Madeleine is responsible for the FDM Academy events and recruitment teams. As well as overseeing recruitment operations for FDM Academy’s graduate programme worldwide, Madeleine also organises all corporate Academy presentations, workshops, seminars and graduate fairs.
The recent release of the High Fliers’ report into ‘The Graduate Market in 2012’ has once again highlighted the importance of work experience for graduates in getting a job. According to the report, over half of recruiters believe that graduates with no prior work experience are “unlikely to be successful during the selection process”.
The report also indicates that many employers are filling their graduate positions with individuals who have previously had work experience with the company.
As the Recruitment Manager for FDM Group, the UK’s largest IT graduate employer, I have spoken with many students who are concerned about their ability to get a fulfilling job post-university. With the current uncertain economic climate, prospective and new graduates are anxious to set themselves apart from the rest of applicants.
As the High Fliers report indicates, previous work experience is an excellent way to prove your ability to apply your skills in a business environment, which can be beneficial when applying for jobs. However, I personally don’t believe that graduates who lack relevant work experience should despair, as there is always more than one route to the end result.
Consider all of your previous work experience and ensure your CV highlights how the skills you utilised in these roles are transferable to the job you’re applying for. Never underestimate the value of customer service skills when working with a diverse team of colleagues.
Focus on your overall employability. An individual’s employability refers to more than just their technical skills which are relevant to the role. Increasingly employers are looking for well-rounded individuals who have basic commercial awareness and ‘soft’ skills. At FDM we provide our graduates with professional skills training, which includes communication skills, presentation skills, mock interviews and professionalism in the workplace.
Look for alternative ways to get your foot in the door of your industry. FDM is an award-winning international IT services provider that offers a solution to the catch-22 hurdle of qualifications without experience that many university leavers face. Our unique graduate programme involves a fast track 12-16 week training programme, which provides graduates with practical qualifications, followed by a minimum of two years working as an IT Consultant for one of our 200+ prestigious clients.
Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the unemployment level for 16-24 year olds in the UK is at its highest level since records began in 1992. With this in mind, I would advise graduates to look beyond their work experience and contemplate their overall ‘employability’ package. Grab any opportunities to get relevant industry experience, but don’t underestimate the skills you already have. Perseverance and passion are important traits to keep you going throughout your job hunt.
Finally, remember that employers are looking for a person, not a piece of paper, so make sure you demonstrate your personality as well as your professionalism.
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