Your Job in Europe
Are you ready to be fast-tracked into a successful career? Sara McDonnell looks at the different routes into landing your ideal first job
If you have a good degree, strong language skills, a flexible attitude and a determination to succeed, then you are likely to be in demand by employers. Many highly successful companies try to attract the very best graduates and use careers fairs, internships and social networking sites.
So what are these companies looking for in their recruits? A good education coupled with leadership potential is an important factor. "The majority of people in Google have a bachelor or masters degree - or equivalent,' says Helene Almeida, a spokesperson for the internet giant. "We employ many people who don't have a computing background but who can demonstrate leadership skills, ambition and a willingness to take chances in their life experiences.' Languages are also important. "Because of the nature of our work, language skills are much in demand at Google, so being fluent in another language is a huge plus when applying for positions with us.'
If you think you've got what it takes, read on for the best ways of catapulting yourself into your career.
The power of the internet
Much of your research into companies, careers and job vacancies can be carried out online. Not only that, you can also start networking online, using sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Many recruiters have Facebook groups and Twitter feeds which allow you to link with people who already work for a company you are interested in, update you on industry news and/or keep an eye out for valuable job leads. Some companies even operate 'virtual' recruitment fairs, where graduates can 'meet' potential employers online.
Recruitment agencies and fairs
Recruitment agencies try to match the best candidates to a job vacancy. Working, in most cases, for employers, agencies usually advertise vacancies online and many send out job alerts by email or SMS messaging. Some agencies specialise in particular industries and will be able to advise you on what their clients are looking for. When you sign up to an agency, you'll usually be asked for your CV and may be interviewed to ascertain your skills and expertise.
Careers fairs, on the other hand, provide an opportunity to meet employers themselves. "Recruitment fairs are a great way to meet representatives from companies in the industry you're thinking of working in,' says Cameron Worth of Bilingual People, organisers of specialist language recruitment fairs throughout Europe. "There are many graduate recruitment fairs around Europe; some will recruit locally, some will be looking at graduates looking further afield.' BilingualPeople hold fairs all over Europe throughout the year, introducing bilingual graduates to around 30-60 companies interested in multi-lingual people. "Recruitment fairs help you to understand [a company's] recruitment process and find out what they are looking for,' continues Worth. "Visitors can also talk to the careers experts at the number of agencies there.'
Many companies run formal internship schemes which students can do either during the summer vacations while studying or upon graduation. Although some are paid, many are not. Similarly, some may lead into a job or form part of a graduate entry training scheme while some may just ask you to make tea and run errands. Make sure that you know exactly about the nature of the internship before taking it on.
Many companies have their own graduate trainee schemes. Google, for example, has a 2.5-year career development programme for experienced and new graduates of all disciplines at its offices in Dublin and Wroclaw. Participants develop expertise in online business, advertising and new technologies. Google, along with many other companies including Proctor and Gamble, also help with relocation. "If you've just moved to a new city or decided to start your career out of your home country - such as in our western European headquarters in Geneva - it will be easy to meet new people through our social networks like our Facebook page for new hires across Western Europe,' P&G states on its website.
In certain careers, joining a professional association isn't a choice, it's a necessity. Many offer qualifications, training and CPD (continuing professional development) for professionals such as engineers, lawyers and accountants. In some cases, accreditation from a professional association is required in order to practise. These organisations can also help you enter your career. ACCA, the global body for accountants, offers an Accelerate programme, with help finding internships and training, mentoring from current members, career-planning advice, interview technique and job-hunting workshops.
Google's graduate schemes
Proctor and Gamble's recruitment website
ACCA's Accelerate site
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