If you're applying for graduate jobs make sure you have your mobile phone voicemail set up, as you wouldn’t believe the number of people that don’t. Further from that, a personalised message is very important if you want to make a good professional first impression - no jokes or gimmicks, as they really don’t go down well! As employers and recruitment consultants have to call so many applicants a good voicemail answer message, confirming they have got the right number, will make them more inclined to leave a message and not just move onto the next candidate. Everyone always talks about making a good first impression so are you failing on the first level? Update it now!
Are you totally happy with your current approach to finding a graduate job? If so, and you're getting the results then fantastic, but if you’re getting nowhere have you actually taken a step back to see what needs changing? We know this sounds obvious but in the blinding light of bookmarking/registering with countless websites and firing CVs in all directions, are you reserving time to analyse your strategy? It's just as important as the applying itself and will really help next time you sit down to job search and think "where do I start?!" A spreadsheet for this is essential - study how many jobs you see potential in every week, how many do you apply to, do you always customise your CV and covering letter from head to toe? If so does this make a difference? Who gave you feedback and who didn't? This is just the start of the detail you could go into to ensure you’re doing the job of finding a job properly. If you're doing none of these then you can bet someone else is, and beating you to the post in the process.
At the root of every well executed plan is good preparation, and this is especially the case for assessment centres, interviews or any kind of important meetings for graduate jobs. Using forums and information websites is a great way to get an insight into what your interview or assessment day may be like and to anticipate possible questions that the company may ask. Be ready for an unfamiliar commute by running through the journey on Google Street View the night before. Improving on that, give yourself at least 30-45 minutes breathing time to get to the entrance and be sure it’s the right place, and then find somewhere close by like a cafe to have a moment to compose yourself and run through your notes. To make a good first impression make sure you know who will be interviewing you and greet them by name with a confident handshake. Knowing their job title and role in the company is also a great way to build a picture in your head of the right things to say to them so get this information from your consultant or LinkedIn.
When you have exhausted all plausible forms of procrastination, ie, the washing up is done, the laundry is folded and arranged by 'genre', you have batch cooked enough food to feed a small town and have repeatedly 'refreshed' your Facebook page, it is time to stop and focus on what you should really be doing! If you're looking for that dream job, writing your CV and ensuring it stands out from the crowd can be extremely time-consuming and requires a great deal of care and attention. Avoidance tactics may seem to be your body's natural defense mechanism against CV writing but prove only to disrupt and confuse this vital part of job-hunting. Always remember that initially your CV is the only means via which a prospective employer will form an opinion of you. It should therefore reflect you in an honest yet favourable manner. Procrastinating disperses your attention and makes you lose the momentum essential for a well-written CV. So, next time you feel the nagging 'urge' to re-arrange your desk, de-fragment your PC or any other non-urgent task, only to avoid writing your CV, consider what you could be risking!