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.

“Competition for jobs among graduates is more intense than at any stage since 1993, with an average of 69 applications per graduate job,” he said. “But many graduates continue to put their chances of job success in jeopardy by their inability to make themselves stand out from the crowd. 

“With most large-scale graduate employers having scaled down their annual intake of newly qualified graduates over the last two years combined with the recently announced cut of some 490,000 public sector jobs over the next five years, the prospects for graduates looking for their first steps on the career ladder seem to be muted at best,” said MacKenzie-Cummins. 

“But they can improve their prospects by understanding what employers are really looking for and marking themselves accordingly.”

According to MacKenzie-Cummins, looking for a job is an exercise in marketing whereby the product (the job seeker) must match the requirements that the buyer (the employer) is looking for. Employers don’t want to read a never-ending list of skills on a CV; they want the CV to answer one simple question: What will this person do for my business?

“Graduate applicants need to demonstrate that they have as many of the key skills needed for the role they are applying for by bring them to life. So instead of listing what is little more than a set of adjectives, explain how you have used these skills in a work situation,” said MacKenzie-Cummins.

“Some of these skills could have been gained through non-work related activities or during a work experience placement – you are selling your ‘potential’ not necessarily your ‘proven’ ability.” 

This week the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) revealed that graduate unemployment is at its highest in 17 years at 8.9 per cent. Their report, entitled What Do Graduates Do?, found that over the last year, graduate unemployment has risen by a further 21,020 students who graduated in 2009 and were known to be without work in January 2010. The last time it reached this level was 1993 (10.5 per cent).

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About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: Monster.com CareerBuilder.com MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs SalesTarget.co.uk IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

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