The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers is an invaluable analysis of the market by High Fliers Research. More than 60,000 copies of the book are available free to students and it is a great job search tool in a hunt for an elite graduate position. The latest rankings are compiled from on-campus surveys among the final year students, who graduated from the UK’s leading universities during the summer (The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers).
The Guardian UK 300 is the second really useful resource in the elite job hunt. The rankings are based on the most comprehensive independent surveys of students in the UK, conducted across over 100 universities. The survey illustrates the favoured rankings of students. It also includes ‘non-business employers’, such as the public-sector bodies like NHS and law firms. It is important that you start to familiarise yourself with these names and have a look at their websites. These lists of top employers may seem initially overwhelming, and the key is to focus on a few in a target field of interest (The Guardian UK 300).
Getting to know your prospective employers
Make an effort to meet your prospective employers. Elite companies visit university campuses, mainly between October and December. This may seem daunting during your first term, but the sooner you familiarise yourself with this networking ritual, the more prepared you will be to apply. Networking is about getting the most out of your existing contacts and finding occasions to meet new people who can give you great insights about getting a top job.
Here are some tips to meet and network with elite employers
- Make sure to read the emails about alumni interaction opportunities. Universities pride themselves on their alumni, because the success of the alumni reflects the success of the university. The alumni to provide current students with an in-depth exposure to various fields, help connecting the current student with potential employment opportunities, get involved in career talks and seminars to develop critical skills. You might meet an alumnus with similar career interests. Utilise this opportunity.
- Networking is a competition. Make sure you stay ahead of the game. There is no hand holding at university so plan your strategy early and mingle as much as possible. Some alumni might have just the career option you are looking for in their company. Build the foundation to your relationship with an alumnus, and work your way towards building a network of connections. Find out about an alumnus’ contacts, co-workers and family. Always approach a networking event with a good amount of preparation. Knowing someone’s name and their achievements goes a long way regarding building a long-lasting mentorship. Brush up on the prominent people in a crowd of potential employers via LinkedIn, as well as the all-knowing Google. Do not forget to contact the executives you have met afterwards, thanking them, and perhaps taking a chance to share more about your ventures. Could they perhaps provide an insight into your projects?
- Your application begins from the moment you present yourself to plausible employers. Hence, a lasting impact is the only way to cinch a job affirmatively. Do not be afraid. Stand tall, voice your opinions diplomatically, appear conversable, and emanate a warm aura around you. Pick on little details in conversations, pay attention, and make interesting comments to contribute to the flow of dialogue. Executives look highly upon impassioned hopefuls for their firms who try to further the depth and utility of a verbal exchange. They want innovators and outspoken voices.
- This generation is after all one driven by technological advancement. Corporations search for young talent to keep up with the fast pace of the world’s growth. Prepare questions that you could ask employers. Then pursue the discussion with more questions. Take notes later and revise to keep the information fresh in your head. Sometimes, you might have to prepare questions to submit for a speaker to answer on the spot, addressing the audience.
- Read up on the dress code- if any. A standard expectation is smart. Get your outfit ready ahead of the event to give yourself time to make any necessary changes.
- Men: Wear a suit, a shirt, a tie and socks. Sneakers are unacceptable. You must wear formal footwear such as Oxfords, Derbys or Brogues (to name a few). Clothing must be well-fitting: neither loose and baggy, nor constricting and revealing.
- Women: The length of your dress must be appropriately adjusted to the occasion – a finger’s width above the knee minimum. Necklines should be conservative. The clothing should not be overly tight or loose (nobody wants to see your undergarments). Wear comfortable but formal shoes, either flats or mid-heel footwear.
- Both men and women should keep piercings and tattoos covered up – unless it is for a creative business profession perhaps. But even then, it is preferable to keep them minimally visible. Try not to get body art in areas that are difficult to cover up. In a professional environment visible tattoos and piercings, apart from a single set of piercings on both ears in women, are often frowned upon (although norms are becoming laxer). Hair should also be naturally coloured. Keep away from the bright neon or more vibrant colours. Religious clothing is acceptable. It is your choice, but be prepared to wear western clothing as well to show the appearance of a more global attitude.