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The barriers to getting the ideal graduate job

For graduates, it can be difficult to seal the deal without the correct skills required for interviews and other forms of testing. Source: rawpixel (via Unsplash)

By Boadicea Dowd

An increasing number of school-leavers are choosing the university path, which means it is becoming harder to achieve an edge when applying to internships or graduate-level jobs. Many are spreading themselves thin when it comes to extra-curricular activities alongside their degree, whether it be joining sports teams, learning languages or supporting themselves through part-time jobs. And yet many employers will only consider students if they can do all of this and maintain a 2:1. Even after achieving this, many fall short when it comes to job applications. An increase in online applications and use of personality quizzes or scenario tests means that a lot of people are rejected before they even meet the employer.

Although this means that companies can skim through applications quicker, it reduces the personal aspect of the hiring process and it can create false impressions of the applicants to employers. All the extra effort is lost to an algorithm. Unfortunately, as there will always be a high demand for jobs, especially those available to students or graduates, employers are able to test people however they wish. In some respects, if you fail a personality quiz at least you know sooner that you are not eligible for the job, rather than having to anxiously wait to hear a response. The issue is that you have already submitted a long application which is simply wasted. Companies should be encouraged to reverse how they organise aspects of their application.

As a second-year student hoping to get a summer internship, I find it tiring to constantly apply to jobs only to get a basic rejection with no personalised feedback. Understandably, many companies do not have the time to offer lengthy feedback, but all those rejected need to know the main reason they were not successful in order to help them develop. We students are not in the bargaining seat, so we just have to endure whatever gruelling application process employers choose.

There are ways to make it easier though. After attending a sponsored university workshop on video interviews, it did not appear as daunting as it initially sounds. Cardiff University offers many services aiding career development, ranging from improving your CV, practising interviews or arranging local work experience. Make it a new term’s resolution to attend just one of these because it will help you remain confident in applications, no matter how overwhelming they might seem.

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