How do I get a graduate job or into a graduate scheme

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Aidan9116
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I have just finished studying business and management. I graduated in June and I now have a 1st class honours degree from a top 30 ranked university. However, during my 3 years, I was one of those individuals who did have a social life but did not do any extracurricular activities or join any societies. I'd be either going out with friends or just studying. I placed too much emphasis on my studies and time with friends. Now as a consequence, I have no extracurricular activities on my CV and I also have never joined a society at Uni. I only have part time retail experience working at grocery retailers. Please can someone help me because I do not have professional experience (e.g. internships or placements) and I do not have any extracurricular experience (e.g. joining clubs or societies or volunteering whilst at Uni).How do I get an internship or even get a graduate job now that I've missed the chance of gaining soft skills from being part of a society, from volunteering and from joining clubs at Uni? Please can someone help. I want to go into Management consultancy or Operations, procurement and supply chain. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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The University of Law Students
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(Original post by Aidan9116)
I have just finished studying business and management. I graduated in June and I now have a 1st class honours degree from a top 30 ranked university. However, during my 3 years, I was one of those individuals who did have a social life but did not do any extracurricular activities or join any societies. I'd be either going out with friends or just studying. I placed too much emphasis on my studies and time with friends. Now as a consequence, I have no extracurricular activities on my CV and I also have never joined a society at Uni. I only have part time retail experience working at grocery retailers. Please can someone help me because I do not have professional experience (e.g. internships or placements) and I do not have any extracurricular experience (e.g. joining clubs or societies or volunteering whilst at Uni).How do I get an internship or even get a graduate job now that I've missed the chance of gaining soft skills from being part of a society, from volunteering and from joining clubs at Uni? Please can someone help. I want to go into Management consultancy or Operations, procurement and supply chain. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Hi Aidan9116

I thought I would offer some guidance here which will hopefully be of benefit to you.

First of all congratulations on your first class degree – it’s a fantastic foundation to build on when it comes to entering the graduate market.

With regards to applications, focus on the transferable skills/experiences you have gained, rather than those you have not. Make the most of the experience you have - think back to your course and break the modules down: think about the group work you have been part of the and the teamwork/leadership skills you would have subsequently developed. Consider your ability to mix with a variety of people ranging from students through to lecturers/academic tutors, developing your stakeholder management skills. Etc. etc.

By breaking down your experiences to date you can uncover a range of skills which you may not have thought of yet. The graduate market is notoriously difficult to navigate and break down, particularly given the current climate, but as businesses continue to open up you can also spend time focusing on developing new skills and building your work.

Consider looking at some of the opportunities offered by online platforms such as Bright Network, attend talks/workshops with companies and a very practical tip is to pick up the phone to the graduate recruitment teams of companies you are looking at.

You appear to have narrowed down areas of interest (which is great!), so prior to completing your next application, schedule a call with that company’s recruitment team to find out the skills they are looking for and any extra opportunities you could get involved with in the interim to support your application. Thinking outside the box will help you to stand out in the process.

I hope this is of some help! I think all students can sympathise with the difficulties in securing the ‘right’ job after University, so stick at it! Your time will come.

Congratulations again on your degree and all the best with the job hunt!

James

ULaw Student Ambassador
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Aidan9116
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(Original post by The University of Law Students)
Hi Aidan9116

I thought I would offer some guidance here which will hopefully be of benefit to you.

First of all congratulations on your first class degree – it’s a fantastic foundation to build on when it comes to entering the graduate market.

With regards to applications, focus on the transferable skills/experiences you have gained, rather than those you have not. Make the most of the experience you have - think back to your course and break the modules down: think about the group work you have been part of the and the teamwork/leadership skills you would have subsequently developed. Consider your ability to mix with a variety of people ranging from students through to lecturers/academic tutors, developing your stakeholder management skills. Etc. etc.

By breaking down your experiences to date you can uncover a range of skills which you may not have thought of yet. The graduate market is notoriously difficult to navigate and break down, particularly given the current climate, but as businesses continue to open up you can also spend time focusing on developing new skills and building your work.

Consider looking at some of the opportunities offered by online platforms such as Bright Network, attend talks/workshops with companies and a very practical tip is to pick up the phone to the graduate recruitment teams of companies you are looking at.

You appear to have narrowed down areas of interest (which is great!), so prior to completing your next application, schedule a call with that company’s recruitment team to find out the skills they are looking for and any extra opportunities you could get involved with in the interim to support your application. Thinking outside the box will help you to stand out in the process.

I hope this is of some help! I think all students can sympathise with the difficulties in securing the ‘right’ job after University, so stick at it! Your time will come.

Congratulations again on your degree and all the best with the job hunt!

James

ULaw Student Ambassador
Hi James,

Thank you sooo much for your detailed response and for your encouragement. Its greatly appreciated. I totally understand that organisations are looking for the soft transferable skills when seeking graduates. This is why many companies do not care about the discipline/course you did at University. So many graduates from courses such as psychology, geography, law or biology etc end up in large organisations and competitive graduate schemes. Perhaps they have key skills or professional internship/placement experience and so they're they're not disadvantaged against those who did a business management degree or a economics degree (for example).
Having said that, I believe it's sooo hard to stand out, particularly when there could be dozens of applications for one graduate role. I now really regret not joining a society, club, volunteering or trying to obtain internships during my 1st & 2nd years at University. I'd much rather get a 2:1 but have skills gained from internships, placements, volunteering, extracurriculars, and even joining a society or club. But unfortunately I did not do any of that and now I really regret it. Would I be disadvantaged, because I feel like 99% of the applicant's I'd be competing against will already have a degree, some extracurriculars, volunteering experience or have joined a society at the very minimum? So therefore, it's likely they'll have more to say for the interviews and for their CV and cover letter. I feel like many of the applicants will not just have retail part time experience and a degree like me. They'll have more to add and more to say about their skills. That's the issue. It's totally fine for me communicating my soft skills from my studies and part time retail work but I don't know how much it'll help, if I am competing against those who not only have part time retail experience & a degree, but they also have joined a society at Uni, have extracurriculars, or volunteering experience. Some may even have professional experience in the form of internships and placements.
Thats why I didn't do a masters degree. I felt like a masters degree is not something that will add value to me. I'd still be eligible to apply for most management consultancy graduate jobs and operations/supply chain/procurement graduate schemes with a bachelors undergraduate degree alone. For example, I feel like an individual with part time retail experience but a 1st class business management degree (and a masters degree) is no more appealing than a 2:1 graduate from a unrelated discipline (e.g. law, geography, psychology, biology etc). But this individual with a 2:1 unrelated degree has either joined a society/club, has extracurriculars, has volunteering experience, or perhaps even some professional experience. The latter candidate is probably more appealing for employers because they have this experience and have potentially gained soo much more transferable skills compared to the one who's very academically gifted/has a bachelors (or masters degree) and only has part time retail work experience. I wish I knew this before. I unfortunately thought grades, and qualifications were everything. When in reality it's not, particularly when record numbers of people are obtaining degrees nowadays.
I hope this all makes sense and you understand the challenges I face. Please help and advise further. I'd highly appreciate it. Thank you.
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napqueen
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(Original post by Aidan9116)
I have just finished studying business and management. I graduated in June and I now have a 1st class honours degree from a top 30 ranked university. However, during my 3 years, I was one of those individuals who did have a social life but did not do any extracurricular activities or join any societies. I'd be either going out with friends or just studying. I placed too much emphasis on my studies and time with friends. Now as a consequence, I have no extracurricular activities on my CV and I also have never joined a society at Uni. I only have part time retail experience working at grocery retailers. Please can someone help me because I do not have professional experience (e.g. internships or placements) and I do not have any extracurricular experience (e.g. joining clubs or societies or volunteering whilst at Uni).How do I get an internship or even get a graduate job now that I've missed the chance of gaining soft skills from being part of a society, from volunteering and from joining clubs at Uni? Please can someone help. I want to go into Management consultancy or Operations, procurement and supply chain. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Put your skills to practise, start a blog, start practising using marketing tools like SEMrush, Moz, ahrefs, google analytics, google keyword planner etc. This shows drive but also means you can demonstrate a better understanding than other grads.
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The University of Law Students
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(Original post by Aidan9116)
Hi James,

Thank you sooo much for your detailed response and for your encouragement. Its greatly appreciated. I totally understand that organisations are looking for the soft transferable skills when seeking graduates. This is why many companies do not care about the discipline/course you did at University. So many graduates from courses such as psychology, geography, law or biology etc end up in large organisations and competitive graduate schemes. Perhaps they have key skills or professional internship/placement experience and so they're they're not disadvantaged against those who did a business management degree or a economics degree (for example).
Having said that, I believe it's sooo hard to stand out, particularly when there could be dozens of applications for one graduate role. I now really regret not joining a society, club, volunteering or trying to obtain internships during my 1st & 2nd years at University. I'd much rather get a 2:1 but have skills gained from internships, placements, volunteering, extracurriculars, and even joining a society or club. But unfortunately I did not do any of that and now I really regret it. Would I be disadvantaged, because I feel like 99% of the applicant's I'd be competing against will already have a degree, some extracurriculars, volunteering experience or have joined a society at the very minimum? So therefore, it's likely they'll have more to say for the interviews and for their CV and cover letter. I feel like many of the applicants will not just have retail part time experience and a degree like me. They'll have more to add and more to say about their skills. That's the issue. It's totally fine for me communicating my soft skills from my studies and part time retail work but I don't know how much it'll help, if I am competing against those who not only have part time retail experience & a degree, but they also have joined a society at Uni, have extracurriculars, or volunteering experience. Some may even have professional experience in the form of internships and placements.
Thats why I didn't do a masters degree. I felt like a masters degree is not something that will add value to me. I'd still be eligible to apply for most management consultancy graduate jobs and operations/supply chain/procurement graduate schemes with a bachelors undergraduate degree alone. For example, I feel like an individual with part time retail experience but a 1st class business management degree (and a masters degree) is no more appealing than a 2:1 graduate from a unrelated discipline (e.g. law, geography, psychology, biology etc). But this individual with a 2:1 unrelated degree has either joined a society/club, has extracurriculars, has volunteering experience, or perhaps even some professional experience. The latter candidate is probably more appealing for employers because they have this experience and have potentially gained soo much more transferable skills compared to the one who's very academically gifted/has a bachelors (or masters degree) and only has part time retail work experience. I wish I knew this before. I unfortunately thought grades, and qualifications were everything. When in reality it's not, particularly when record numbers of people are obtaining degrees nowadays.
I hope this all makes sense and you understand the challenges I face. Please help and advise further. I'd highly appreciate it. Thank you.
Hi Aidan9116

Thanks for your reply.

I get where you’re coming from. I think the important think for you to focus your time on now is building on what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t. I know that’s easier said than done, but you are in a great position to build on your academics.

Use your time to gain work experience and expand your CV and I promise you that within 6 months you will have caught up with any experience(s) you feel you may have missed during University.

I would agree that employers are looking for more rounded individuals today given the graduate markets increasingly competitive nature and so it’s important to use the next few months to build on what you have already achieved.

With regards to holding off on studying a masters or not, this isn’t really something I can direct you on as it is ultimately your decision. All I would add is that you can do a masters at any time...

Certain graduate schemes will require a masters, and some will not. So as above, be practical about it - speak to graduate careers/recruitment teams, work out what they are looking for, and that will help guide you to a more informed decision. I know certain companies will even sponsor funding for certain qualifications!

Honestly, I think you are in a stronger position that you think you are (although it may not seem that way now). While I know gaining work experience is not an easy process, I’m sure you can appreciate that it is much easier to build your experience than it is to “build” your grades/qualifications.

Keep moving, be pro-active and maintain flexible to opportunities that arise and you will be absolutely fine. Sometimes, it helps to take a step back, think about where you’re going and where you want to go before putting the plan into action.

I hope this helps in some way or another. Keep me posted with your progress!

All the very best.

James

ULaw Student Ambassador
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