What are the most attractive qualities in a graduate?
Employers are demanding more and more from their potential graduate recruits, wanting graduates who will fit in well with their business in terms of their skills, abilities and attitudes. Most employers emphasise the totality of what individuals have to offer to them – this means that it is not just your qualification or degree subject that they’ll find attractive, but also your own personal qualities which make you, you. You have to be the entire package.
Employers want emotionally intelligent candidates. This means graduates must be effective communicators and display positive work attitudes which make them good team players. Displaying enthusiasm for work and knowledge of the company during an interview is a good indication of your potential character once you gain the job.
Not all employers may expect you to have completed work experience, but this may help demonstrate the crucial skills and qualities that are desired within a business, such as communication and flexibility in the face of potential challenges.
At the end of the day, graduate employers appreciate the work that goes into a degree and understand if you may not have work experience. You’ll have similar skills to the ones described above if you’ve worked hard in your group projects or have undertaken extra-curricular activities, such as any volunteering opportunities, that have come your way.
Do employers accept a 2.2 for a graduate opportunity?
Though some graduate employers may request that you have a 2.1 degree or higher, this is by no means true for them all, and since the pandemic many employers have been more flexible in their entry requirements. Even some of the most popular recruiters can be flexible in their approach to degree awards. Many graduate employers favour the skills that you have developed throughout your degree in making you a valuable employee.
Those people skills, your independent work capability and research talents that you’ve picked up over the years at university will help you get through that initial barrier into the graduate role of your dreams. The most common sectors that are open to graduates with a 2.2 include financial services and insurance, engineering and construction, IT and technology, as well as jobs in the public sector.
However, if you’re set on joining a large employer, don’t fret, it’s possible to find relevant work experience at smaller companies and find a way in later with the relevant experience under your belt. Just remember, every employer is different!
What is the difference between a graduate job and a graduate scheme?
The difference between a graduate job and a graduate scheme can be subtle, but it’s important to recognise these when looking for jobs after uni. A graduate scheme is often a time-limited training programme (often a year to three years) and is an employer’s template to produce a fully qualified professional accredited by the professional body of your occupation. You must keep in mind that schemes do not guarantee employment after they end, but you’ll have an opportunity to rotate around the company and learn the different aspects of a business.
However, a graduate job can be much broader. It denotes a role that requires an honours degree. A graduate job does not necessarily mean you’ll be enrolled on a programme of professional training as a graduate scheme entails. Graduate jobs are often less structured than schemes and your development in a company may be dictated more by your own strengths and weaknesses than following a set training programme.
Is my personality or my test results more important in a graduate role interview?
Assessing your personality during recruitment is harder than assessing practical skills, but to employers, it’s often crucial to ensure a good fit at their company. Richard Branson agrees that personality is one of the most crucial aspects interviewers look for when meeting recruits, stating:
The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.
There you have it – let your personality shine to succeed!
Does my degree subject matter in a graduate job?
There are roles across multiple sectors that do not require a specific degree. Employers recognise that no matter what you studied, your degree will give you transferable skills that make you an effective employee.
For instance, written communication skills (from the long years of writing coursework, essays or lab reports!), the ability to research and organise notes, and time management and independent working are all valuable skills that are not restricted to your degree topic. Remember, roles in Management, IT and financial services do not always need degree subjects in these specific fields.
Will I be paid?
The good news is that most graduate jobs are full-on, full-time, full-responsibility jobs with the pay-check to match. According to the High Fliers Graduate Market Report in 2018, the median starting salary for UK graduates for that year was £30,000, with the average starting salary being from £19,000 to £22,000.
However, these figures majorly depend on the size and prestige of the company you wish to work for, with larger companies offering larger starting salaries than those of a humbler nature. When looking for grad jobs it’s important to consider that many internships may not be paid, so are not a financially viable option for all wishing to gain work experience.