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Applying for vacancies advertised in the News Paper

Job advertisements in newspapers are an easy way of identifying vacancies. They usually give information on the pay and the nature of jobs, which facilitates job comparison… On the other hand, vacancies advertised in the press usually attract large numbers of applicants, possibly thousands. In other words, using job adverts is an easy way to look for jobs, but it will attract many other graduates, so prepare yourself for some serious competition.

  1. Do not depend on newspapers as your only source of vacancies; not all job vacancies are advertised. Many employers never advertise vacancies in newspapers. Certain estimates put the proportion of job vacancies advertised in newspapers as low as 10 percent.
  2. National newspapers are the most relevant newspapers for graduate job vacancies, but never rule out regional newspapers. The best newspapers for managerial, professional and skilled jobs are the national newspapers. However, they tend to carry vacancies for jobs predominantly in the capital, and larger cities. Regional papers are good for more focused job searches, especially for vacancies in national companies, with a strong presence in your preferred region.
  3. Learn about the advertising practices of the national papers. Most newspapers focus on different types of vacancies on different days, e.g. teaching, media, social services etc.
  4. Use your public library to identify your preferred field of work. Public libraries take a range of national papers each day and are therefore a valuable resource for learning about the newspapers you are familiar with.
  5. Use your public library to learn about specialist newspapers, which advertise vacancies in particular industries. Some specialist newspapers are devoted to publishing vacancies alone. Enlist the help of a librarian at your local public library to help you identify newspapers tailored to your specific needs.
  6. Vacancies advertised in the press generally have a short shelf-life, so you need to act quickly in applying for any vacancy that looks suitable. Employers who advertise in daily newspapers expect to receive all serious applications within a day or two.
  7. For vacancies advertised in the press, pay particular attention to how your application looks on paper. Jobs advertised in the press tend to attract huge numbers of applicants, sometimes even thousands. The better the job, the more applicants it will attract. Employers can only afford to interview a small fraction of those who apply, so they find ways of whittling the numbers down. There are two main approaches. Firstly, they use simple filters, such as class of degree, grammar, and spelling, on the application form. Secondly, they look for applications with features that stand out, for example, backpacking across the Sahara, editing your school or university newspaper, or teaching for a year in a third world country.
  8. Do not deviate from instructions on how to submit your application. This is a filter frequently implemented to minimise potential candidates; the first test is whether you can follow simple instructions.
  9. Recognise that advertised vacancies may not be real. Job advertisements are sometimes made to comply with regulations, procedures or agreements. For instance, an internal applicant may have already been lined up for the job, but the advertisement has to be placed anyway, owing to policy requirements that all job vacancies must be advertised externally. In other words, there may be less to an advertised vacancy than meets the eye.
  10. Recognise that internal applicants usually have an advantage. This is because an employer can know much more about an internal candidate than an external candidate, including their strengths, weaknesses, and potential.
  11. Check for consistency between job title and job description. Job titles can often be misleading, so pay particular attention to any information describing what the job actually entails.
  12. Treat your application as a two-stage process. Stage 1 is to be offered an interview. If you get past Stage 1, then Stage 2 is to be selected at interview. If you fail to passStage 1, then Stage 2 is irrelevant. Thus, start by giving all your attention to Stage 1.
  13. Do not be surprised if you do not receive a reply to your application. If it were a really good job, then there will likely have been hundreds, indeed thousands of applicants. An employer advertising for additional staff may not have the resources to reply to everyone.
  14. Use rejection as feedback, in learning how to secure your job. The more rejections (including non-responses) you receive, the more likely it is that you are doing something wrong. Study your approach to applications to look for clues as to what you can do differently. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. Being rejected after an interview is a clue that you have learned how to master Stage 1, and now you need to grasp Stage 2.

This section is really  important, because false assumptions concerning graduate employment can prevent you finding a job you could enjoy:

  1. Myth 1: To be a graduate is to be a member of a small educational elite. This may have been true fifty years ago, when fewer than 5% of school-leavers went to university. However, the figure now stands at 40% of school-leavers; a marked difference. Moreover, governments are keen to raise this figure to 50%.
  2. Myth 2: Most graduates find employment with large employers, with well-established graduate recruitment programmes. These are the sort of employers who still dominate the graduate careers directories, which are distributed for free from university careers centres. They include the Civil Service, the NHS, and the Armed forces, together with the major institutions of the financial, manufacturing and retailing sectors. In fact, these large employers of graduates now employ a small minority, less than one fifth, of the graduates universities produce each year.
  3. Myth 3: A graduate job is any job that is done by a graduate. There is a mistaken belief that graduates can bring graduate qualities to any job and transform them into graduate jobs. This, simply, does not hold up to scrutiny; picking fruit, flipping hamburgers, or working in a call centre do not offer enough scope for the expression of graduate qualities.
  4. Myth 4: Most employers place greatest value on the most up-to-date knowledge of an academic subject. We have seen that most graduate job vacancies are open to graduates of any subject area.
  5. Myth 5: Most employers value critical thinking above all other graduate attributes.
  6. Myth 6: When you find a graduate job, you will be making a transition from the learning stage of your life to the working stage of your life. The basic relationship between university and graduate work is the acquisition of knowledge at university, and its application in graduate employment. Whether you like it or not, you will continue to learn throughout your working life. In fact, the pace of your learning may accelerate.
  7. Myth 7: If you have not studied for a ‘vocational degree’, you are more likely to remain an unemployed graduate indefinitely. Again, this is contradicted by the fact that most graduate job vacancies are open to graduates of all subjects.
  8. Myth 8: For most graduates, finding a graduate job in the current market is hopeless. Even if you graduate in an economic recession, most graduates eventually find jobs; 7 years after graduating, approximately 85% are in graduate jobs.

Sources: www.bookboon.com

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