Nicky Ivory-Chapman is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD with 12 years HR experience covering; employee relations, resourcing, talent management, employee engagement, employer brand, ATS implementation and Learning and Development. In her current role as Global Recruitment Director she has responsibility for leading and implementing recruitment and recruitment systems globally at Regus, across 106 countries. In 2013 she was appointed to the board of directors for the ‘Association of Graduate Recruiters’ and earlier this year spoke at IBM’s Smarter Workforce Conference about her work at Regus.
Ok, let’s start with the great news – according to research recently published by HECSU (Higher Education Careers Services Unit) – “this year more graduates found work than ever before, more of that work was professional level and unemployment rates were down to pre-recession level – 71.2% of 2013/14 graduates were in employment and 9.8% of this group have entered business, HR or Finance roles”
Other good news – four professions (including HR, Recruitment and Business Project Managers) saw an increase of graduate entrants last year and employment rates of graduates across all business-related subjects are above average with salaries ranging between £16,500 – £28,000.
Source: HECSU ‘What do Graduate do?’ Report 2015
So the future is looking more positive than it has done in a while, but in order to be part of these encouraging statistics and make your entrance in to the corporate world, it’s important to start thinking about how you can give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
It’s never too early to start networking and building your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is growing by 2 new members per second – and is well on the way to achieve their mission ‘to connect the world’s professionals’. It’s not just a place to view jobs, but to join groups, research companies, share content and build up your network. You’ll build up your profile throughout your career, so don’t feel that you have to have a comprehensive fully-formed profile in order to get started.
Whilst there is no one ‘standard’ corporate environment, many employers are looking for similar skills. In addition to any specialist skills required, most organisations need people who are self-motivated with good numeracy, literacy and communication skills, who have the ability to work under pressure, are open to change, can work as part of a team and have a commercial awareness.
Think about how you can gain experiences that will enable you to demonstrate these skills on your CV, application form, LinkedIn profile and throughout an interview/assessment process. Extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs, internships, work experience, Industrial Placements and hobbies can all provide a way to illustrate the key employability skills required – it is often these areas that are the differentiator between candidates now.
Undertaking such activities can also help you decide where your preferences for a careers lie – even if you are looking at an HR career, there are a variety of different roles within HR each requiring different skills. Those with a technical or analytical preference may be well suited to working in HR Systems or Reward, those preferring to be involved with employees directly in a supportive or coaching role may choose Employee Relations or L&D.
When applying for positions expect to complete an application form or submit a CV, typically this would be followed by one or more interviews (these may be in person, via the telephone or increasingly by video – if you’ve been invited to a video interview you’ll have the chance to complete some practise questions and will be given tips on how to correctly use your camera and position yourself). You can also expect to undertake some form of assessments – either online, which may be personality-based, numerical or verbal reasoning, or as part of a group assessment day where you could be assessed on your team-working, presentation or problem solving skills.
Throughout the process, (and once you’ve secured your first job) remember that first impressions count and think about how you’d like others to perceive you. Do your research, don’t apply for every job going with the same application, tailor each one so that it is relevant and suitable for the role in question.
And as we’ve all had that dreaded rejection email, remain positive and don’t get too downhearted if you are unsuccessful in some of your applications – resilience is a much valued trait in the modern world of work.