Uni Grads: Why You May Be More Qualified Than You Realise
Through our work, we constantly connect with university graduates who don’t know how to get their first big break in digital. Many have just completed business or law school, and feel that the course hasn’t quite equipped them with all the skills employers are seeking. But what many uni graduates don’t co-relate is their familiarity with technology. As digital natives, Gen Ys and Zs have a level of comfort and familiarity with technology that employers need.
What we stress to university graduates time and again, is that employers will value initiative and communication skills from graduates and students. Employers don’t have a magical expectation that you will have several years of digital experience after completing your degree. But what they do seek is a graduate who will:
- Take the initiative to gain some digital skills through work experience, volunteering or interning.
- Take the initiative to pick up the phone or send an email to them – regardless of whether there is an advertised open vacancy. If you are keen to work, then 99% of the time they will be keen to put you to work. Prove your worth once you have your foot in the door, and you never know what positions might be created.
- Communicate their value to a prospective employer. Think not about what the employer can do for you, but what you can do for the employer.
- Think creatively about digital work experience. I have spoken to students who don’t consider their experience building Instagram followings as relevant experience, simply because they didn’t receive an employer’s pay cheque for it. The ability to build and manage a social media community is a highly sought-after skill, and one anyone can acquire with practice, patience and initiative. The same goes for coding and programming – if you’re passionate about digital, you can build websites for yourself, friends or family and use these to showcase your skills to potential employers.
- Attend industry networking events to build your network. Most of the time, graduates are hired for potential and attitude. Having the gumption to attend networking events, speak to strangers and head to events outside of standard work or study hours demonstrates an attitude that employers relish. You never know how one innocuous meeting might lead to a wealth of referrals.
- Have the tenacity to see rejection or missed jobs as an inevitable part of the journey to building a career. Most people struggle to get their first break after university, even with good grades or accolades from a prestigious university.
- Seek advice from digital career specialists and recruiters to ensure their resume, cover letter and interview skills are on point.