You graduates are wonderful for recruiters to work with; you’re bright, enthusiastic, sparky and hungry to get your career kick started into action.
This is fantastic, and exactly what we as recruiters are looking for when we speak to you. BUT (there is always a ‘but’ when there is something so positive to begin with) this is also the potential point of your undoing!
Just because a recruiter has approached you with a role doesn’t mean you’re the ideal fit. Perhaps you worked on one PHP project in your first year many moons ago, and now you’re professing you are a PHP guru at the drop of a hat!
There is of course nothing wrong with showing your enthusiasm, but you need to focus more on selling your best bits; your strongest skills, favourite interests and work history. As a recruiter, even when you don’t think something is important to mention, we use those nuggets of golden information to piece together what you’re really going to be happy in. After all, that is our job.
So the more specific you can be the better. You may wonder why we want to know the ins and outs of your university projects, but seeing as we’re the ones who put your name forward for the role, you have to impress us first. The key areas we want evidence for are as follows:
The project aim – What was the purpose of this project, what outcome were you hoping to achieve?
Your contribution – What did you personally do within the project, what features did you specifically work on?
How you did it – What technologies you used to complete your work, and how they worked in conjunction with one another to achieve your project aim.
Again, it may seem thorough, but we need the evidence that what you’ve said is a solid reflection of your capabilities and experience. It’s also the perfect opportunity to really sell yourself and your skills; for example, if you took on more responsibilities within the team due to a lazy team member, don’t hesitate to take ownership of your input! We also want to know your opinions on the project – did you enjoy it? Did you discover you enjoyed one stage more than another? If so, why was that?
If you provide reasons behind every answer you give, you will make sure you stand out from the crowd. Being a closed book will only slim your chances of finding the role that’s right for you. This is not to suggest we want to delve into your life’s history, but if it concerns your career, your experiences, then of course we want to know what is driving your interests and passions.
You should not avoid talking to recruiters. If you’ve made your presence known on job boards and such, recruiters are going to assume you’re open to talking about new roles. So don’t be cagey, vague or evasive, we’re only trying to help and inform! If you act like you don’t want to talk, chances are you’re going to be ruled out of the running for a potentially great job opportunity, as well as future roles. It’s best to be 100% honest and be 100% flexible.
Some of you may have a million-dollar swagger too! While not always bad, arrogance is a turn off; you should leave talking about money to the recruiter and avoid name dropping any large companies you’ve interned at.
By the end of your university time, you should have a clear idea of what you want and don’t want. If we contact you regarding a role and it isn’t right for you, tell us what is! While a lot of recruiters just leave it at that, we’ll work our butts off to match you to the right role. As part of this, make sure your CV is fresh, well-formatted and relevant to the career you want to do. For example, if you want to work in Frontend Development, it’s less important to focus on Backend and software languages.
Try to be open minded; be receptive to what you hear from recruiters, because you might just like it!