How to find a job

Top tips for applying to a graduate program

So, you want to work at one of the UK’s top companies? In that case you’ll need to apply for a graduate program, a full time job that gives you experience of all areas of a company. These are typically two-year positions and are paid, on average, about £30,000 per annum. Competition is fierce – particularly for positions in London – so you’ll need to put your best foot forward. Ayesha Goyal, the founder of LeapBeyond, a one stop employability hub for international students in the UK, shares her top tips for landing a place on a program.

1. Apply early
The importance of this cannot be overstressed. Applying early is the single most important thing you can do to maximise your chances of securing a place on a graduate program. Most students are not aware of the timelines involved in graduate job applications. Vacancies open up more than a year in advance. So, for the 2018 graduate intake vacancies are opening up between July 2017 and September 2017. Get your application in within the first two weeks to have a strong chance of being considered.
2. Apply for first year and second year internships.
If you are aiming to secure a graduate job, the best approach is to apply for an internship with the company of your choice in your first or second year. Here at LeapBeyond we work hard to secure these positions for the students enrolled with us. Why? When the internship ends about 85 per cent of the interns are made the offer of a full time graduate job. That means they can go back to university for their final year with a offer in the bag – there’s no better position to be in!
3. Don’t let your degree limit your options.

I come across a lot of students who think they can only apply for jobs that are directly related to their degree. This is a big misconception. Most businesses welcome students with a diverse range of degrees and focus on a candidate’s personality and soft skills during the interviews. It’s not all about technical knowledge.

4. International students should apply to tier 2 sponsors

A lot of international students waste their time applying to UK companies that are not licensed to sponsor their tier 2 visas. Do not make this mistake. Make sure you verify that the company sponsors international students by going to the FAQ section of its career website, emailing them directly or checking the sponsor 2 register which is publicly available.

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare

This is the last, but probably most important tip. Prepare and prepare some more. Many students are not aware of the six month rule. For most top companies, those who fail at any stage of the application process are not allowed to re-apply for a graduate program for at least six months.

Turn an internship into a job

Internships are becoming increasingly necessary if you want to show a future employer your skills, qualities and ability to work in the real world. And there are two objectives you should have when entering an internship. The first one should be to try and bag a job and secondly, if that cannot happen for whatever reason, to walk away with a killer reference.

Whether you are in your first year of studying or have graduated you need to include internships into your career development plans. For this you need to understand what it will take for you to prove yourself to a future employer.

Do your research

If you want to secure a job via the internship route do your research and find out which employers, in your chosen sector, are known for hiring interns and how many they hire in any given year.

Inevitably, these kinds of internships are very popular and most applications must be submitted several months earlier, so start your research early. Find out as much as you can via their website or by calling the human resources department.

Choose the company well

Be selective about which companies you apply for.  Apply to companies that you respect and admire. Ones that have a good internship programme and companies where you know you’ll get great opportunities at. You will be more motivated and naturally perform at your best.  Also bear in mind this doesn’t mean just applying for internships at large, well-known companies. Look at smaller companies and even start-ups!

Know your stuff

Treat your interview just like a job interview and tell them what you are capable of, what you know and the value you can add to their business. Yes, you are there to learn from professionals and industry experts but you can contribute by sharing your knowledge and opinions. This will single you out as someone who knows their stuff.

Know your stuff
Internships can be hard – not least because there maybe days when you don’t do very much to do or the work is a bit boring – but be consistent in your commitment and enthusiasm.

Never turn up late, don’t take days off, unless you really must, and offer to help wherever you can – even if that means going out for the coffees or doing the photocopying.

Shadow someone

The best way to learn a new skill is to see someone else do it. This will help you learn new skills faster, which every employer loves.

Network, Network, Network

People choose to work with people they like, so get networking with people throughout the organisation. Join in with as many clubs, societies or initiatives as you can to get yourself noticed and make the effort to join colleagues going for drinks after work at the end of the week.

Avoid office politics and gossip
Unfortunately, every working environment has its office politics and as an intern you should avoid getting involved or partaking in gossip at all cost.  By commenting on a situation or a person you could seriously jeopardise your chances of getting hired.
Make your wishes known
Heard of the saying “if you don’t ask you don’t get” well it couldn’t be more relevant.  Ask how realistic it is to secure a job after the internship at the interview stage and keep subtly mentioning it.  A few weeks before the end of your internship ask for a review and ask if you are still on track.

Six easy steps to a great graduate CV

The scary truth is that most employers make up their mind about you after a 20 second scan of your CV. You need to ensure that your CV is up-to-scratch and showcases the skills and experience the company needs. Here are six vital steps to preparing the perfect CV courtesy of the London Graduate Fair organised by CoSector, University of London.

Step one
Identify the skills and experience that the employer is looking for. They are the criteria against which your CV will be assessed, and should be listed on the job description.
Step two
Step three
Step four
Step five
Step six