Graduate jobs: how to become a top candidate

Graduate jobs: how to become a top candidate

As a student or graduate from school or university, work readiness is a hot topic worth investigating. However, there are other ways that you can start to add more to your CV in preparation for the working world. These will put you a cut above the rest when employers are looking for the right employee to take on board. 

There are many options and ways to enhance your CV before you even apply for internships, graduate work programs or your first job. The ideas we share below are not only inspiring but if you execute some of them, they are also valuable credentials to add to your work experience. If you’re looking for ideas for your gap year, then explore some of these options to gain as much exposure, experience and as many connections as you can. It all adds up in the end and you ultimately grow in character, work ethic and in maturity. Characteristics all companies seek for new employees.

The value of job shadowing

Job shadowing may have been something your high school curriculum embraced as a way to expose you to the world of working in your possible chosen career. If this was the case, did you appreciate the value of that experience? When you job shadow, you’re given access to connections and experience that you wouldn’t otherwise get. Think about the people you might meet shadowing a big shot CA or a graphic designer or any other professional already established in their career. Those connections are valuable and may be your foot in the door when it comes to job applications. When you job shadow, you will gain experience in your own work ethic, professionalism and interpersonal skills. You’ll also learn how to work under a supervisor and manage your time well to get tasks done. 

Short-term internships 

As a student, it can be easy to get so bogged down in school or university or college work that you forget about other potential opportunities.  Taking time out to do an internship can open up doors for you in the working world and give you exposure to how companies operate in your field. Look out for short-term internships or other shorter training programs in your field of choice. Explore some options and attend workshops when you can. The experience and exposure will pay off in the long run.

Short courses and micro-credentials

Taking on short courses can set you up for a win in the future, and can set you a cut above the rest when you’re looking for work. If you haven’t heard of micro-credentials, then it’s worth looking into. Micro-credentials is a new buzz word in the hiring world as employers are no longer ignoring smaller achievements on your CV. These are as valuable as having short courses on your CV - they show a potential employer that your knowledge is up to date, you take initiative and enjoy learning, you know how to manage time and that you’re interested in your chosen field. All of these aspects will make you an excellent applicant for work in the future. 

Local volunteer work

When you have the opportunity and the time, embrace the world of volunteering for a charity organisation or NPO. Perhaps you could lead youth at your local church or teach sports at the community centre nearby. If your interest is with animals then spend some time loving them at the nearest animal shelter. Aside from doing good, this kind of activity can inspire you and will give your brain some much needed creative rest. 

Volunteer work also looks great on a CV and it’s something you can gain a great reference from as well. When you do volunteer work you gain the ability to work with others, interpersonal skills, leadership, problem solving, time management and communication skills. 

Freelancing or working for extra cash

Freelancing or doing some extra work for cash while you’re studying is a great way to take ownership of your finances, pay off student debt or start saving. This also shows that you take initiative and have experience working with other people including  a boss or supervisor. These are excellent additions on your CV and could provide you with a wonderful first character and work ethic reference for when you apply for work. 

At RecruitAGraduate, we are committed to helping graduates find excellent jobs with reliable employers. Look at our current job openings if you’re looking for a step in the direction of your chosen career. 


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