Bruce Birchall: Graduates need to have a strong CV and a determined attitude

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The Independent Online

About this time of the year organised graduates will be taking a deep breath and thinking that the time has come to launch themselves into the world of work.

About this time of the year organised graduates will be taking a deep breath and thinking that the time has come to launch themselves into the world of work. For some it feels like a daunting task and an uphill struggle ahead. Indeed, the job market has been challenging for a number of years but, according to the employers we are working with, the outlook seems positive for graduates in the current climate.

The job market is still competitive however, and graduates need to be armed with a strong CV and a determined attitude in order to succeed. It's the good old back-to-basics tools of the job-searching trade that are required to make a good impression and land that dream job.

We are finding that graduates need a helping hand to get the first foot on the ladder and launch their career in the right direction. Most graduates are armed with a good qualification, but a poor or sketchy CV lets them down. With this in mind, at the forthcoming show, theGRADfair, being held at Olympia on 31 October and 1 November, there will be a clinic where CV experts will be able to sit down with graduates and give them a helping hand to get on the right track.

But why attend a careers fair? This is a question some graduates may ask when job seeking for the first time. What they will find coming to a show such as this is the opportunity to present themselves face-to-face to a potential employer. It is as important for the candidate to find the right employer as it is for an organisation to hire the right staff. Here visitors can ask questions and gain information direct from the company and make an informed decision about their future.

With a solid CV, graduates have an overwhelming array of choices. The job for life may no longer be an option for most job seekers, but I am pleased to see that graduate training scheme opportunities are back. Employers are once again realising that home grown and trained talent is the way forward with candidates nurtured to the level and quality that an employer demands.

A longer-term view is required here with employer and employee making a commitment to a lengthy partnership of training, learning and development so that the end result is a rewarding job and a skilled employee. One employer with this mindset exhibiting at the show will be television production and programming company, FremantleMedia, which is recruiting for its graduate training scheme.

The media is a popular area for job seeking, but we are also seeing a return to the trades. Vocational training post degree is an emerging trend. We are even seeing graduates leaving their high-flying city jobs to train in trades such as plumbing and electrics, as the financial gains can be very rewarding.

Graduates should not overlook the Careers and Jobs Live part of the show on the ground floor where opportunities such as these can be found. This area of the show has an abundance of employers interested in seeing graduates as well as non-graduates. British Gas, for example, will showcase its Engineering Academy. It was launched with the aim of reducing the national skills shortage in the installation and servicing markets and to encourage people to join modern apprenticeships to develop highly sought-after skills and qualifications.

We have also identified that small is beautiful in the world of graduate opportunities and to support this trend a new initiative this year is GradSelect, a zone within theGRADfair for employers looking for 10 graduates or fewer to meet the right candidates. It is also an ideal opportunity for graduates to get a foot in the door and make a big difference in a smaller organisation. Working for larger corporates may appear attractive on the surface but smaller companies can provide a fast-track to a great career. Working for a smaller company brings its own challenges, but for graduates aiming for the top, the GradSelect zone could be a good place to start.

Further information

Careers and Jobs Live and theGRADfair will be at London Olympia, 31 October and 1 November. Admission is free. Among the exhibitors at theGRADfair, which is situated on the first floor of the show, will be Independent Newspapers Ltd, FremantleMedia, Milkround Online, ACCA, Enterprise Rent A Car, The University of Middlesex School of Health and GCHQ, and many others.

Visit www.jarvis-exhibitions.com for more information

Bruce Birchall is exhibition director for Jarvis Exhibitions

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