After graduating, many young people meander around looking for employment, having very little knowledge of the world outside university. This often leaves them scared, confused, and ill prepared for the journey ahead.
For some young people, they will receive first hand advice from friends, family, and those within the profession. However, most will take multiple approaches, often making sporadic and uninformed decisions to get closer to securing permanent employment. I personally believe that young people need more support and guidance to help them make the right decisions.
Though there is no right or wrong way of building a successful career within your chosen profession, young people should consider the following advice to help them in their journey in building a stronger foundation at the beginning of their career.
You should always research employers before applying. Nowadays, most employers offer a lot more than APC training and a competitive salary. Some employers may offer international opportunities, exchange programmes, emerging talent/development programmes, corporate social responsibility opportunities, client exposure etc. Align your career aspirations to the opportunities rather than the salary, as the opportunity will pay dividends in the long run. This will also benefit you when tailoring your application.
Make sure you understand the company’s values and long-term business strategy in order to align them with your personal career goals. This will often provide a clearer structure to your Personal Development Reviews (PDR’s). Young people are sometimes unaware of what the company is trying to achieve, and so find it difficult to find any real purpose and fulfilment in their desired role. I believe this is why some employees may leave a firm. Moreover, if you believe in your company’s strategy you will be more entitled to create targets that align both with your personal beliefs and the long-term aspirations of the company.
Although salary and monetary benefits shouldn’t be the driving factor for choosing a role, young people should fully understand what the employer is offering. Conduct some research on the employer’s benefits package before making a decision. You can use publications offered by recruiters and employer rating websites to evaluate this. Consider the full value of what you’re getting. For instance, a company that offers a lower salary but includes a large training budget may work out better for you in the long run.
Candidates should consider conducting research on the individuals employed by the company. A company’s brand and reputation is often reflected upon the quality of their people – this is very important. LinkedIn provides a great platform to understand the people who work at a given company as well as allowing you to see what people who have worked there have gone on to do.
Look at industry rankings to see how that firm compares to other firms within and outside of the industry. Although some of these rankings may compare organisations at a very high level, they do provide some useful comparisons to help you make a decision should you be split between roles.
One way I believe graduates should consider evaluating employers is through their social media footprint and overall influence online. I often find that those employers with frequent social media use have a better connection and relation with Generations Y and Z. I also believe that employers more active on social media better position themselves to attract the best young talent. It also provides another avenue to evaluate the company’s brand and see how they interact with the public.
Shyam Visavadia, Graduate Surveyors