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Recruiters are looking for students who stand out

Recruiters are looking for students who stand out

What more can I do to get a job?
I don’t know what more I can do – I have studied hard, done well and been pro-active in my search for employment.

Record numbers of young people are not in education, work or training, according to government figures released today. With all this talk of a “lost generation”,  graduates want to point out that it’s not just school drop-outs who lack motivation or skills that are struggling. As many graduates can testify, even the educated and focused ones amongst them are struggling to get a foot on the career ladder.

Graduates must take employment fairs seriously and work to project a good first impression.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, or so the saying goes, and when it comes to meeting employers these words certainly ring true. At a careers fair, you will meet many employers over a short period of time and it’s therefore vital to ensure that the image you project is the one you want them to see.

“Attending careers fairs works well for us because we can see straightaway the shining star in the group,” says many recruiters. “From the beginning, we are walking through the crowds looking for those people who stand out, so graduates should work hard to impress us as soon as they walk in.

“We are hoping to find people to fill management-in-training roles, so we are looking for very friendly, outgoing, and intelligent graduates, who are interested in adventure, working hard and playing hard. We find that meeting them in the flesh is better than looking at a CV.”

Of course, each industry sector will be coveting different qualities in prospective candidates. Whereas one might be concentrating on presentation and leadership skills through observing graduates’ behaviour away from the stands, another might be prioritising organisational skills and be considering how much background information you have acquired about their company.

One thing most employers agree on is that it’s important to take the fair seriously if you want to progress.
“Treat the recruitment fair as if you had your own business and imagine what kind of people you would look for,” says Mr Mamashela, director of Mamashela Consulting and Projects.

“For us, if a graduate comes across as someone who is dressed in a suit, who is there at the beginning of the day and arrives prepared with their CV, then it’s very positive.

“If they are wearing jeans and rushing around different stands at 4pm with a hastily prepared CV,” he warns, “you can tell they would treat your business in a similar way if you gave them an opportunity.”

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