An Insider's guide to impressing potential employers
David Broderick has interviewed thousands of graduates as manager of Ibec's Export Orientation Programme (EOP). Employers are hiring again and now they are actively competing for talent. So his advice is, when you get the call for interview, make sure you have lots to tell them about how you spent your college years making yourself more employable and how you will be an asset to their company. He says the majority of learning can happen outside of class, but how?
Published 18/08/2014 | 06:00
Employers are hiring again and now they are actively competing for talent. So when you get the call for interview make sure you have lots to tell them about how you spent your college years making yourself more employable and how you will be an asset to their company.
Languages, languages languages. If you have a second language you will automatically have an edge. This does not necessarily mean that you need to be fluent - but it would help. Nearly every company deals with an international environment, depending on the sector you want to join after you leave college, a good conversational level of a language other than English will help you get that dream job.
Most colleges now offer extra language course or modules. Take the initiative, put in the extra bit of time. It will pay off. If they don't, you can do short courses in a language training centre, investigate the possibility of doing a night course or take advantage of one of the many online courses available.
Use your summer to spend time in a different country. Not only is this the most effective way to improve language skills but it also shows employers that you are capable of living and working with different cultures. It shows independence and adaptability.
Do an internship
Practical hands-on experience gives you a chance to prove yourself and learn on the job. If you can not get this through your course you should try to get an internship during the summer.
Improve your communication skills- written and verbal. Employers are constantly telling me that graduates need to improve their communication skills both written and verbal. So if there is any opportunity, and believe me there will be plenty during your next few years, grab it with both hands. Don't shy away from presentations or report writing in your groups over the next few years, see them as a perfect opportunity to be constantly improving. Or get involved with the college paper or debating society.
Clubs and societies
More and more I notice that employers are focusing on the way students have spent their colleges years. Did they waste it sitting on a bar stool? Or did they get out there and get involved in a club or a society. Better still did they get involved in running one? This shows employers that you can work with budgets, work as part of a team and use some sales and marketing skills to get new members or promote events.
Visit your career services or career development centre
The career service in your college is the best resource that you have available to you over the next few years. They will help you along the path of making a decision as to what you want to do with your life after college. Once you decide on your path they will help and guide you along your chosen route. They will invite companies onto campus so you can meet with them, set up open days (or usually weeks in most cases now) as well as a number of initiatives that will help you become more employable. When you do decide what companies you are going to target they will even help you with your CV, cover letter preparation as well as share interview hints and tips. You would be mad not to use a resource like that!