Careers and Placements Behind the Scenes: Graduate Support

Guest BloggerFinal Year, Graduates

The Careers Graduate Team are Adam Janickyj (Graduate Employability Consultant), Freya Jensen (Graduate Employability Coordinator) and Sandeep Malhi (Graduate Re-Tune Consultant). Together we’ve got loads of experience working with students, graduates, recruiters and employers from different sectors – both in the UK and abroad.

Each of us remember exactly what it was like being where you are right now. Your graduation may already feel like it was ages ago, all the effort you’ve put into your job search just hasn’t paid off, and now you’re wondering “What do I do now?”, feeling at a loss as to how to move forward.

Does it surprise you to know that we all went through that, too? Yes, we may be in jobs that we love now, but in fact we do what we do because we remember exactly how tough it is to be where you are now and not have anyone to turn to for help!

Why does Careers and Placements have a Graduate Team?
Careers and Placements helps Aston students with all of their career-related questions from the day they first walk onto our campus. We also know that many of you only really start thinking about your next steps after you’ve left your busy student life behind and finally have time to focus on what comes next.  It’s for that very reason –  instead of simply waving you off with a ‘Congratulations and good luck!’ when you get your hard-earned diploma – that the Careers Graduate Team are here, available to answer any and all of your career-related questions in the months and first few years after you graduate.

A day in the life of our team
In our daily work, not only do we help grads perfect their CVs and cover letters, prep them for interviews and develop and run career-related workshops, we also have lots of conversations with graduates on all different kinds of topics. Sometimes the grads who get in touch with us have a good idea of what they want to cover – like getting feedback on a CV or a job application. Other times they don’t – and that’s ok! You don’t have to know exactly what you want to get out of your conversation with us when you get in touch.

Do you just want a bit of encouragement that you’re on the right track and doing the right things? Or maybe you want someone who can brainstorm with you and help you come up with ideas about how to move your job search forward? That’s why we’re here!

What are some of the things grads have asked us?
Do you have something on your mind that you think you’d like to talk about, but don’t really know how to ask it? Maybe it will help to read about a few of the things we’ve covered with other grads that have come to us for help recently:

“I’ve been applying for jobs related to my degree, but now I think I’d actually like to do something different. Will I be eligible for those jobs if I don’t have a relevant degree?”
It’s actually a really good idea to keep an open mind about jobs you’d like to apply for and explore opportunities in areas you hadn’t previously considered. Not only will this greatly expand your job search, but many employers are actually most interested in your transferable skills and not in the specific degree you have. Have you seen a job that sounds like it’d be really interesting, but it’s in a sector you haven’t applied to before? Go for it! We’d be happy to help you figure out how to sell the experience and skills you have to fit the role.

“I’ve looked on all the major job boards, but can’t find many jobs to apply to. Can you help?”
When speaking to grads we often hear the same job boards mentioned. These well-known job boards are of course really useful, but did you know there are other ‘hidden’ resources out there just waiting to be used? We actually have run a regular session on ‘The Hidden Job Market’ and have gathered loads of tips and tricks we can share with you to help you find a great grad job.

“I’ve applied to so many jobs, but I’m just not hearing anything back from the companies I applied to. Am I doing something wrong?”
It’s definitely frustrating when you spend lots of time on an application, then hear nothing back from an employer. Unfortunately, most of them are simply too busy to respond with details about each application, so it’s not anything that you’ve done wrong. Any one of us from the Careers Graduate Team would be happy to go through an application with you  – either before you submit it to make sure you’re doing all the right things or afterwards to give you some of the feedback you were looking for from an employer.

“I really want a graduate-level job, but I don’t think I can apply to any of the ones I’ve found since I don’t have the right experience or skills.”
Many employers will ask for the experience and skills they’d like to see in an ideal candidate, but keep in mind that the ideal candidate often doesn’t exist so it’s about finding the best possible fit. When you find a role that interests you, think about how the experience and skills you do have that match that role and how you can sell them in the right way. Don’t know exactly how to do that? Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you figure out how to match your background to the role in the best way possible.

Are you thinking you might like to have a chat with us, but just don’t know what to ask? Check out Aston Futures to book an appointment with one of us or drop a line on careersgradteam@aston.ac.uk. We’d really love to hear from you!