Antiquated resources and ineffective education establishments are killing graduate prospects

Let me start by saying that I’m no expert in Graduate recruitment, nor would I ever have the gumption to profess that I am. However, I like to think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to offering careers advice: I was the lead careers writer for Monster when they won the Best Employment Advice on the Internet award an unprecedented three consecutive years, and my articles have appeared across a range of media, including MSN, Men’s Health, Woman magazine, TotalJobs, and I was technical editor for the highly acclaimed Job Hunting and Career Change for Dummies. OK, credentials to speak on this matter over with, I find myself increasingly alarmed and concerned over this whole issue of graduate recruitment per se. Let me explain a little more of what I mean.

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Brand Aid: How to get your employer branding right in recruitment advertising

In today’s cut-throat job marketplace with employment at an all-time high, employers are competing with one another to attract the best candidates for their vacancies. The unimaginative identikit recruitment adverts that once dominated the job pages for years are being replaced by skilfully crafted and well designed formats aimed at maximising employer branding in the quest to be an ‘employer of choice.’

Matthew Jeffrey, global director of talent brand for Electronic Arts (EA), addressed members of The FIRM [Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers] at an event in London recently. He argued that brand was essentially linked to emotions – particularly when recruitment is concerned. Echoing findings  from the CIPD which have revealed that companies are still struggling to attract, recruit, engage and retain talent for their organisations. Yet, despite the success of employer branding as a concept, many companies are failing to measure its effectiveness and demonstrate a return-on-investment. So, how can you ensure that your recruitment advertising is communicating the right message to attract the candidates that you need?

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Job boards guilty of recycling careers advice

With almost 30% of job seekers visiting a job board to obtain careers advice and key industry information, isn’t it about time that job boards provide current and appropriate guidance to people rather than recycling the plethora of careers advice articles that have done the rounds since time and memorial?

Perhaps I am cutting my nose off to spite my face, however, as a careers advice writer for several of the top 10 UK and US job boards I have written over 600 articles covering all aspects of workplace issues and job hunting strategies. Yet a minority of the articles I have been commissioned to produce since the onset of the current economic downturn have been aimed at how job seekers can find a job in a recession.

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Job application fraud continues to rise as job seekers resort to desperate measures

It is universally agreed that the last two years have been the toughest and arguably most competitive jobs marketplace during the post-war era. But despite the proverbial ‘green shoots’ of recovery promising a better, more prosperous future it seems that some job seekers are still prepared to do whatever they can to gain a competitive advantage over the rivals – even if that means committing ‘job application fraud.’ Read more of this post

Unemployed graduates must ‘sell’ themselves to get a job

Graduates who are struggling to find work need to learn how to sell themselves to employers and change their game plan if they are serious about finding work, says a leading careers and recruitment expert. Responding to yesterday’s news that unemployment among graduates in England and Wales is at its highest in almost two decades, Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, one of the UK’s leading careers experts and director of Newport-based MacKenzie-Cummins PR – Wales’s only PR firm specialising in the recruitment industry, said that today’s graduates lack the know-how to get a job.

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Why the Construction Industry is looking for growth overseas

(This is an article I wrote for the UKTI’s Autumn 2010 edition of Springboard Magazine)

The UK construction industry is simply huge. Employing some 3 million people across a multitude of disciplines in more than 300,000 different companies, the industry has an annual turnover of more than £100bn and accounts for almost 10 per cent of the UK’s GDP. And despite being one of the sectors hardest hit by the recent economic downturn, output in the construction industry experienced its biggest rise since 1963 in the second quarter of 2010 with a jump of 6.6 per cent on the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.

With such a dramatic rebound from what had been a poor start to the year the construction industry’s performance has exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts from economists -stimulated by strong performances reported from some of the UK’s biggest construction firms.

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The recent economic downturn provided the catalyst for a record growth in the number of recruitment entrepreneurs eager to go it alone, according to MacKenzie-Cummins Communications, Wales’s leading specialist public relations consultancy for the recruitment industry. 

Despite the last two years being one of the most challenging periods the recruitment industry has faced, with 1 in 5 recruitment consultancies throughout Wales and the rest of the UK forced to shut up shop permanently, the number of people starting their own recruitment agencies has more than doubled (up 117 per cent) since 2005. 

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Creative and digital media specialists are fast-becoming some of the most sought-after workers for human resources departments throughout Wales as employers struggle to keep up with the pace of technological advancements that are rapidly changing the way they attract and retain staff irrevocably, according to a leading recruitment specialist. 

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, one of the UK’s leading employment and careers experts and director of Newport-based MacKenzie-Cummins Communications – Wales’s only and the UK’s second biggest PR firm specialising in the recruitment industry, has found that there is a significant lack of creative and digital talent available to help HR departments meet the challenges of recruitment in the increasingly tech-driven era.

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1 in 3 workers reveal redundancy fears

A new report published today has revealed that almost 1 in 3 (31 per cent) of all workers in the UK still fear the loss of their jobs through redundancy. Yet it would seem that many employees continue to put their own career at risk. 

The research commissioned by Abbey Legal Protection and conducted by The Protection Gap also found that over a third (36%) of senior managers and almost half (42%) of executives without management responsibility identified redundancy as an existing concern. But what strikes me is that although more than half a million British workers will be ‘let go’ from their jobs every year and the air of uncertainty that still lingers in the current climate, why are some people seemingly playing a waiting game rather than proactively taking steps to safeguard their jobs if and when redundancy strikes?

There are an umpteen number of career advice articles offering a plethora of job search techniques that you can utilise to maximise your employment opportunities – I should know because I’ve written a large proportion of them for the likes of Monster, TotalJobs and CareerBuilder et al. But few talk about how to actually keep hold of the job you already have.

Yes, I know that job boards are money-making machines whose sole purpose is to create a ‘must get a new, different job’ mindset, however, there is the criticism that they are actively encouraging people to jump ship and swim to the land of milk and honey that is a new job rather than getting people to take a look at their present situation and helping them to consolidate and build upon what they already have – why create a need when there isn’t one?

So without turning this post into some kind of Tolstoyesque-length rant, here are my top tips for safeguarding your job against redundancy: 

  1. Have a clear goal for what you want out of your career and where you want to take it – researchers at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 350,000 executives and discovered that the top 10 per cent performers worked to a plan and as a result, were also the happiest workers.
  2. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you are not irreplaceable, because you are – identify our key skills and position yourself as an expert in a particular aspect of your job and be good at the things others are bad at. 
  3. Lead by example – If you have demonstrated that you are a solid performer who can be relied upon to meet your targets, position yourself as the person your boss can turn to when new starters join the company. Act as a mentor and offer to help them to find their feet, accompany them on meetings for example, and be the person they can turn to without them having to go to the boss. This will raise your profile in the office and will earn the appreciation of your manager who has a busy enough schedule as it is. 
  4. Brush up on your networking and social media skills – if the recession has taught us anything it’s that business is very much a case of who you know. So put yourself forward as the person who will happily mingle with the key players in your industry both online and offline.
  5. Avoid the office neg-heads like the plague and don’t allow yourself to be drawn into their sphere of negativity – keep your own attitude in check and focus on the things that make you happiest instead of dwelling on the bad elements at work.

Industry Guide Part 2: Legal

Part 2 of our insight into the Legal profession takes a look at the qualifications and skills that employers look for in a candidate for a wide variety of roles, what makes a good legal CV, interview preperation, and what career goals you should set yourself in your new legal career.

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