Smart Moves: Grads seek careers by CD-Rom

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The Independent Online
A FEW years ago the atmosphere among job-hunting undergraduates was one of doom and gloom. The "milk round", with larger companies offering graduate training schemes, appeared to be the only hope of a career, rather than just a job.

A survey of 500 undergraduates has been conducted to mark the launch of Activate, the first interactive graduate recruitment tool. Last week the Activate CD-Rom was distributed free to students on every campus in the UK and Ireland. Earlier versions were tested by 250,000 students over the last 18 months.

"Students are one of the most technologically literate groups in the UK today," said Ian Rose, chief executive of Activate developer ITM. "The immediacy and interactive nature of new media ensures that CD-Roms and the internet are becoming the media choice for the young," he says.

Activate provides the first steps towards a top career. Users are able to search for keywords and selection criteria, and Activate's selections are then displayed with up to a five star rating according to the quality of the match.

"This opens up the market considerably," says Mr Rose. "Without Activate it would be too easy to consider only accounting firms if you want to be an accountant."

Career opportunities and application forms are available online so applying for a position has never been easier. "We wanted Activate to be fun, exciting and friendly," said Andrew Finlayson, ITM's technical director. "That is why our home page looks not unlike a theme park, with guides taking users on a tour of career opportunities and the Funhouse Leisure area. We have hooked up with the Ministry of Sound, which supplied all the backing tracks, while BT provides free internet access and e-mail.

Employers can advertise with Activate for less than the cost of a directory entry, with more appeal and up to the minute information through its website. This makes the medium attractive to smaller companies, which need just a few graduates and do not find directories or careers fairs viable.

"We have found that the entry has yielded between 600 and 700 responses. The Activate CD-Rom helps us achieve our targets," says Zoe Gordon of Commercial Union Assurance Company.

Activate can be seen on http://www.activatecareers/