It’s a tough market out there for young jobseekers right now. graduate jobs are like gold dust. There are fewer jobs to start with given the recession. The ones that are available are subject to intense competition from ever-rising numbers of graduates, plus those with more experience who have been made redundant and are looking again, or those who would have been retiring but can now keep in the job market due to recent changes in the law. Firms are scaling back recruitment, so it’s hard to get on a graduate scheme, and every internship has multiple applicants – sometimes hundreds.

In this kind of jobs climate, you need to make sure you are as employable as possible. Now is not a good time to give employers any kind of extra reason not to give you a job. So, do your research. Trawl the web and print media for the jobs adverts, but also make sure your skills are up to scratch, make sure you know the field and what you can expect from any interviews, and make sure you present yourself well – on paper as well as in person.

There are plenty of sites out there which will teach you most of what you need to know. Psychometric tests are often a big deal: don’t expect to turn up and ace one just because you can fill out a crossword or sudoku puzzle. Like all of these things, you can get better with practice. So, find a site that offers them and have a go. It might not be your idea of fun, but put it this way: what if a couple of hours of practice makes the difference and you get onto a graduate scheme or internship because of it – or secure one of the graduate jobs you want, rather than wasting time stacking shelves while you job hunt for another three months? Seen in those terms, that one or two hours is a pretty sensible – and lucrative – investment.

A good CV will make all the difference, and will tell your prospective employer all they need to know – rather than what you want to tell them. graduate jobs aren’t going to fall into your lap, and an internship or a graduate scheme will be very competitive. By doing a little extra work, you can put yourself head and shoulders above the other applicants who have decided not to make the effort. That’s going to repay handsomely when you secure the job.

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