high, some graduates are still having difficulty finding a route into employment after completing their degrees. Competition is high, and employers are favouring those with experience.

I therefore think it is important nowadays for graduates to be open-minded with regards to opportunities that may come about. Many graduates seem to be dismissive of roles if they are not in the industry that they wish to work in – something that I’ve become aware of from not only speaking to potential candidates, but also through speaking to friends. Many of them have come out of university with a first class degree, yet they are still “waiting for the perfect role” and remain unemployed.

This seems to be a problem amongst my generation and people are ignoring the bigger picture. Realistically, not all graduates are going to be able to leave university and find what they perceive to be their perfect role. It is important to keep an open mind and grasp any opportunities that you may come across; you never know where these experiences may take you.

You should therefore try not to limit yourself to one industry. Of course, everyone will have a picture in their head of where they see themselves working. However, when this isn’t possible at first, there may well be some other fantastic opportunities around the corner for those who are willing to keep an open mind.

Clearly there are graduates who desire a career in the financial services, whether it is in banking, investments or accountancy. However the finance industry should not only be appealing to graduates of that ilk.

There are certain skills that can be transferred into any job, and in fact into any walk of life. I once said to my friend who is a law graduate that he should look into PPI claim handling roles. He didn’t seem to be particularly enthusiastic about that idea initially, but then I proceeded to explain how I thought his skills could develop in this role. He had his heart set on becoming a lawyer. He loves the idea of analysing evidence, getting to the bottom of complex issues, and constructing an argument based upon the evidence he has found. Initially you may not think that any of these skills could be developed in a PPI claim handling role, but this is not the case.

What are the skills and benefits you can gain from such a role

  • Communication skills – you will be liaising with customers on a daily basis. This is not only over the phone but also through writing letters. You will also work with other members of your team and liaise with your managers, developing your communication skills at all levels
  • Attention to detail – you will be gathering data from customers and analysing it. From this you will be able to extract any useful evidence for the claim you are dealing with
  • Decision making – it will be your responsibility to manage your own claims and make a final decision on the outcome of these based on your analysis of the data that you have gathered
  • Meeting targets – developing your organisational and time management skills as you will be managing your own case load to ensure you achieve your targets.

These are just a few of the skills that you can develop in a PPI claim handling role. These are the sorts of skills that will be invaluable to you in whatever career you wish to pursue…and there is no substitute for experience. I’m sure you’ll agree that developing communication skills, decision making skills and attention to detail might be beneficial to an aspiring lawyer? Not to mention that many of our opportunities will give you the chance to gain experience in a fast paced environment within some of the biggest financial institutions in the UK. I have no doubt that this will be more beneficial to you than merely waiting for that perfect opportunity.

This is just one example of the kind of opportunities we have available to graduates here at Grovelands. I’m not aware of many roles where fantastic communication skills or having great decision making ability will not aid you. Whether you want to pursue a career in finance, law, sport, science, marketing, fashion or music…we have roles that can help you to develop your skills and ultimately make you more appealing to any employer in any industry.

So if you are at home waiting for that perfect opportunity to come about, why not get in contact with one of our team and see how you can develop yourself through a role with Grovelands.

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