On Wednesday November 4th, gradireland and University College Cork are proud to present the second GRADchances Language Fair in Boole Basement, UCC. This event gives students the opportunity to speak to some of Ireland’s most influential graduate employers, who are currently recruiting students with languages. Employers exhibiting on the day include Kerry Group, Jameson Distillery, Workday and Dawn Meats, to name just a few.
In an increasingly global and connected world, and with Ireland as one of the world’s most open economies, the ability to speak a foreign language is seen as a massive asset and could very much put you ahead of the competition for a graduate position.
Work experience during college can be extremely beneficial to your CV and later career, but it’s important that you find the right role, that suits you and your abilities. You need to consider how much you can take on in addition to your studies, which should remain your priority, and also the likelihood of developing transferrable skills during your work experience.
Two of the key soft skills that graduates are found to lack, according to the gradireland Graduate Salary and Recruitment Trends Survey 2015, are communication skills and confidence. The right part-time job in college can help you develop these areas and also help set you apart from other graduates.
Gareth Reynolds, who worked as a gradireland Brand Ambassador while studying in NUI Galway, gives us an insight into his experience over the past two years.
Last week saw the biggest, busiest and brightest gradireland Graduate Careers Fair yet at the RDS, so if you made it down, thanks for helping make it such a great event! If you found it informative, inspiring and interesting you’re in good company, we’ve received plenty of positive feedback from employers, students and graduates.
So, if you met an employer, or employers, at the fair, what do you do next? How do you keep in touch, strike when the iron is still hot and make sure they know that their organisation is where you want to work? So should you call them, email them, stand outside their office (probably not a good idea this one), how exactly do you ‘follow up’ without seeming over-eager (or like a stalker)?
Well the good news is that employers expect to be ‘followed up’. In fact, in most cases , they anticipate it. The difference is how you do it, as they will receive a great many phone calls, emails and possibly even people standing outside their offices! But they will disregard the vast majority of them. Think strategy, not tactics. The fair was last week so it’s about now that you should be getting in touch, if you haven’t already. Review the employers you talked to at the event, write down the details and at least one follow up action for each employer. It could be writing a short introductory email, along with your CV, or it could be that you need to research the company more before you make any speculative contact. Take the time to do this; it will pay off in the long run. If you have a personal contact (i.e. sarah@perfectemployer is better than hr@facelessfactory), use it. But remember, this person will be getting plenty of emails from people just like you. Be polite, be friendly, but keep it business-like. Imagine how many people he/she talked to that day, so your email will probably serve as a second introduction to yourself. Don’t presume the employer remembers any specifics about what was discussed, and use this opportunity to suggest, briefly, why their organisation is where you want to work.
An introduction like this is fine; “Thanks for taking the time to talk at the fair in the RDS last week, it was really interesting and made me realise that I’m really interested in a career with (name of employer). As I mentioned on the day, my degree focused on elements which I believe would make me suited for this role, such as….”. As with any job though, make sure you tailor your email for each employer. Don’t carpet-bomb every email address you got with the same letter, it’s a recipe for disaster! It doesn’t matter if you’ve already given the employer your CV at the fair, send it on again, highlighting where and why you believe it makes you a good candidate for an available position. End your correspondence with a suggestion of future contact, such as; “If it suits, I’ll give you a call next week to discuss?” Remember, be eager, but if you don’t hear back, wait, try and contain your frustration and remember that if you have a good CV for the role, have done your research properly and there is a role available, the recruiter will be likely be in touch, whether you are ultimately successful or not.
Using social media
Social media affords an easy way of building a professional relationship with employers. But be careful, on two fronts. Firstly, as we have written about before, make sure your social media presence is something that you would be happy for employers to see, and that includes all platforms, not just LinkedIn. Also, LinkedIn is great for research, but don’t try and connect with potential employers in advance of an interview or just after writing to them, it’s not good etiquette and will likely seem far too forward.
No matter the format you use for getting in touch, remember the basics; manners. Thank people for their time, be grateful for their advice and always be respectful. If you do this, invest in your research and be creatively persistent in your approach, your careers fair ‘follow up’ could be very successful indeed.
It’s very common for students who are not yet in final year to be indecisive about attending the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as to whether you should attend Ireland’s Largest Graduate Careers Event;
Do I know what Career Path I would like to pursue?
This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest decision you will have to make before leaving college. There is so much to take into account including the area you would like to work in, job prospects, the companies that are recruiting in your field, the locations of these companies and salary expectations. It is very difficult to find credible answers to these questions without speaking to the employers in person.
Over 100 employers are attending this year’s Graduate Career Fair in over 20 different sectors with headquarters all around Ireland and Europe. This is the ultimate opportunity to meet these employers and ask them the essential questions you need to know for your future career decisions.
What do I need to get a job?
Putting together the documentation required to get your dream job can be very daunting. Every employer has different criteria they look for when recruiting graduates, this requires tailoring your CV and cover Letter to each job you may apply to. CV Clinics are being held at the Graduate Career Fair with experts from Careers Services throughout Ireland. These experts will provide you with the advice you need to get that dream job! Keep in mind that many Graduate Programmes open for applications in September each year, meeting these CV Experts could put you ahead of the competition for next year’s applications.
Am I interested in doing an internship?
Internships are amazing opportunities to gain essential experience into a particular job or companies culture. Employers also take this essential experience into account when recruiting graduates, giving your CV the edge to get the job. Many of the employers attending the Graduate Careers Fair recruit students for internships and work placements. This is a great opportunity to network with these employers to see what internship opportunities they may have.
Am I thinking of doing a Postgraduate Course, in Ireland, the UK or beyond?
Finding the perfect postgraduate course to suit you is really important, whether in Ireland or the UK. gradireland are hosting a couple of seminars with industry experts at this year’s Graduate Careers Fair to discuss Postgraduate Studies. There are also a number of exhibitors attending on the day, offering a wide range of postgraduate options.
The Graduate Careers Fairs has something for everyone, whether final year or first year. Register for free entry today at www.graduatecareersfair.com
Careers Fairs are an amazing opportunity for students and young professionals to get the ‘inside scoop’ of a company, the opportunities they have available for graduates, the sectors in which they are interested in hiring as well as a view to working life within the company.
Preparation is key when it comes to career fairs! Here are some helpful tips for the day of the fair.
The gradireland Graduate Careers Fair is an amazing opportunity to meet and ask questions of potential employers. Many companies also bring graduates who are currently on their graduate programmes to attend their stand, so you can ask them what life within these companies is really like! These conversations are great opportunities for networking, and can help you decide your future career path or give you that nugget of ‘insider information’ that can help you through the application and interview process and ensure that you beat the competition to land the perfect graduate job.
The team here at gradireland have put together a few questions for you to ask potential employers at the Graduate Careers Fair.