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First Class Honours Graduate Seeking Advice Watch

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    Good Evening contributors,

    I graduated in July 2016 with a First Class Honours in Business Management and Finance from the University of Westminster achieving some of the highest grades in the year.

    I have had internships with a leading Asset Management company and a technology consultancy, had an insight day at Nomura, taught debating for over two years, worked as a mathematics Tutor for a year and worked with a Baroness voluntarily for a charity. However, admittedly I performed badly during college only accumulating 240 UCAS points and six months on post-graduation I am struggling to find employment.

    Any advice would be welcome on how I can improve my chances of employment.

    Thank you and apologies for the long-winded message!
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    (Original post by PeterDennisKings)
    Name change helps sometimes. I changed my name and I was flooded with jobs however my real name is Honey.
    Thank you for being the first to reply, I do appreciate it. However, at this moment in time I do not consider changing my name to be a feasible option. Sorry
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    (Original post by adnan3167)
    Good Evening contributors,

    I graduated in July 2016 with a First Class Honours in Business Management and Finance from the University of Westminster achieving some of the highest grades in the year.

    I have had internships with a leading Asset Management company and a technology consultancy, had an insight day at Nomura, taught debating for over two years, worked as a mathematics Tutor for a year and worked with a Baroness voluntarily for a charity. However, admittedly I performed badly during college only accumulating 240 UCAS points and six months on post-graduation I am struggling to find employment.

    Any advice would be welcome on how I can improve my chances of employment.

    Thank you and apologies for the long-winded message!
    Are you getting to interview or not? if you aren't getting to interview, then it is your CV or application form that is being ineffective. if you are getting to interview for say 3/10 applications, then it's your interview style.

    Get PROPER advice on your CV, that doesn't mean asking friends and family or randomers that have been successful. Go back and ask your University Careers Service, it's in their interests to get you employed, or ask people who are actually employers.

    Start using LinkedIn and researching the sector you want to work in by reading sector relevant websites, magazines etc

    Make sure you are job-hunting effectively. Avoid the high volume recruitment path through Read, Monster etc. Sure they are easy to use and present loads of jobs, but if you don't have anything unique in your profile (and very few graduates do have) then all you do is put yourself into a bigger competition with nothing that makes you bob to the top. Bookmark individual company job pages, and sector specific job listings, by putting more effort in at this stage, you can tailor your application better and make more of what you've got and you reduce the competition you are facing.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Are you getting to interview or not? if you aren't getting to interview, then it is your CV or application form that is being ineffective. if you are getting to interview for say 3/10 applications, then it's your interview style.

    Get PROPER advice on your CV, that doesn't mean asking friends and family or randomers that have been successful. Go back and ask your University Careers Service, it's in their interests to get you employed, or ask people who are actually employers.

    Start using LinkedIn and researching the sector you want to work in by reading sector relevant websites, magazines etc

    Make sure you are job-hunting effectively. Avoid the high volume recruitment path through Read, Monster etc. Sure they are easy to use and present loads of jobs, but if you don't have anything unique in your profile (and very few graduates do have) then all you do is put yourself into a bigger competition with nothing that makes you bob to the top. Bookmark individual company job pages, and sector specific job listings, by putting more effort in at this stage, you can tailor your application better and make more of what you've got and you reduce the competition you are facing.
    Thank you for taking the time out to reply and providing such an in-depth response. To address some of your points, I have been receiving on average two out of ten interviews per application, in total I think I have applied to around 30 roles (I'm not fond of the idea of mass applying). Many of the jobs that appeal to me require an 'A' at A-level Maths/300+ UCAS points, I am somewhat disappointed that this casts a shadow over my final degree classification. I had an interview with a major inter-dealer broker last week but unfortunately I had been sent the wrong job specification (I was sent a job spec for a Junior Broker and was interviewed for a Base Metals Research Analyst) and the hiring manager was seeking a graduate more understanding of commodity products, which my degree did not extensively focus on - on a positive note the interviewer told me that I was the best interviewee over the two years of candidates that he has interviewed, so I suspect my interview style may not be the issue (of course I could be wrong).

    I have already attended the University Career Service Centre who helped me tailor my CV.

    I also read regularly, using relevant sources about careers and news surrounding financial services (the industry in which I aspire to work in). However I have no set idea as what I would like to do in particular.

    I feel as though you make a good point in terms of bookmarking individual company job pages as opposed to using sites like Reed and Monster. I usually apply through a combination of mediums, such as directly on the company website, CityJobs, Graduate-Jobs and Milkround.

    I will take your recommendations on-board with the hope to reduce competition and spend more time tailoring my applications to particular sectors.

    Thank you.
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    (Original post by adnan3167)
    Thank you for taking the time out to reply and providing such an in-depth response. To address some of your points, I have been receiving on average two out of ten interviews per application, in total I think I have applied to around 30 roles (I'm not fond of the idea of mass applying). Many of the jobs that appeal to me require an 'A' at A-level Maths/300+ UCAS points, I am somewhat disappointed that this casts a shadow over my final degree classification. I had an interview with a major inter-dealer broker last week but unfortunately I had been sent the wrong job specification (I was sent a job spec for a Junior Broker and was interviewed for a Base Metals Research Analyst) and the hiring manager was seeking a graduate more understanding of commodity products, which my degree did not extensively focus on - on a positive note the interviewer told me that I was the best interviewee over the two years of candidates that he has interviewed, so I suspect my interview style may not be the issue (of course I could be wrong).

    I have already attended the University Career Service Centre who helped me tailor my CV.

    I also read regularly, using relevant sources about careers and news surrounding financial services (the industry in which I aspire to work in). However I have no set idea as what I would like to do in particular.

    I feel as though you make a good point in terms of bookmarking individual company job pages as apposed to using sites like Reed and Monster. I usually apply through a combination of mediums, such as directly on the company website, CityJobs, Graduate-Jobs and Milkround.

    I will take your recommendations on-board with the hope to reduce competition and spend more time tailoring my applications to particular sectors.

    Thank you.
    30 applications is a LOT - are you definitely tailoring your CV to every single one separately? Make sure you are very carefully reading the job specifications and exactly matching up your CV to every requirement, including all the key words they have mentioned. Are you able to book more appointments with your careers service? It would be helpful to go through each CV and application form with them separately (obviously they might not be able to do this for 30 job applications though, perhaps narrow it down to the 5 or so you are really keen on).

    You mentioned the situation where you had been accidentally interviewed for the wrong job - who sent you the job spec and was responsible for this? Going through agents or large careers websites may be causing issues like these - instead try and apply directly to each company via their own website.

    Have you been doing anything in the half a year since graduating? Unfortunately financial services is a highly competitive area, and they may see your half a year out of work as a big issue - perhaps try and get an internship or just a few weeks work experience so you have something to put on your CV and a more recent reference. You may even find the company you intern with will be willing to offer you a job!

    You mentioned that many jobs are requiring an A in A level Maths - I presume you mean graduate schemes? Perhaps by applying through direct hire routes rather than graduate schemes they won't have such strict requirements. You could also perhaps try broadening the job roles you are applying for, since it sounds like you may be lacking some of the experience required. As well as the popular Junior Analyst/ Broker roles, there are also LOADS more jobs in for example marketing, admin, sales, HR, etc. which could give you a foot in the door at a company, thus allowing you to moving into a job you really enjoy later on.
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    30 applications is a LOT - are you definitely tailoring your CV to every single one separately? Make sure you are very carefully reading the job specifications and exactly matching up your CV to every requirement, including all the key words they have mentioned. Are you able to book more appointments with your careers service? It would be helpful to go through each CV and application form with them separately (obviously they might not be able to do this for 30 job applications though, perhaps narrow it down to the 5 or so you are really keen on).

    You mentioned the situation where you had been accidentally interviewed for the wrong job - who sent you the job spec and was responsible for this? Going through agents or large careers websites may be causing issues like these - instead try and apply directly to each company via their own website.

    Have you been doing anything in the half a year since graduating? Unfortunately financial services is a highly competitive area, and they may see your half a year out of work as a big issue - perhaps try and get an internship or just a few weeks work experience so you have something to put on your CV and a more recent reference. You may even find the company you intern with will be willing to offer you a job!

    You mentioned that many jobs are requiring an A in A level Maths - I presume you mean graduate schemes? Perhaps by applying through direct hire routes rather than graduate schemes they won't have such strict requirements. You could also perhaps try broadening the job roles you are applying for, since it sounds like you may be lacking some of the experience required. As well as the popular Junior Analyst/ Broker roles, there are also LOADS more jobs in for example marketing, admin, sales, HR, etc. which could give you a foot in the door at a company, thus allowing you to moving into a job you really enjoy later on.
    Thank you for taking the time out to reply, I sincerely appreciate it.

    30 applications relative to circa. 4 months to me is not much. Perhaps I am not paying enough attention to keywords which I should observe more carefully. I do feel I should utilise the Careers Centre more and I will certainly take your advice on trying to specifically tailor my CV for certain roles. Thank you for adding this perspective, I never really though about doing this.

    I was sent the wrong job specification directly from HR of the company, and it surprised me as the company is considered to be a top-four inter-dealer broker. I did apply directly through the website which was even more alarming to find out I was interviewed for a completely different role.

    Since graduating I have been trying to enhance my technical skills, learning mainly Data Science, Time-series modelling and more advanced finance topics which MSc students usually learn.

    I think you are spot on about interviewers viewing six months out as an issue, I need to fill this time more productively and certainly, a few more internships won't hurt.

    Many Graduate Schemes and even jobs which are not your traditional Graduate Schemes require an 'A' in A-Level Maths. Family and friends have advised me as you have, that essentially 'getting your foot in the door' is what is needed to be done, however my parents opt for me to have a well-paid job starting, a sort of instant-gratification attitude. I grow tired of telling them that realistically this may not be possible.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I have never been supported by family only insulted, I've gained all these previous internships and experience as well as my degree with family always telling me I can't and wont get the aforementioned. A part of me wants to take a job just to 'get my foot in the door' but another part of me still needs to adhere to the wishes of my parents.

    Thank you again for your reply, I will certainly take your advice on paying more attention to the particular requirements of job roles in addition to possibly adding more experience to my CV.
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    (Original post by adnan3167)
    T I will certainly take your advice on paying more attention to the particular requirements of job roles i.
    This is absolutely fundamental to making a competitive CV, and frankly, if you haven't been doing this, I'm surprised you have had any applications taken to interview. I suggest you put your CV and a job advert you might be interested in, up in the CV Help forum and get advice on how to do this effectively.

    You have to tailor every single application to the specific job in question if you want to stand any chance of being competitive (over and above trusting to blind luck)
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    (Original post by adnan3167)
    Thank you for taking the time out to reply, I sincerely appreciate it.

    30 applications relative to circa. 4 months to me is not much. Perhaps I am not paying enough attention to keywords which I should observe more carefully. I do feel I should utilise the Careers Centre more and I will certainly take your advice on trying to specifically tailor my CV for certain roles. Thank you for adding this perspective, I never really though about doing this.

    I was sent the wrong job specification directly from HR of the company, and it surprised me as the company is considered to be a top-four inter-dealer broker. I did apply directly through the website which was even more alarming to find out I was interviewed for a completely different role.

    Since graduating I have been trying to enhance my technical skills, learning mainly Data Science, Time-series modelling and more advanced finance topics which MSc students usually learn.

    I think you are spot on about interviewers viewing six months out as an issue, I need to fill this time more productively and certainly, a few more internships won't hurt.

    Many Graduate Schemes and even jobs which are not your traditional Graduate Schemes require an 'A' in A-Level Maths. Family and friends have advised me as you have, that essentially 'getting your foot in the door' is what is needed to be done, however my parents opt for me to have a well-paid job starting, a sort of instant-gratification attitude. I grow tired of telling them that realistically this may not be possible.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I have never been supported by family only insulted, I've gained all these previous internships and experience as well as my degree with family always telling me I can't and wont get the aforementioned. A part of me wants to take a job just to 'get my foot in the door' but another part of me still needs to adhere to the wishes of my parents.

    Thank you again for your reply, I will certainly take your advice on paying more attention to the particular requirements of job roles in addition to possibly adding more experience to my CV.
    If you look online, there's lots of articles to help you tailor your CV perfectly to the job descriptions Essentially, you need to pick out the keywords in the job description ("analytical", "teamwork", "data analysis skills" or whatever) then make sure you include examples of when you have demonstrated each of these and the keyword in your CV You could also look into different CV structures, e.g. a skills-orientated CV.

    That is pretty terrible for the HR department to get such a simple thing wrong It's good to hear that they thought you interviewed well though - perhaps reapplying to them for the actual job you want might be a good idea?

    It's great to hear you've been working on enhancing your technical skills since graduation - much better than lazing around at home watching TV (which is what they might assume you've been doing), so make sure you mention what you've been learning in your application. If you can produce some projects related to what you are learning it's an easy way to demonstrate you have genuinely learnt new, useful skills

    I know it's hard, but do try and take your parents expectations with a pinch of salt. The graduate job market is much more competitive than it was when they were your age, and the majority of graduates have to do extra work experience or take on poorly paid jobs initially after graduation - it's nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, having any kind of job should be celebrated, not looked down on by your parents. Perhaps try discussing this with them and how their unrealistic expectations are putting unnecessary pressure/ stress on you, preventing you from applying for jobs which could be the perfect entry route into a top company?
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    This is absolutely fundamental to making a competitive CV, and frankly, if you haven't been doing this, I'm surprised you have had any applications taken to interview. I suggest you put your CV and a job advert you might be interested in, up in the CV Help forum and get advice on how to do this effectively.

    You have to tailor every single application to the specific job in question if you want to stand any chance of being competitive (over and above trusting to blind luck)
    I think I wasn't clear but I have been doing this but possibly not to the extent needed. I'll head over to the CV help forum and ask for further advice based on your suggestions!

    Thanks again
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    If you look online, there's lots of articles to help you tailor your CV perfectly to the job descriptions Essentially, you need to pick out the keywords in the job description ("analytical", "teamwork", "data analysis skills" or whatever) then make sure you include examples of when you have demonstrated each of these and the keyword in your CV You could also look into different CV structures, e.g. a skills-orientated CV.

    That is pretty terrible for the HR department to get such a simple thing wrong It's good to hear that they thought you interviewed well though - perhaps reapplying to them for the actual job you want might be a good idea?

    It's great to hear you've been working on enhancing your technical skills since graduation - much better than lazing around at home watching TV (which is what they might assume you've been doing), so make sure you mention what you've been learning in your application. If you can produce some projects related to what you are learning it's an easy way to demonstrate you have genuinely learnt new, useful skills

    I know it's hard, but do try and take your parents expectations with a pinch of salt. The graduate job market is much more competitive than it was when they were your age, and the majority of graduates have to do extra work experience or take on poorly paid jobs initially after graduation - it's nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, having any kind of job should be celebrated, not looked down on by your parents. Perhaps try discussing this with them and how their unrealistic expectations are putting unnecessary pressure/ stress on you, preventing you from applying for jobs which could be the perfect entry route into a top company?
    I agree I heard that keywords are matched via algorithms to assess suitability perhaps utilising a filtering system. I do need to pay more attention in these keywords to increase the chances of an interview. Exploring different CV structures is another good idea in my view, I have never really thought about this but always gone with the traditional format namely; personal statement, work experience, education and so on.

    I will try to keep regular contact with HR for the company to fill the initial vacancy, I was just a little put off that I prepared for something completely different. During the interview there was no motivational or competency based questions which I was advised to study beforehand. The interview mainly comprised of technical questions and if I could directly make an impact, which of course in my honest view - I could not, due to my lack of specialised knowledge surrounding base metal commodity derivatives.

    I try to learn whatever I find interesting and you are so right, the interviewer instantly said it's good to see you took a break you deserved it after your first class honours, but in truth, all I have been trying to do is up-skill. I told the interviewer about how I learned VBA and created financial models and auto-generating financial information, but even-so it was assumed I sat around and done nothing, quite disheartening. I was also asked questions like do I bet (I understand it's relation to financial markets) but me saying I didn't bet felt like it took the interview to a different direction, I could tell from the expression of the interviewer.

    I tried to reflect on my brothers situations, both graduating with a Masters from UCL in Bio and Mechanical engineering but took around 7 months to be employed. Unfortunately my mother didn't agree with my argument. I am ashamed and guilty in truth, I want to contribute, I want to help pay the bills, I don't want anything for myself but for other people. I think I need to start having more conviction in applying to firms which give a route towards my intended career goals.

    I thank you again, I find your suggestions extremely helpful and I am grateful. If you need anything in return please feel free to let me know.
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    (Original post by PeterDennisKings)
    I really think it may be the name? Because when i changed my name i was really inundated with job offers
    With the greatest respect, I rather have employers acknowledge my skills and experience rather than assess my suitability based on my name.
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    (Original post by adnan3167)
    I agree I heard that keywords are matched via algorithms to assess suitability perhaps utilising a filtering system. I do need to pay more attention in these keywords to increase the chances of an interview. Exploring different CV structures is another good idea in my view, I have never really thought about this but always gone with the traditional format namely; personal statement, work experience, education and so on.

    I will try to keep regular contact with HR for the company to fill the initial vacancy, I was just a little put off that I prepared for something completely different. During the interview there was no motivational or competency based questions which I was advised to study beforehand. The interview mainly comprised of technical questions and if I could directly make an impact, which of course in my honest view - I could not, due to my lack of specialised knowledge surrounding base metal commodity derivatives.

    I try to learn whatever I find interesting and you are so right, the interviewer instantly said it's good to see you took a break you deserved it after your first class honours, but in truth, all I have been trying to do is up-skill. I told the interviewer about how I learned VBA and created financial models and auto-generating financial information, but even-so it was assumed I sat around and done nothing, quite disheartening. I was also asked questions like do I bet (I understand it's relation to financial markets) but me saying I didn't bet felt like it took the interview to a different direction, I could tell from the expression of the interviewer.

    I tried to reflect on my brothers situations, both graduating with a Masters from UCL in Bio and Mechanical engineering but took around 7 months to be employed. Unfortunately my mother didn't agree with my argument. I am ashamed and guilty in truth, I want to contribute, I want to help pay the bills, I don't want anything for myself but for other people. I think I need to start having more conviction in applying to firms which give a route towards my intended career goals.

    I thank you again, I find your suggestions extremely helpful and I am grateful. If you need anything in return please feel free to let me know.
    I'd not heard that about computers being used to assess CVs for keywords, but it certainly is the case that in some large firms more general HR staff go through the applications initially and check them against the job spec, and only those that get through this initial check are then reviewed by more specialist staff. Since the non-specialist HR staff may not know much about the details of your experience and be able to figure out for themselves what your previous experience and degree taught you in terms of the job requirements, it's best to specifically point out in your CV/ application form exactly where you demonstrate these skills. E.g. rather than talking about a group project with more vague phrases like "worked together to produce a report on the financials of ...", instead say "worked as a team to analyse financial data in order to produce a technical report on our findings" - thus clearly mentioning the key words (here: teamwork, data analysis, technical report writing). Otherwise, the general HR staff may not realise that this particular project demonstrated those skills since they're not so good at reading between the lines

    Yeah, the idea of a skills-based CV is that you can literally just list out the required skills for the job and then your relevant experience - e.g. have titles like "teamwork experience", "data analysis skills", etc. Personally, I'm not a huge fan since it's sometimes hard to put things into one specific category, but they can be good for more technical jobs or if you don't have much work experience (since you can list your uni projects and stuff under various categories, making it appear as if you have more experience...).

    Hmm, if you can produce an actual physical outcome from your recent studies that would probably help - the trouble with saying "yeah I've been learning VBA and created financial models" is that you could just be spending a couple of hours a week doing an easy online course on these things, whereas if you have actually something to show for your work then it is more obvious that you have actually achieved something and genuinely have those skills.

    At the end of the day, it's YOUR career, not your parents - so I would try not to let them hold you back. So what if they think less of you for taking a less highly skilled job initially - it will bring the money in, give you some work experience, and be a good foot-in-the-door for more interesting jobs in the company/ industry And don't feel ashamed of not having a job yet - there are literally thousands of other graduates in the same situation, it's so hard to get a graduate job
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    (Original post by adnan3167)
    Good Evening contributors,

    I graduated in July 2016 with a First Class Honours in Business Management and Finance from the University of Westminster achieving some of the highest grades in the year.

    I have had internships with a leading Asset Management company and a technology consultancy, had an insight day at Nomura, taught debating for over two years, worked as a mathematics Tutor for a year and worked with a Baroness voluntarily for a charity. However, admittedly I performed badly during college only accumulating 240 UCAS points and six months on post-graduation I am struggling to find employment.

    Any advice would be welcome on how I can improve my chances of employment.

    Thank you and apologies for the long-winded message!
    Hi,

    I am surprised to find someone who used to be in the same position as me! Like you, I graduated in July 2016 with a First Class Honours degree in Computing. As soon as I graduated, I ignored everyone's advice for applying for a job - and instead went on holiday to North America. I returned back from my holiday around the start of September and started looking for a graduate level Computing job. I struggled a bit, even though I had a years in industry experience. A lot of the jobs that were advertised were not that good as they were with start ups or even large companies that were not paying much.

    I started becoming very frustrated and even started questioning my life - like why I went to university and worked so hard. At the same time, I also invested heavily in my LinkedIn profile and made it an option on LinkedIn that I was open to job offers. After a few weeks an agency contacted me via LinkedIn about a job opening with a large company. I am very reluctant and skeptical about agencies but getting a job specification from them would do no harm - so I asked for one. I was surprised it was with a large organisation and even though it wasn't directly related to my studies I still applied and in the end after a rigorous selection process I got the job and I am some what enjoying it!

    My advice to you is to:
    + Beef up and invest heavily on your LinkedIn profile and C.V
    + Apply for jobs that are not related to your studies - you don't have to work there forever
    + Stay strong, getting rejected will make you stronger. If you ask them why they rejected you then you will learn from your mistakes
    + It will get better, TRUST ME - I was once exactly in your shoes

    Hope this helps
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    Do not panic, am in similar position to you applied for a lot of jobs, had about 8 interviews. Not got them yet, keep applying, keep tailoring cv. Be patient and try and do as much as possible to improve and gain experience. Maybe even take on part time work which will at least show your willing to work, this is what am doing, am working part time for Sainsbury's, it's not what I want to be doing but at least it shows am willing to work. You will get their, your doing the right things, it will be just a matter of when you land a job.


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    Have you tried using a professional online career coach to help you.
 
 
 
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