Avoid the #1 Graduate CV Error

We see a lot of CVs. And we know it’s really hard to make sure they’re perfect. But there’s one area where we see lots of graduates shooting themselves in the foot; attention to detail.

Attention to detail is important. Recruiters like it. But if you’re going to claim you have it, you’d better be sure that your CV is absolutely perfect – and that’s not easy. Even when you’ve spent hours on it and checked it the requisite a million and one times.

The problem is clear. As soon as you claim you have attention to detail, anyone reading your CV will immediately be looking for evidence or counter evidence.

Here’s an example of where things go badly wrong – an amalgamation of the most common errors we’ve seen in CVs lately. How many errors can you find?

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So, what to do?

Well firstly, do you really need to include ‘attention to detail’? It’s not generally a skill prioritised for graduates so maybe you should use the space to give evidence of something else. Creativity? Initiative? Teamwork? Ability to learn?

And if you must include it, can you get three people to check your CV first? Don’t just ask them to read it but ask them to find  five mistakes in it. Even better, take your CV to your university careers service to give it the once over.

Few skills as attention to detail are so easily debunked. And, when they are it makes recruiters sceptical about the other skills you list. So exercise caution – or extreme proof reading and checking – before you claim Attention 2 detailed.

Do you see what we did there? Recruiters certainly will…..

Charlotte Weston

Charlotte is a graduate with many years’ experience in both large and small organisations. She now works as a consultant to a range of SMEs across the south west and is a Non-Executive Director of Gradsouthwest.

Get business ready with the Young Professionals Academy!

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We’ve joined forces with Zing Associates to bring you the Young Professionals Academy; a unique course designed to fast-track graduates like you to a higher level of proficiency and professionalism.

The Young Professionals Academy will give you a deeper understanding of yourself and others, enhancing your skills to contribute faster, take the initiative and become a valuable ambassador for your employer.

In short, it helps you avoid early career mistakes and makes you more business ready. We really rate it – and so do lots of big name employers.

The next programme kicks off in Bristol on Thursday 13 October 2016 – and there are others running throughout the year.

Interested?

Check out information about the Young Professionals Academy on the Zing Associates website or find out more by calling Zing Associates on: 0117 959 4135.

 

 

 

 

New partnership announced

Gradsouthwest, the south west graduate jobs board, is proud to announce its latest partnership agreement with Plymouth College of Art. The partnership will support the creative sector by matching more skilled arts practitioners with businesses across the region.

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Plymouth College of Art offers a range of undergraduate and master’s degrees for life in contemporary arts practice. The college has invested over £12 million in the last five years enhancing its creative resources and facilities, including significant investment in new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops that house state-of-the-art ceramics, glass and digital design workshops include a range of facilities such as 3D printing and laser cutting.

Gradsouthwest Director Deborah Watson said “we are delighted to partner with Plymouth College of Art and look forward to helping creative enterprises recruit their talented graduates”.

Rebecca Moore, Employability & Careers Manager at Plymouth College of Art, said: “This is great news for students from Plymouth College of Art. Our new relationship with Gradsouthwest will definitely enhance the work that we do to connect our graduates with the growing creative industry in the region.”

What Plymouth College of Art can offer you?

FabLab Plymouth, part of the international FabLab network, is filled with the latest in digital design technology; from 3D printers, 3D scanners, and laser cutters to the CNC milling machine, CNC router, and vinyl cutter. Plymouth College of Art can support commercial business activity such as research and development, prototyping and full product development. Visit fablab.plymouthart.ac.uk or contact fablab@pca.ac.uk for more.

Design Agency  The Agency is an incubation space and creative agency that supports homegrown talent – made up of students across all disciplines and offering a wide range of creative services that include: Branding, Web Design, Film, Animation, Books, Magazines, Stationary, Tableware, Fashion, Textiles, Ceramics, Illustrations, Photography, Art, Prints, Graphic Design, Products, Jewellery, Crafts, as well as Home & Lifestyle products and accessories. Please contact Kamal Gohil for more at kgohil@pca.ac.uk.

CPD Training  If you’d like to provide your employees with some creative training in a specialist environment, then Plymouth College of Art can offer bespoke training options, from  one day experiences to bespoke Short Courses. The college can provide you with a tailor-made programme to fit your requirements. Please contact Rosie Drake-Amery on rdrakeamery@pca.ac.uk for more information.

To find out more about Gradsouthwest, visit www.gradsouthwest.com

Graduates very much in demand – CBI survey

The 2016 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey “The Right Combination” was published yesterday, and makes excellent reading for graduates as demand from employers for their higher level skills continues and is projected to rise in the coming years. As for employers, they have high levels of satisfaction with their graduate recruits and know just how critical the right skills are when someone enters the workforce – however there are concerns over the numbers of graduates available to meet high-skills gaps.

The survey, conducted across the UK during April-May 2016, received nearly 500 responses from employers of all sizes (51% SMEs) accounting for the employment of more than 3.2million people. Over 40% of respondents had some staff in the South West.  Below we provide the headline messages from the report for you.

Key messages for graduates and graduate recruiters:

Demand for higher skills is rising fast

  • More than three quarters of businesses (77%) expect to have more job openings for people with higher-level skills over the coming years while just 3% expect to have fewer.
  • The proportion of businesses not confident there will be enough people available in the future with the skills to fill their high-skilled jobs has reached a new high (69%).
  • More than four in five businesses (84%) will be maintaining or increasing their investment in training in the year ahead.
  • Fewer than one in ten businesses (9%) has cut back on graduate recruitment in the past year while 29% increased their graduate intakes, giving a positive balance of +20% increasing graduate recruitment. This represents a further expansion in graduate jobs, following positive balances of increased graduate intakes of +13% in 2015 and +18% in 2014.

Ensuring graduates have the skills for successful careers

  • Businesses look first and foremost for graduates with the right attitudes and aptitudes to enable them to be effective in the workplace – nearly nine in ten employers (87%) rank these in their top considerations, far above factors such as the university attended (13%).
  • For nearly two thirds of businesses the degree subject studied is also among the top three considerations (cited by 65%), particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and among engineering, science & hi-tech firms (86% and 83% respectively).
  • Many businesses are satisfied with graduates’ basic skills and general readiness for employment, with more than four in five firms reporting satisfaction or better with graduates numeracy (91%) and literacy skills (86%), and nearly the same proportion satisfied or better with graduates’ problem solving (79%) and communication skills (77%).

So the messages are pretty clear – demand for the higher-level skills that graduates bring to the workforce are very much in demand, and that demand is set to grow.

To delve into further details see the full report.

To recruit a recent graduate or to find a graduate job here in the South West go to: www.gradsouthwest.com

 

Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.

 

Latest graduate employment news – destinations and starting salaries

The latest graduate employment figures have been released by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)1 showing the employment destination of the 2014-15 cohort – which consisted of over 668,000 graduates.

The results show 94% of last year’s graduates are in employment or further study, with 71% in professional roles.

Chart 1 shows the breakdown by destination: 72% were working either in the UK or overseas, 6% were combining work and study and 13% were continuing their studies.  5% were unemployed.

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The percentage of full-time first degree leavers who were unemployed varied between subjects, ranging from those which have traditionally low percentages, such as medicine & dentistry (less than 1%), veterinary science (1%), education (2%) and subjects allied to medicine (2%) to those with higher percentages of unemployment such as computer science (10%), physical science (8%) and engineering & technology (8%).

In 2014/15, of the full-time first degree leavers who were employed in the UK, over two-thirds (71%) were in posts classified as professional employment (68% in 2013/14). The remaining 29% were working in occupational groups classed as non-professional. Sales and customer service occupations accounted for 10% of all leavers in employment, the largest group in the non-professional occupations. Although we know our recruiters might disagree with these roles being classified as non-professional!

Salary levels

Of those working in the UK in full-time paid employment the median salary reported (to the nearest £500) was £21,000 (£21,000 in 2013/14). The mean salary was £22,500 compared to £21,500 in 2013/14.

The largest median salaries were reported by leavers who studied Medicine and dentistry (£30,000), Veterinary science (£27,000) and Engineering and technology (£25,000).

Next steps

So if you are looking to recruit a graduate go to www.gradsouthwest.com/recruiters to post your job with us.  We will go the extra mile to get you great candidates.

If you are a graduate seeking employment in the South West then we have loads of jobs on www.gradsouthwest.com – so pop there and see what we have on offer!

 

Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.

1Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education HESA report 2016.

Science and technology students should take every opportunity to enhance their employment

We like this blog post from HEFCE, written by , Chair, Wakeham Review of STEM Degree Provision and Graduate Employability, so much we copy it here:

“Two independent reviews show that STEM graduates need to take up every opportunity available to them in their degree and during their time at university to help to improve their employability and to get a rewarding job.

I have spent the last year leading a review into the employment outcomes of STEM graduates following concerns over poor employment outcomes among graduates from certain STEM disciplines.

A parallel, more in-depth, review was led by Sir Nigel Shadbolt and looked into the reasons behind poor employment rates for graduates from Computer Sciences. My own review has looked across the whole of STEM. 

Both reviews have a clear message: engagement and collaboration between universities and colleges, and employers and industry to meet the future needs of both industry and the economy is really important.

But there are further, equally important, messages for the individuals at the centre of these reviews – the students, who become graduates and employees of the future.

It’s clear that students need to start engaging with their careers at the earliest opportunity. This does not mean that they need to decide upon their career with certainty early on, but they must make themselves aware of the wide range of options available to them.

They need to take up the opportunities to explore careers available either within their degree programme or outside of it. They need to improve their employability, and be prepared to upskill and adapt to a career that may span 50 years and a significant number of technological and industrial changes.

What should we expect of higher education and employers?

The review gathered evidence from an online survey, focus groups and in consultation with a range of representative bodies.

The voice of employers was plain enough. They wanted graduates who were, to all intents and purposes, ‘oven ready’, or able to walk into the workplace and hit the ground running.

They wanted, in other words, graduates who understood the principles and foundations within a particular discipline, but also an ability to apply those principles to the ‘real world’ and to apply them in a way that fitted with their employer.

Understandably, the universities, colleges and students who also took part in the research had a different view.

They acknowledged that higher education providers should work in participation with industry and help their students to access opportunities, such as experience through quality work placements. But they also raised the responsibilities of employers.

Evidence from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) points to decreasing investment by employers in formal training – with a slight fall in the net number of total training days funded or arranged by UK employers between 2011 and 2013.

So are the expectations of employers unrealistic and what are the key messages for students in this mixed, often contradictory, body of evidence?

Experience matters

The headline statistics show that STEM graduates who completed a sandwich course have markedly better outcomes than those graduates who did not.

Similarly, those who completed an integrated Master’s degree programme have very impressive employment outcomes.

So the evidence suggests strongly that work experience matters. Students should take every opportunity to develop their experience of the work place.

Universities and colleges have a responsibility here to help their students access placements. Employers of all sizes also need to offer students more quality placements of varying lengths and formats.

But the teaching methods which form part of the curriculum can also help to develop those skills so valued by employers – such as team work and communication.

Students therefore need to understand and embrace the opportunities to work with their peers in group projects, or by presenting and communicating their work to representatives from industry or their fellow students.

Continuing professional development

Second, students need to commit to upskilling and continuing their professional development throughout their career.

Higher education providers need to make sure degree programmes are equipping their students with the tools to do this, but graduates should enter the jobs market with the expectation that their degree may only get them to a certain point.

For many STEM graduates, postgraduate qualifications are required to enter a range of some of the most rewarding roles. And employers here need to accept responsibility for training their employees, so that they can apply their vital knowledge to the benefit of their business and to the wider UK economy.

Finally, they need to give genuine time, effort and interest to opportunities to learn more about STEM careers – this might involve taking a non-credit bearing careers-related module at university.

The review has found that the reasons for the employment outcomes of some STEM graduates is more complicated than one headline statistic about what graduates are doing six months after they leave university might suggest.

Still, it has also found that there is a role and responsibility for students themselves in addressing some of the broader issues that the review has highlighted.”

If you want to see the original go to: http://blog.hefce.ac.uk/2016/05/17/science-and-technology-students-should-take-every-opportunity-to-enhance-their-employment/

 

 

 

New Partnership to Serve West Country Businesses

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Gradsouthwest, the South West’s graduate jobs board, has announced a new partnership with Business West, the leading provider of business support services in the South West.

The new partnership will provide local businesses with a quality service to access an unlimited pool of graduate talent. To celebrate this new partnership, recruiters in the West of England are invited to take advantage of a special 10% discount using code BW012016 until the end of July with Gradsouthwest.

The partnership is a fitting way to mark Gradsouthwest’s first anniversary as a private company. Founded in 2001 by university careers departments, the service is now managed by the former staff team who are passionate about the value graduates bring to the local economy.

Retaining strong campus links, Gradsouthwest attracts candidates from a wide range of universities and disciplines who share a desire to work in the South West.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Deborah Watson, Director of Gradsouthwest, said:

“We are delighted to be working with Business West and to feature as one of their impressive suite of business solutions. As a small business ourselves, we recognise just how critical high quality business support can be, and welcome the opportunity to assist other businesses in accessing talent to drive innovation and growth.”

Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, said:

“Gradsouthwest has an excellent reputation and is led by an experienced and passionate team. Youth unemployment remains a barrier to long term economic growth, and businesses tell us that the skills gap is hurting them day in day out. This platform addresses this issue by linking our young talent with businesses of all sectors and sizes. I am pleased to welcome them to our extensive network of partners.”

To find out more about Gradsouthwest, visit www.gradsouthwest.com , or contact the Business West Skills Team via  skills@businesswest.co.uk

LATEST GRADUATE JOBS BULLETIN (27 May 2016)

Some fabulous graduate jobs for you to apply for over the bank holiday weekend. All listed over at Gradsouthwest. Good luck!

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Latest Graduate Jobs Bulletin – 13 May 2016

Jobs are coming in thick and fast at the moment! If you’re looking for a job with a company that will value and use your graduate skill, check out the full list over at Gradsouthwest!

Here’s a taste of what’s on offer right now….

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Gradsouthwest becomes Business Provider on West of England Growth Hub

We are proud to announce that we have recently become a business support provider on the West of England Growth Hub, helping our local business community to grow sustainably.  Growth Hub Partner Logo

The resource works by creating a two-way referral and collaboration process between the West of England Growth Hub and the existing local business support infrastructure. Becoming a support provider to the West of England Growth Hub gives us the opportunity to offer our ‘one stop shop’ graduate recruitment service to a wider range of businesses.

Gradsouthwest features, alongside other services, on the fantastic new West of England Growth Hub website. It’s a great place to find out about local providers – and we recommend that businesses check it out to see how they might get involved and benefit.

The West of England Growth Hub is powered by Business West for The West of England LEP.

For more information visit: www.wearegrowth.co.uk or email: info@wearegrowth.co.uk.