Anna from Studenteer caught up with Katie, Community & Partnerships Executive at Give A Grad A Go, the UK’s Top Graduate Recruitment Agency…

“Due to the COVID-pandemic, graduates might view large corporations as more ‘stable’ although the majority of start-ups are often well-established companies with up to 200 employees – and many benefits!”

— Katie

Please could you tell us a little bit about Give A Grad A Go?

Give A Grad A Go are the UK’s leading graduate recruitment company with offices in the UK and Australia. We are a cross-sector recruitment agency who offer a bespoke and personal recruitment service. We not only recruit for fresh graduates, but also for those with up to 3 years’ experience under their belt.

Our main aim is to match-make students, graduates and jobseekers with their dream role, but we offer a lot of resources that go way beyond our recruitment services! The service we provide is completely free for students, graduates and jobseekers. My favourite thing about Give A Grad A Go is the amount of FREE content, competitions, workshops, resources, webinars and materials that we offer to all students, graduates and jobseekers.

What advice would you give about job hunting during a pandemic?

This year, we’ve seen first-hand the difficulties of getting a graduate job during a pandemic, but we’ve also seen howgraduates have managed to get one. My advice to all students, graduates and jobseekers is to get involved as much as possible – get yourself out there! Register for webinars, become a volunteer (or a Studenteer!) and ask around for any opportunities to improve your experience and CV whilst you’re looking for a job.

For example, a student who attended one of our webinars is now doing a work experience placement with one of the guest speakers. Our next webinar will be on the secret to getting a graduate job with a FREE online course ‘How to get a Graduate Job’, which is available to everyone who signs up for the webinar. Any experience you can get is valuable, so I would say don’t turn away part time roles such as working in a supermarket, being a delivery driver or dog-walking because anything you do boosts your CV and shows a proactive nature and willingness to work. Finally, I would advise using LinkedIn to connect with recruiters, hiring managers and industry professionals to ask them about roles. Particularly before an interview – you might just find that you and the interviewer went to the same University, and this will be a great talking point and help to make you stand out!

What advice would you give to graduates about job hunting in general?

We speak to a lot of graduates and often find that they are set on finding grad schemes and working for large corporations. In the past, students have ignored the vast amount of UK Start-up Jobs available and the benefits of working for a small/medium enterprise. Due to the COVID-pandemic, graduates might view large corporations as more ‘stable’ although the majority of start-ups are often well-established companies with up to 200 employees – and many benefits!

In a start-up, you are likely to have more responsibility from day one, which as a graduate will not only be fantastic for your CV but will also give you the flexibility to work on your own projects, develop your skills and make a difference to the company. Working for a start-up will also give you a variety of interesting activities so that you can shape your own role – in fact, when I got my job at Give A Grad A Go I was lucky enough to write my own Job Spec!

What are the benefits of using a recruiter to secure a job?

Graduate Recruitment services are the best way for students to find graduate jobs in the UK and even worldwide, for example Give A Grad A Go have a new office in Australia. When you apply on Job-Boards with a ‘one-click apply’ you can end up at the bottom of the CV pile, whereas with a recruiter, you are far more likely to be considered. This is because companies are often so busy that when they receive a massive pile of CV’s, the majority are ignored. However, it is the job of a recruiter to sift through these and find the perfect match for the job. This is the massive benefit of using a recruiter to secure a job.

Unlike most recruitment companies, Give A Grad A Go have experienced consultants in a range of industries, from Business Development Recruitment to Banking and Finance Recruitment with a niche in graduate and early-years careers. Aside from the industry knowledge and connections to employers, Give A Grad A Go’s services go beyond recruitment. We have resources on Interview Questions and CV Templates for Students on our website and when you apply for a role, your application will be helped by the advice and expertise of our recruitment consultants who will be there for you every step of the way.

What are some of the top soft skills which you have found employers to look for when hiring?

Soft skills are so important when hiring graduates for a role, but there is no point listing your soft skill qualities in your job application unless you have an example or evidence to back it up. For example, we find a lot of companies who are trying to find out how to hire developers or looking to hire IT staff will be swamped with candidates who have similar CV’s. They might mention having an IT degree and an understanding of computer programming – but they don’t mention any additional projects or interests. The people who stand out, are those who have experience and examples to back up their statement.

A great example of this would be if a candidate said they had an IT degree and were passionate about coding and then supported this statement by saying they have created their own website as a personal project. Other examples of this would be saying you are hardworking but then, importantly, backing it up by mentioning your part time job working nightshifts in a supermarket. Likewise, you could say you are keen to help others and prove it with your volunteering experience, or stating that you have an interest in Marketing, but showing this by explaining that you have created your own blog or built up a social media following.

What advice can you give to anyone unsure on what to do after University?

Don’t panic! If you don’t know what you want to do after University, take your time to try out different industries and consider what you are interested in. After leaving University I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I started a business selling bags before working on Charity Events and then going into Marketing and Communications. The skills I learnt from these experiences shaped my understanding of what I am doing now and ultimately led to my dream job at Give A Grad A Go! So, don’t worry if your first job isn’t what you want to do for the rest of your life – there will be many transferrable skills that you can bring with you on your career journey.

If you are curious about the different industries, you can speak to other graduates and young professionals on our Facebook group Go Graduate Network which is a great place to share your experiences and discuss different career industries. Alternatively, you can get in contact with us to discuss our graduate recruitment services and have a conversation about what job role would be good for you.

By Anna McDaid for Studenteer

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