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Graduate Recruitment: Where to Start?

In a previous post we hinted that being great is unfortunately not enough.

We’re opening up the floor to anyone who did job hunting in the 1970s to disagree with us, but back then it was not quite uncommon simply to hand in a CV, do a firm handshake and receive a job offer. A few decades later, we would happily compare the process for successfully getting onto a grad job/scheme to be dependent on a mix of the perseverance from The Hunger Games, the aggressiveness in Game of Thrones and the wardrobe from Suits.

Having set the scene, we wanted to share our views on where one should start – whether you’re an eager first-year student who is lucky enough to be fed with cupcakes by employers on campus events so you join their spring week event; an eloquent second-year student who feels like titling their next exciting summer as ’56 days of internship’; an immaculate final-year student who knows that applications start 12-15 months before the joining date of a grad scheme; a recent graduate who explored south east Asia and decided that backpacking could be saved for their forthcoming quarter-life crisis.

(Who you are)
Get to know you. Ask yourself the big questions on: money versus long hours; start-up versus big firm; dynamics versus job security; a strict corporate culture versus a more lenient one; woollen suits versus chinos. If you start seeing a pattern in those answers, then narrowing down the industry, sector or companies you would go for, should be an easier job.

(Where you are)
Doing a self-assessment is probably quite a difficult task, yet an essential one before the job hunt begins. Whether you have studied in the UK or abroad, certain names (in educational or work context) mean more than others and admittedly, this injustice is here to stay. If you find that an upgrade of your current educational/application status is needed, then proceeding with an additional internship or part-time work with top-tier brand or doing a master’s at an established university, could give you that necessary cutting edge.

(Who do you want to become)
Find a mentor and/or a team. Jim Rohn’s view that ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’ couldn’t be more precise in the context of defining your aspirations. And here comes a personal story. We, Suits and Books, have been extremely lucky to be surrounded by people who have encouraged us to dream big, set goals, dare to go far beyond what we have thought is simply ‘good enough’ for us. Without a support group of any kind, falling into a precarious comfort zone, is easily done.

(Who they are)
Prepare to spend each night with a different employer. As promiscuous as that may sound, doing your industry research from the screen of your laptop is bottom-line ineffective. We must admit that going on a career–events frenzy is not always productive, but attending some company presentations, participating in skills workshops and signing up for events at the company’s office is possibly your best opportunity to get the insight you have been looking for.

(Where they are)
Rankings matter – yet whether you’re applying for a master’s degree or for a grad scheme, we would always encourage you to think of your Plan A and of a contingent Plan B bundle. No all consulting companies are the same, nor are FCMGs. Aspiring high is probably the best start, but being realistic is as important. While you would hear us write about the ‘top-tier’ quite a lot, we would like you to think in the context of your own ‘top-tier’, the one you have decided is the best fit, whether this will be ‘coolness’, pay or promotion opportunities you’re seeking.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

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