Graduate dreaming of perfect role
Graduate dreaming of his perfect role. Image: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

How to snag the graduate job of your dreams

30 Sep 2016

It’s graduate job season, with tech companies around the world opening their doors to recent graduates of IT fields. Hays offers up some tips for finding the graduate programme that’s right for you.

Right now is probably the best time to be graduating with a qualification in IT, with backgrounds in demand right across the spectrum from development to infrastructure. A quick scan of GradIreland will show you that IT and telecoms have the largest number of graduate jobs listed, just ahead of accountancy and finance.

There are some big questions graduates should be asking themselves when trying to select the correct programme.

What type of training programme is on offer for graduates? Would I be better off taking an internship? What career path am I starting myself on by taking up a particular programme?

And, most importantly, how do I find the programme that’s right for me?

First off, you need to establish when companies will start seeking graduates for these programmes. The majority of organisations do the bulk of recruiting between June and September.

The next decision to be made is what type of organisation you want to work for and whether it matches your aspirations. Different employers will offer different challenges and benefits.

If you choose to go down the multinational route, these companies will generally offer a very structured training programme, possibly including regular catch-ups with a coordinator, the opportunity for redeployment within the company, or even a rotational system to give you wider exposure to different areas of the company. They also offer the opportunity to progress through the ranks if you have the ambition to do so.

The other option is a start-up or SME. These types of organisations will generally offer a less structured training programme than a multinational. This does have its advantages, as you will more than likely be involved in a lot of different things, from making the tea right up to web development. You will need to learn on the job and change focus at the drop of a hat, as priorities can change very quickly depending on the needs of specific projects etc. This type of environment is generally more suited to the entrepreneurial graduate.

Areas to focus on

Have a think about what advantages you can give yourself before you finish your degree.

Many universities will offer you an option of a work placement to develop your skills. This gives you real world experience that will assist you when looking for a graduate role post-university.

If your university does not offer a programme like this, there are a lot of internships that run through the summer months that you can take advantage of.

Both options have the added benefit of allowing you to experience what you may like or dislike in a work environment.

But, in a sense, the real work starts before you begin your degree at all – picking your course.

A lot of industries are currently going through a digital transformation, so they have had to change the types of roles they are recruiting graduates for. The current growth areas are data management and advanced analytics, cybersecurity, software development and digital marketing. Graduates coming from courses with these skills will be more in demand than ever before.

The types of industries recruiting in these fields will be native digital companies – in areas such as fintech, edtech, medtech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, data management and analytics, software development, and advertising and marketing – and traditional sectors like financial services and consulting, which are undergoing a digital transformation.

We here at Hays have just recently launched a new digital technology division to assist our clients in recruiting for these in demand skills, to ensure that we are up to date with what industries are looking for.

In the current climate, the demand for web developers – both front and back-end – is always on the rise. This is a major growth area and one that is proving increasingly popular.

As consumers continue to demand a better quality online experience, it is essential for UI and UX developers to keep up with the latest technologies. Graduates are in a great position to capitalise on their existing deep knowledge of these.

For many organisations, graduates have some real advantages over more experienced professionals. Businesses place a lot of value on new team members fitting into the culture and ethos of their organisation. Graduates can be ideal in this regard, as they are less likely to have preconceptions as to how workplaces should operate and are often more willing to adapt to changes and new technologies that will be key in the ever-changing and developing world of IT.

Knowing, therefore, that you would be a boon to any graduate employer, you should feel safe using your graduate programme as an opportunity to find the industry area you really want to work in.

Ross Heeney is a recruitment consultant with Hays Digital Technology, specialising in front-end and ‘.net’ development.

Looking for jobs in tech or science? Check out our Employer Profiles for information on companies hiring right now.

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