Just graduated and looking for a job? Unfortunately, according to Saferjobs, a joint industry and law enforcement organisation which aims to tackle recruitment fraud, “job scams are on the rise and in the last two years we have witnessed a 300% rise in recruitment related fraud and misconduct.”
It’s important to be aware of what to look out for, to avoid becoming a victim. If a job is offering you the opportunity to earn money quickly, without requiring any skills and perhaps not even inviting you to interview, it could well be a scam. Legitimate employers will never ask you to send them money for set up costs or to make use of your bank account. Looking at a company website can help you decide whether the employer is genuine. Does it look professional and up to date? Do they have professional email addresses (rather than a Hotmail or Gmail account) and do they provide details of their office address and phone number?
Be suspicious if you see the following in a job advert:
- Personal email addresses, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Regular spelling and grammar mistakes, which could indicate poor translation
- Unrealistic salaries (if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!)
- A job offer without an interview
- Stating ‘No Experience Necessary’ as a job title
- Premium rate phone numbers for interviews
- Illegitimate company names and web addresses (Google them to see if you can find any information online)
- Extortionate DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) costs (anything over £75 should be queried), or requesting a candidate to pay for a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau), which no longer exists
Other useful sources of help: Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre & Citizens Advice Bureau
If you would like to book an appointment in relation to any of the topics above please see careers.qmul.ac.uk/about/book/index.html to book an appointment or for further information visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre in Queens’ WG3, Mile End campus.
This is a good opportunity to remind you that many large graduate programmes conclude their recruitment by the end of the autumn term. If you think you might want to apply for one of these schemes make sure you start looking now! Many finance positions are already open and fill quickly. The benefit for you is that you can complete the recruitment process before you get too far into your final year – so you can concentrate on your exams rather than your job hunt.
Banks who have opened up their graduate scheme applications include Citi, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. For those of you thinking about applying to Investment Banking internships for summer 2018, please note that some Banks have already started accepting applications – including Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.
If you need some support in your job search, or with applications and interview practice, please do make use of the Careers & Enterprise Centre as soon as you can. During the first few weeks of the autumn term we will be extremely busy with appointments, so the more you can do over the summer the better!
Also don’t forget we have a huge range of events taking place in the autumn term where you can meet lots of employers with open positions. These events will be announced on our website before the start of the new term.
In the meantime take a look at careers.qmul.ac.uk for further resources, and our vacancy site www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs for opportunities.
Now that graduation is over, many of you are no doubt thinking of your next steps into the workplace. While the structured graduate schemes of the big well-known companies can be a great option, you should also consider the opportunities available at small and medium-sized organisations, known as SMEs. According to Prospects, more than a third of students and graduates are looking to start work in SMEs, and while many won’t run graduate schemes, they will have graduate positions available.
What can an SME offer?
- Although SMEs by definition employ fewer than 250 staff members, they make up a massive 99.9% of all enterprises in the UK- making them a great place to find graduate opportunities.
- Their selection processes tend to focus less on grades and more on the skills and work experience of their candidates.
- Their selection processes are often simpler and less time consuming than larger corporations and vacancies become available throughout the year, compared to the set dates of recruitment schemes.
- You are more likely to be a part of a wide range of projects- making your job more flexible as well as giving you an opportunity to build different skills.
- Opportunities for you to take on more responsibility and advance can often become available earlier on.
- In a smaller team, you will have more direct personal contact with senior management.
After studying at QMUL, it might seem like the natural option to look for work in the capital after graduation. The number of possible businesses to apply to as well as the vast and diverse job options available in London is almost too big to comprehend. Many companies have their head offices here and it is also a big centre for industries such as finance, politics and media/arts to name a few.
Typically the salaries are higher too, which is often a big incentive for graduates looking to pay off their student loans as quickly as possible. But there is also a lot of competition, not just from other graduates in London, but also graduates from the rest of the UK and even worldwide.
However, by only looking at London based jobs, you could be seriously narrowing your options and missing out on some excellent opportunities. Tech Nation’s ‘Powering the Digital Economy’ report from 2015 suggests that almost 75% of UK digital companies are based outside of London, whilst this recent article from CV Library which highlights the top 10 locations for salary growth (July 2017) shows that London is some way behind other towns and cities across the UK.
With London in 7th place, with a salary increase of 1.5% since 2016, Sheffield is booming with an average rise of 11.3%, whilst the cost of living is likely to be far cheaper outside the capital.
For more information about regional vacancies across the UK, see this guide from Target Jobs.
The number of university leavers turning away from the larger, more traditional graduate employers in favour of working for a startup or SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) has noticeably increased over the past few years. Over 50% of recent graduates now say that they would rather work at a smaller company and it’s easy to see why. Working for an SME presents first jobbers with a unique opportunity to take on high levels of a responsibility from the word go, to really have an impact on the business’s growth and development, and to develop a wide skills set.
So, if you’re thinking of kick-starting your career at an SME, you’re probably keen to find out how the hiring process differs to a corporate’s. In short, quite a bit. Although it’s important to remember that all startups and SMEs vary too, we’ve outlined the 4 main points that are relevant to the majority of smaller companies.
Speed vs. Formality
At a larger company, it isn’t unusual for the recruitment process to start a year in advance of the start date. They’ll have strict guidelines in place and will also receive a greater amount of applications.
Startups and SMEs simply don’t have that sort of time at their disposal so they tend to start their recruitment drive just 1-2 months before the expected start date of their new employee. This means that it’s perfectly reasonable (and actually encouraged) to start looking for vacancies after your finals or even after graduation, depending on when you’d like to start your new job. You can also expect to hear the outcome of your application a lot sooner!
Relaxed vs. Structured
At a corporate the hiring process will be run by a fully equipped HR team, and there’ll usually be several rounds of tests, interviews and/or assessment centres that successful candidates will be invited to attend.
While it may feel like the Holy Grail of graduation to have secured a trainee scheme with a Top 100 company, SMEs (small and medium enterprises – defined as companies that employ 250 people or less) make up a whopping 99% of UK private businesses, thus providing very real opportunities for graduates to start, and develop, their careers. It is easy to see, of course, the draw that many students have to the bigger and more illustrious companies; apart from typically higher starting salaries, who wouldn’t want the career clout that comes with having those names on your CV? But by focusing on these employers alone we risk overlooking the endless possibilities and benefits that come with starting your career in an SME. Consider some of the following advantages:
Without a lengthy initial training programme, SMEs can be very well suited to individuals who want to get stuck in from the get-go. The relatively flat structure of these organisations, along with smaller team sizes, means that you will be in a position to put forward your own ideas and concepts and help shape business decisions from an early stage. On a personal level, this means that you are more likely to see the fruits of your labour and achieve the career confidence and satisfaction that comes from this.
SMEs tend to provide less structured career paths which, for the right person, can be a wonderful thing. This puts you in the driving seat and should allow you to shape your career more easily in the way you want it to go, rather than the ‘expected route’ that the company has laid out as part of a longer term plan. Less hierarchy means that you will be given more direct access to major influencers in the organisation allowing you to network with the right people should you decide you want to develop your career in a certain direction.
A more relaxed working environment
Not everyone wants to be suited and booted nor feels comfortable in a workplace that is. This will obviously vary from company to company but chances are, the office environment will feel more relaxed and less bureaucratic. A number of recent research findings have shown that SMEs tend to foster better job satisfaction and more employee loyalty, plus they often drivers of innovation and creativity, making SMEs particularly ubiquitous in sectors like technology. With growing incidents of work place stress in the UK, SMEs are also seen to be more supportive of a healthy work-life balance amongst their staff.
At our recent ‘What Employers Want’ event, run on campus by Accenture, we heard about the importance of managing your online presence (sometimes called digital footprint).
Some employers will search for candidates online to find out more information about them, before deciding who to take to interview. There are plenty of places an employer could look:
- Profiles on Facebook,Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Discussion boards, blogs, or articles you may have contributed to or featured in.
- Photographs that you, your friends or family have posted online.
Once information is out there, it’s there for good, so it’s important to think carefully about what you’re sharing. A simple way to find out what’s out there already is to search for yourself on Google. Put simply, if you can find information about you online, then so can an employer!
What should you avoid?
- Unprofessional profile pictures.
- Inappropriate posts or comments, including anything racist, sexist or homophobic, bad language, or anything negative about an employer or colleague (there are plenty of stories of people being fired for this, even before they’ve started the job!).
- Photos from drunken nights out.
- Complaining about university work or negative comments about lecturers and classmates.
- Inappropriate Twitter handles – think what your name says about you.
Of course, if an employer searches for you online and there is no record of you whatsoever, this also may seem a bit odd! Whilst there are things to avoid, there is much to gain from having an online presence: