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10 Steps To Employment For Graduates #graduates #graduatedesigners #digitaljobs #creativejobs

I know, having gained over 9 years experience in Digital and Creative recruitment, just how hard it is for all Graduates who come out of University full of hope and enthusiasm, to just to get knocked back at every recruiters door and so much so it has pressed me to share with you the advice I offer them and I call this my '10 Vital Steps To Employment For Graduates'.

I always respond to all students who reach out to me at Sharpe (even though I can't place them) as I know they are embarking on a challenging journey into the world of employment and they have taken an unknown step towards this by contacting a scary Recruiter at an even more scary place...a Recruitment Agency as they are keen for that first break into the workplace (I admire this bravery ;)).

I couldn't keep bursting bubbles about how difficult it is to get started and having to use cliches like 'it's chicken and egg' and so decided to utilise my Biz Dev and Creative Media experience and do something pro active and practical to help them on their journey, anyway I have been helping Media students for years mentoring and advising how to break into a very difficult industry so I knew I had no excuse and besides I love it and want to help!

Now I know I have achieved this when I look at the recommendations on my Linkedin Profile and website and how it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing I have call me selfish!

These 10 steps are focused on Creatives but the theory can be applied to all students and I usually start by saying something like 'unfortunately we wouldn't be able to help you a find a role at the moment as our client base is very niche and they look for candidates with relevant work experience so I don't want to waste your time.

Then I have to be even more honest with...'I feel awful informing you of this brick wall situation but I am only being honest and right now what you need is honesty...and ideally some solutions so here you go and hope you find it informative'

So if you have stayed focused with me then here we go and hope you take this on board and pass it on and don't forget I am here to help...

1). I recommend you find a company who will let you gain some work experience even if it's unpaid as I can hand on heart tell you these are the candidates who get work the quickest.

2). Persist and keep asking as those who shout the loudest usually finally get a response.

3). Put a strategy together and then implement it!

Give it a name and a deadline of 4 weeks.

Don't procrastinate or just keep working in a role that has nothing to do with your chosen career, you need to earn money, yes and put food on the table but right now you need to be thinking about your career and what you have dreamed of doing and making it a reality before your CV is way off track and how potential employers will not view you as focused and committed to the job in hand.

4). Keep your Portfolio up to date. This is so important for all designers and I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to keep your visuals up to date or your explanations of design to solve and produce good UX / UI. Every time you create something new and you are happy with it, add it!

HARD FACT - Employers always look at your portfolio FIRST. If they like the look of it they will then read about you! Harsh I know but if you think about it it's just practical to do it that way, why waste time on a CV if you don't like the look of the visuals!

5). Research via Google, the potential agencies or companies you would like to work for and compile a list of your top ten.

6). Call them, you can gleam a lot from their websites as the often display 'The Team', find the person you would like to talk to, Head of Design, Studio Manager etc and ask them how would you go about sending your portfolio for their records and do they have an email you could send your details over on.

7). If you don't get passed the 'gate keeper' don't give up, find an email for the person you want to speak to, dig around on linkedin or twitter, we are all out there in some shape of form.

8). Compile an email telling them you have researched them online and really like the work they are producing but only every be honest, it's the only way!

Ask them for their advise and what journey did they go on to be doing what they are doing.

Offer to do a project for them or a weeks unpaid work, say 'you really want to move your career forwards' and if they are too busy then 'would they maybe let you shadow them or one of their designers for a week, be CREATIVE, you are representing yourself as one, just try and get your foot in the door then it's down to you if you can impress them enough to let you stay a while and carry out a project for them.

Offering unpaid time makes it much harder for employees to say no, especially if they are worth their salt, as they know how hard it is to get on the ladder and what a 'chicken and egg' process it can be so go and pull some heart strings and believe me your hard work will be rewarded!

9). If you get no response from your email in 5 working days call them the following week and ask if they received your email and portfolio. If they say 'yes but we are not hiring' then say 'I am not looking for a job, I really want to gain some experience and prepared to do it unpaid, you have the potential to help me please'...see how they react but try and appreciate they are busy and don't have a lot of time to talk to you so choose your words carefully and always be polite.

10). Finally - DON'T GIVE UP - it will happen and you will get a job!

Follow up with another email a week later asking their advise 

I hope these 10 steps help you or please pass it on to someone you know who needs a helpful guide and I always finish with 'Please do come back to me and let me know how you get on, I genuinely do care and happy to mentor if you are happy to put the effort in'.

When you do have 6 months relevant experience in your chosen career path your CV will start to take shape and who knows, we may be able to help you move forward.

Best Wishes

Julie Sharpe