It is a challenging time for graduates to be entering the job market. The competition for jobs is more intense than ever, and graduates must deal with a host of different challenges in a rapidly changing environment. There is now a much greater onus on maximising your profile and utilising as many different recruitment avenues as possible. Graduates must make use of every tool at their disposal to give them the best chance of finding employment after finishing their education.

It is important to recognise that given the current labour market environment the number of opportunities out there will depend heavily on the industry you are trained to work in. Certain industries are doing better than others. More job vacancies exist in ICT, medical technology, the biopharmaceutical industries, international financial services, and language roles, than in other sectors of the economy. Science, engineering and ICT graduates have the best prospects of quickly finding a job out of university. However, no matter what area you are qualified in there are certain things you need to do if you wish to successfully apply for a job.

Get your CV right

Until you have your CV updated and fit for purpose you are not seriously on the job market. Getting your CV right is the foundation for any successful job search. You should alter your CV to suit the job criteria of the position you are applying for. Detail your academic achievements based on what the employer is looking for, whether this means highlighting certain modules you have studied, or outlining your thesis topic. Identify the skills you have gained while at university. Your time in university has provided you with more than your academic qualification. You will most likely have learned presentation skills, written and oral communication skills, research skills, computer skills, and other general capabilities depending on your area of study. Employers will often give consideration to achievements that reflect a broad range of abilities and interests that could contribute to the organisation. You need to be selective in what you add. Activities that show an ability to lead/manage people (sports, student politics, or societies), advanced written or communication skills (college paper), and technical training or fluency in a foreign language (learned through an exchange programme or volunteer work), are all positive assets. Do not provide a long list of minor achievements; one or two select accomplishments will suffice.


Bridge the experience gap with an internship. As a graduate, it can be disheartening to constantly see jobs advertised looking for a minimum of 1-3 years’ experience. You may wonder how anyone can gain that experience in the first place if nobody is willing to hire new graduates. The best way to overcome this is to complete an internship. An internship will give you the opportunity to gain experience that will impress employers. It can also give you a more realistic understanding of the demands of a career in your chosen field, as well as enhance your skills, and provide you with a professional reference.

Social Media and Networking

Use social media to broaden your job search. Networking is increasingly conducted online. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are being used by employers and job seekers as another tool in the recruitment process. Job seekers can research the companies they are interested in, join similar networks, and seek introductions through common friends/associates. They can familiarise themselves with companies and industries to get a clearer understanding of the expectations involved in working for that company. You need to carefully manage your profile on all social media. Employers often take advantage of these sites in order to evaluate clients in more depth. It is important, therefore, that you do not have any material posted online that employers will find off-putting. LinkedIn is the most popular way for recruiters to use social media to source talent. Graduates should set up a good LinkedIn profile, frequently updating it to keep it active and relevant. Social media allow for a much broader reach than traditional networks, they have the capacity to organise and manage a greater level of activity, which will increase your chances of finding employment.

Recruitment Agencies

Many companies now shift the burden of recruitment almost entirely onto recruitment agencies; they often manage every stage of the recruitment process from sourcing and screening candidates, through the interview and selection process. They know what companies are looking for, and they are a valuable tool that graduates can use to learn the jobseeking skills they need, including CV building and interview techniques. They also provide access to job vacancies as they arise, giving you an advantage over the competition. Maintain a relationship with your recruitment agencies, visit their website frequently, and contact them about the job postings you are interested in.

Graduates are confronting tougher obstacles to gaining employment in recent years, facing greater competition over fewer roles. You must utilise every jobseeking tool at your disposal in order to maximise your recruitment potential. Best of luck with the job search.

For more information on CV tips and interview tips please review

Niall Murray

Managing Director

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services