Start Small or Dream Big? 4 Things To Consider When Searching for Your First Grad Job

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Securing the perfect graduate job in 2022 is a tricky affair. As competition amongst industry niches rise, there are now more than 100 applicants for every graduate position in the UK.

As employers adapt to a post-pandemic hiring surge, the stakes are high when it comes to securing a dream role. In a number of industries ranging from corporate to tech to state finance, graduates are now propelled through a series of tasks, interview stages and company inductions before being offered a full-time position within a business.

While the stakes have never been higher, so have the number of vacancies cropping up within a diverse range of industries. With a 15.7% increase in graduate vacancies since 2021 alone, graduates are using a global labour shortage to their advantage, as they narrow down a pool of positions to apply to.

analysis graduate vacancies

 (Image Source: High Fliers)

As you can see above, the start of 2022’s graduate recruitment cycle has rewarded job seekers with over 2000 more entry-level positions to choose from in comparison to a pre-pandemic labour market.

Leading the recruitment surge is accounting and professional services. Quickly followed up by the public sector, they have opened up their doors to more entry and trainee-based positions than any other industry, in a bid to gain a fresh perspective as we move into a new digitally-driven era of working.

analysis graduate vacancies

(Image Source: High Fliers)

Recruitment agency, Give A Grad A Go believes that the graduate market is prospering in 2022 for a number of reasons. Whether you attribute the hiring success to companies demanding a new digitally native workforce or pin the market’s growth to the ability to acquire cheap labour, it’s no secret that graduates are ruling the roost during this post-pandemic hiring surge.

“Where the pandemic has left many companies stuck in their old processes and confused with how to adapt, graduates offer a fresh new perspective,” claims Give A Grad A Go employee, Katie Clough.

“They have the drive and ambition to motivate the company towards the future, and, crucially, they’re easy to mould and keen for development opportunities which means they can grow with your business.”

Should Graduates Start Small Or Dream Big?

Does size matter when it comes to choosing the right graduate role? The answer is definitely. When applying for entry-level positions, graduates should be conscious of the experience they are hoping to gain for a new career venture.

With a number of pros and cons attributed to working in both a leading company and a smaller startup, applicants must consider what type of role best fits their skill set, personality and most importantly their career path.

For example, for a graduate looking to diversify their skills and achieve a speedy position growth, aiming for a smaller, startup company within the desired industry could be the most sensible choice. With the ability to work within various departments during the course of the position, startups are often a great place to try out a whole host of interlinking positions that will boost a CV for future roles.

On the other hand, graduates that appreciate a clear structure and the benefits of an industry giant’s reputation may be more comfortable working their way up within a larger, well-established company. While these roles may be harder to secure, the benefits package that comes with a mainstream position is most definitely worth the hassle.

What Else Should Gratutes Consider When Searching For Their First Job?

Graduates who are looking to progress to the next stage of their career must consider a range of determining factors before hitting the apply button. While it might seem as if an application frenzy is the only route to triumph, it’s important for graduates to take a step back and assess the potential pros and cons of their desired position.

Here are four things to consider before applying for your next graduate role:

1.   Is There Room For Growth?

 An entry role signifies the beginning of a new career journey. While graduates often have to start at the bottom, the right position would offer a number of growth opportunities that encourage a natural career progression.

Choosing between a company with a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset, graduates who want to see significant skill progression should work with a business that values constructive criticism and is always hatching new plans to expand.

2.   Have Other Graduates Had A Positive Experience?

While a graduate role vacancy may appear to offer you invaluable experience, it’s important to do your research before hitting apply. What values do the company stand for? What have previous graduates said about their experience as entry-level hires? Turning to employer review sites such as Glassdoor is a quick way to ensure the role is right for you.

3.   Will The Company Be Successful In 5 Years?

It’s also important to research your company’s plans for the future. Is their business progression in line with market trends, or could their product/service become redundant in the next few years? Graduates should slot themselves into an industry tipped for expansion, so their skills become valuable for future employment.

4.   What Skills Will You Gain?

Last but not least, graduates must prioritise their skill harvesting opportunities when choosing the right graduate role. In order to enjoy a smooth career path progression, a CV must be littered with a diverse set of soft and hard skills, ranging from communication to niche abilities that set an applicant apart from their competitors. The key here is to conduct research into what the graduate position entails. How does it utilise the skills gained during your degree, and what extra knowledge will you gain within the role. With a labour shortage at their fingertips, graduates must choose wisely when applying for their first entry position. From schemes to internships and trainee programs, the graduate job market is a diverse playing field, and rich with opportunity.