A problem UK graduates wanting to get into IT need to solve

Posted:
30 Apr 2014 - 20:51 UTC.
Last Modified:
1 May 2014 - 06:10 UTC.

We've been trying to recruit a graduate into my team and we've hit a problem, 90% of the Curriculum Vitae's we received were poor. The problem isn't about the technical skills, it's the quality of the CV, and the failure to give valuable information. We all know graduates aren't going to have a CV laden with experience, but there is so much more you can do to sell yourself.

If you follow UK politics and unemployment figures, one of the things constantly banded around is the number of Under 25 NEET's (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and that companies and the politicians aren't doing enough to give them opportunities. However there comes a point when people need to help themselves. I'm not alone in having the thoughts I'm posting here, I've spoken to owners of small and medium businesses along with a friend who is a careers advisor at a university and they echo similar opinion.The personal statementPutting you have an interest in IT isn't enough. You're applying for an IT job we'd expect that as a minimum, so put which parts interest you. Expand on it by saying you like artificial intelligence, data analysis, researching, etc. We also need to get an idea of your character. Watching Football or Science Fiction on TV isn't what we want to know; we want to know what you're passionate about. We want to know if you've a hobby like photography that shows you may have thought processes around aesthetics and design. You may dedicate your time to helping out with a local club which indicates you can work well with others. You may help care for someone in your family which is equally as valid, it shows you are willing to dedicate to something that is important.

Don't forget to put what you'd like to achieve over 2 and 5 years periods. It gives us an idea of your desire. You need to be getting what you want out of a job, and we'll be the ones responsible for helping you achieve that.Skills, Working Experience and knowledge of the field you want to work inWe're in a time where working through university is crucial due to the cost of the university experience. It shows you can manage your time between making money and getting an education. It doesn't matter what you've done, but having something relevant to the field does have a small bonus. When doing job listings having something long term and showing how you've grown as a person (i.e. taking on more responsibility) is a great selling point.

If you didn't work somewhere relevant to IT, it's definitely not the end of the world nor of your chances of getting an interview. You need to give us something we can build an idea on. Put in your relevant skills about how you're developing yourself. Don't just put that you build websites, we're in an age where anyone can do that. If you do build websites have a sample one where you can discuss the inner workings of processes that drive the data.

What are you doing to learn the science and methodologies? Are you reading books? Are you playing with, or contributing to an open source project? With free hosting available with the likes of Github and codeplex, it's very easy these days to put a few samples up. If you can show bits you're playing with and what drives you, you'll do yourself a huge favour. You're a graduate so we're not expecting something perfect. What we want is something that can give an insight into your thought processes, your current level of understanding, and how you apply yourself to a problem.In summaryI'm not saying graduates don't have the skills. My point is there isn't enough done to sell yourself on your CV. If you're sitting there sending off a vanilla application and waiting for an opportunity, yet you're not doing something to grow your knowledge you're not helping yourself. If you're in doubt about what you can do to give yourself a better chance, talk to a careers advisor about building a portfolio, along with strengthening your CV.

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