What are the 10 mistakes graduates make when searching for their first job in Tech?

31 May 2018

At CN we have produced a series of articles offering advice for those who are soon to graduate or who have graduated. Each one will provide useful tips to help you land the job you want, not just the job you think you can get!

First we start with the assumption graduate make when searching for their first job in Tech!

  1. Assuming that a Computer Science degree from a leading university will automatically secure you the job of your dreams.
    Computer Science graduates actually have one of the highest rates of unemployment 14% - 6 months after leaving university. Here is an interesting article which talks about education, graduate and tech - Teaching Tech
    As we all know it’s an exceptionally competitive industry, and therefore to secure the top 1% of jobs out there, you need the right combination of natural acumen, work ethic, proper research and often a little bit of ‘right place, right time’ luck. 
     
  2. Applying everywhere.
    Focus, you are much better-off doing some in-depth research and applying to a few choice companies that actually interest and excite you.
    Spamming out your CV to see what happens will rarely lead you to your next role! Thorough research and a genuine enthusiasm for the product/ mission you’re working on/ towards will come across in interview.
    Recruiters who understands their markets will also be an invaluable resource in navigating the minefield of graduate tech roles out there.
     
  3. Applying to every role.
    If you want to be a Software Developer, don’t apply for a 1st line Helpdesk position. It wastes your time and the company’s time. Stick to your guns- it may seem difficult to penetrate a highly competitive field, but it’ll be much easier to do it when you’re starting out, than with 5 years of experience in something totally different under your belt.
     
  4. Accepting the first offer that comes along.
    This ties in with point 3 but don’t panic, relax!
    Though this is a highly competitive market, there is no point in agreeing to a job that you know isn’t right for you. No role will be 100% perfect, but you’re better off holding out for a good fit, than finding yourself desperately unhappy and considering a move 3 months in.
     
  5. Unrealistic salary expectations.
    As a general rule, you will not be making a 6-figure salary off the bat. You need to be prepared to put in years of hard work for top salaries, and most companies have a standard base they offer to graduates (in the market we specialise in at CN, you’ll be looking around the £40-£50k bracket on average at Entry level).
     
  6. Assuming big companies with household names have better training opportunities and greater prospects for progression.
    This is simply false.
    Some large firms have excellent training schemes, but ultimately in tech (as in everything), you’ll learn a lot more by the ‘doing’. Prospective future employers will look much more favourably on the real-life firefighting experience you’ll get in a small start-up, than the two years of micromanaged ‘training’ you were subjected to on Graduate Scheme.
     
  7. Overselling your skills.
    A recurrent pet peeve I hear from engineers who conduct interviews, is when graduate/junior engineers using the word ‘expert.’ Chances are, the Engineer interviewing you will have a far greater degree of expertise in the subject, and it will be apparent very quickly that you are actually not an ‘expert.’
    At CN our consultants are highly experienced and trained, and can offer expert advice on how to properly format your CV and what information you should include.
     
  8. Under-preparing for interviews.
    Do your research. Know the role. Know the sector, be prepared to talk about everything listed on your CV in detail. Basic, but so important and amazingly regularly overlooked.
     
  9. Looking for management opportunities too early.
    This is a surprisingly widespread problem I encounter. Good opportunities in management are not offered to engineers without proven, ‘in the trenches’ experience. Get at least three years of hands-on work under your belt, and then we can talk about leadership opportunities.
     
  10. Sticking with a bad recruiter!
    Is your recruiter ignoring your interests and spamming your CV out to irrelevant companies? Ditch them!
    Get in touch with one of our Consultants at CN where we can offer you personalised, tailored support and help you be in the top 1% who land their dream job from the get-go.

Hopefully, this will give you some good insights into finding that first job. Good luck! If you do want to discuss any of the above further, or have any additional questions, please feel free to contact sophie@campbell-north.com

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