A Graduate’s Perspective

‘So what’s the plan now?’ is the question feared by all recent graduates. In 2014, 68% of students achieved a first or 2:1 as their final degree result and with ambition and confidence are setting out to obtain their next goal: a good job. With such a high proportion of graduates with good degrees it is fair to say that the jobs market is becoming even more competitive. Quite simply, having a university degree is no longer the key to standing out when applying for a job. A common misconception amongst undergraduates is the belief that their education will equate into employment. This is a belief installed by members of the baby boomer generation and those who went to university before the stats were as high as 68% of grads achieving a 2:1 or higher. Tony Blair was a firm believer in this ethos; may I remind you of his 1997 speech, ‘Education Education Education’. Being original has never been so important. The conundrum faced by graduates is that often there is a plethora of boxes that needs to be ticked to even be considered on the job market so being able to stick out from the crowd is, understandably, tricky. However, even gaining that iota of experience is becoming overly competitive, which is not only frustrating but disheartening. It is therefore important to be innovative and entrepreneurial so that new spaces in the professional world can be created for the numerous graduates. Aside from the limited number of companies looking to recruit graduates, another obstacle that stands between grads and employment is that their CVs often show a lack of real work experience. We are now past the age where a week here and there is much use, so volunteering and internships are naturally the way forward. This experience teaches skills which are much more useful in the working world than perhaps skills learnt through a university degree. The only problem is that if the bank of Mum and Dad is no longer open for business then this is a hardly sustainable route. At which point the best option is to turn to a job which realistically one could have done as a school leaver, but at least addresses the burden of university debt. This of course all appears rather negative. It can be argued that, yes, we can achieve whatever we want and that ‘the world is our oyster’. While it may appear like that from the perspective of those whom possess that opinion, you can be assured, that is not really the case from a graduate with student debt and little work experience to fall back on. But it is true that there are numerous diverse paths and opportunities which are new, but as I have illustrated there are rather a lot of graduates, so proportionally the opportunities are perhaps even smaller. A well-educated, underemployed workforce is readily available and somehow need to fit into the professional world. My advice to companies is strike whilst the iron is hot – we are yours for the taking!​ By Sophie Orr, Intern at Hanson Search

Related: Life as a Hanson Search Intern

This summer I had the privilege of interning at Hanson Search, a boutique executive search firm, also known as a headhunting company.

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