Throughout my 3 years at Durham, I’ve learned a lot about the giant careers rollercoaster we will all inevitably jump upon. Luckily for me, I’ve got another year to wait before I have to embark upon this journey (Masters are a beautiful thing!), but in the meantime I can enjoy all of the blessings careers fairs can offer without the pressure to make a choice just yet. And as I cannot offer help to those students currently facing the plight of job searching (having not been through it myself) I have decided for some inexplicable reason that these 3 years of wisdom deem me valuable enough to offer some helpful tips for employers seeking graduates for their companies:
1) Freebies: We all know students love something for nothing, and some bright spark in a human resources department worked this one out a long time ago. The best way to get students to realise you exist: tell them there’ll be free stuff. It doesn’t even have to be useful; sweets, stress balls and even the humble pen can help students become aware of your company and definitely more likely to remember your name. If you really want to go the full mile, get creative! Although it may not cause somebody to rethink their entire career plans, it does allow the subconscious to work its magic over time. My favourite examples from this year’s offerings so far: a chilli plant and a portable phone charger. As an associate point- free food. It works a dream, particularly pizza, donuts or anything that we modest students consider a luxury (basically not pasta or rice).
2) As a separate point about freebies: make them good quality. There’s nothing worse than receiving a free pen only to discover three days later that it disintegrates in your hand. A pen may not make me consider a company but it will definitely make me not consider them if it’s of shoddy quality. Everyone loves a pen/highlighter/stylus and for some strange reason I’m transformed into a small child with a new toy at Christmas when given a pen that performs more than one task.
3) Leaflets: We’ve all tried to avoid them: the people standing outside the Bill Bryson, shoving that leaflet at you like you have no right to refuse and then painting on the puppy eyes when you do get up the courage to refuse. It’s particularly annoying when it’s the same company over and over again (not to name names as I would like a career in the future). By now I think it’s safe to assume that most people know you exist, and quite frankly if they don’t it’s probably because they’re not interested in a career in that field. So please stop trying to force yourselves upon us, if we’re interested we’d let you know.
4) Complicated Careers sites: Why is it that companies seeking graduates think they have to complicate the entire process to stand out? Applications can be confusing enough on their own, not to mention when a careers website is harder to navigate than the Bermuda triangle, in the dark, blindfolded, with a broken compass. On a related note, please stop using overly-complicated language to scare/confuse us. It’s not an uncommon belief that students can be quite lazy, and this does not excuse job applications; if you’re going to make something harder than it should be, chances are we won’t bother.
5) And finally, there’s only one thing we Durham students hate more than stereotyping, and that’s Oxbridge. It’s a soul-crushing moment when you realise you’re the only non-Oxbridge student at an assessment centre, so I beg you potential employers; please remember the graduate talent pool doesn’t end above Birmingham and maybe think about popping us a visit up here. Because there’s nothing worse than realising all of your graduate intake know each other already, believe me!
Soo there are my five handy tips for employers seeking graduates. Sorry there’s no help provided for the actual audience of this article: namely, students. But if I had the answers to those burning questions I’d have multiple jobs lined up for 2016 already. Unfortunately it seems I’m going to have to climb that mountain without a support rope just like the rest of you. However, my advice to any freshers who may be reading this article: get yourselves to the careers fair, not only because it’s ‘good practice’ (if I had a pound for every time I’d heard that, I wouldn’t need a job!), but also because you can never have enough pens.