For graduates this year has been very difficult from an employment perspective, and still is.
As many of you will have read, BT has been in the headlines recently regarding their Summer Graduate Recruitment Campaign which received over 2,500 applicants for just 8 places. When it comes to competition for jobs, it doesn’t get much tougher than this. Even those who graduated in the 1980s and 1990s and who may have additional qualifications by now should feel lucky they don’t have 300+ other people to compete with. University graduation ceremonies have finished, colleges and schools have given out their GCSE and ‘A’ level grades, and tens of thousands of people have results which they and everyone else should be celebrating.
“Wow”, what a great achievement and hopefully you will get success from it in the future. Kylies song of the same name in 2007 has certainly brought her success, although the road has not always been that smooth for her. Whilst she outwardly shows a positive and upbeat character, she has also had many setbacks. Against this though, she is someone who has always fought back, and this is something all job hunters need to do, especially graduates in the current climate.
One question I often get asked is which academic achievements to put on a CV, and which to leave off. Some people I know brush off their degree as not that relevant anymore, and some leave it off because they feel their grades were not that impressive. As a graduate in todays job market though, everyone should appreciate what you have achieved and the first rule of thumb is to make sure you put both your degree name and grade on there, and the institution you went to !
Even if you missed out on a higher grade by just one or two percentage points, say so on your CV otherwise the reader will not know and they may be more sympathetic towards you. You should still be positive and upbeat about what you have achieved, and yes, shout about it – it has taken 3 years out of your life, if not longer for some subjects. The most disheartening thing when I read the Education / Academics part of a CV is when people don’t write them down at all, or miss off grades on purpose.
When no degree grades are shown on a CV I always assume the result is a 3rd and most times I am right, but not always. On occasions when I have clarified this with some candidates, I find out they achieved a 2i or 2ii and didn’t put it on their CV because they felt disappointed (they were expecting a 1st). Even if you were hoping for a higher grade, it might still be enough for some employers to consider you if you were just one or two points away, but you need to state this on your CV.
McGinnis Loy was recently tasked with sourcing graduates for two Finance roles in an IT business, and I was astounded by the volume of applicants. Even graduates who live over 200 miles away from where the jobs were located applied. I thought it was competitive enough for professionals to try and secure a new job, but it is certainly worse for this years graduates. However, appreciate what you have achieved over the last 3+ years, and now you have your degree - wow, what a milestone. Please remember to put your grades on your CV though, so recruiters and potential employers don’t have to guess them !
Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams. As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today. Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @McGinnisLoy