For students and recent graduates, things can sometimes seem a little bit bleak. There are plenty of reports in the news about how there are more grads than ever before competing over jobs, as well as other reports about record numbers of youth unemployment there are currently around 1.04 million young people out of work in the UK.
It doesn't seem as though things are going to get much better any time soon, either, with the UK economy shrinking at the end of 2011, something that can have a detrimental impact on jobs. John Salt, director of recruitment firm totaljobs.com said: "Whether or not the UK is technically in recession, for those out of work the situation is already dire enough.
"Today's figures merely confirm what our barometer has been telling us for three months now, that applications per job are at an all-time high of 23, with not enough growth in the labour market to absorb the numbers being laid off. What's more, the signs for 2012 just aren't good."
This quote hammers home the argument that times are tough and competition for jobs is fierce. However, young graduates could still turn things to their advantage by doing whatever they can to make their job applications stand out from the crowd. After all, there are still vacancies out there and a recent survey of graduate employers found that they were looking to hire 6.4% more graduates in 2012 than they did last year. So, put aside that doubt and get ready for that job hunt. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Experience, experience, experience
It really can't be said enough: graduate employers love work experience. Recent figures suggest that around a third of grad vacancies will go to young people who have previously done work experience at the firm they are applying for. This figure was even higher in some industries, with around half of law firm vacancies set to go to graduates who had previously done work experience there.
This shows just how important experience is: if you can get a summer job, work experience or internship with a company whose graduate scheme you are interested in, it's definitely worth doing. Alternatively, you could look for other types of student jobs as all work experience counts in your favour as long as you can demonstrate how it has benefitted you.
Make it personal
One big no-no when applying for jobs is simply sending out your standard CV and cover letter every time. No matter how good this is, employers want to see that you have really thought about your application. They often also like to have their egos massaged a little bit make sure you tell them why you want to work for them and what appeals to you about their company. Also make sure you tailor your CV and any examples of experience in your cover letter to the job description they have provided.
Making it personal is not only a nice touch to show that you've thought things through, but it also shows you can adapt your skills to that particular job, so it?s certainly worth taking the time to do.
Don?t forget the little touches
Finally, whether you're applying for graduate or student jobs, often the little things can make a big difference. If there is a high level of interest in a job, getting your application in early can help, particularly as some employers close their vacancies after receiving a certain number of applications. Double-checking spelling and grammar also matters: with such fierce competition for grad jobs, even a misplaced apostrophe could count against you.