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New Year's career resolutions

Published: Monday, 14 January 2008   Category: Graduate Job sector Reports

Your average New Year's resolution of not drinking, smoking or spending too much money will only last until mid-January for most people, but for graduates looking to be gainfully employed in 2008, their resolutions will be relentlessly chased until the day the first pay check floats in through the letterbox.

As the New Year is such a good time to take stock and start afresh, here are a few suggested New Year's resolutions that may help you find the perfect graduate job you've been looking for, or to improve the job you already have.

So in welcoming in the New Year, I promise I will…

…not let pushy parents choose careers for me

A careers expert recently revealed that ambitious parents are getting more involved in their children's career choices.

Dr Paul Redmond, head of careers and employability service at Liverpool University, said that parents are now accompanying their children to careers fairs and even going as far as negotiating their salaries after they graduate.

"Parents, particularly those from middle-class backgrounds, are behaving more and more like consumers: they pay the money; they expect to see results," said Dr Redmond.

…attend careers fairs

Plenty of career fairs specifically for graduates are taking place around the country this year. The 2008 Graduate Recruitment Fair in association with the Independent will be held on June 11th and 12th and is specifically for students expecting to graduate this summer and want to get a step ahead of the game before then.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters voted it the "best and most cost effective recruitment fair" recently.

A Yorkshire Recruitment Fair will also be held on June 5th this year.

…not worry about settling into a job

Firms have schemes to help young graduates get settled into their first major jobs. Mobile phone company T-Mobile used the social networking site Facebook to help new recruits in their graduate scheme to get themselves sorted.

Penny Davis, head of human resources at the company, said: "We set up a group on Facebook in May for the 2007 intake so that they could network informally with each other and the T-Mobile recruitment team before their September start date, enabling them to get to know each other and air concerns in a friendly, supportive environment."

…make sure my skills are up to scratch

Some students are leaving work without crucial workplace skills, so make sure you are not one of them. According to a report by Talent Q, a people assessment company, many graduates lack communication skills and are less resilient.

As the government continues to ensure the country is as skilled as possible, by reaching the targets set by the Leitch review, there should be plenty of opportunities for graduates to brush up on their skills, either at their first job or before they get the job.

Gordon Brown said: "In the old days, the problem may have been unemployment, but in the next decades it will be employability. If in the old days lack of jobs demanded priority action, in the new world it is lack of skills."

…ensure I'm given equal pay

Particularly graduates who are working in the public sector should make sure if they are entitled to a pay rise in order for them to be on equal pay to their peers. The union of the public sector, Unison, recently lodged a record number of equal pay claims against local councils and has accused them of "dragging their feet".

Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, said: "Equal pay is not just the wish list of the trade unions, it is the law of the land. The government must do its bit to fund equal pay for the public services."

…make sure my age does not count against me

Although most employers see graduates as the ideal candidates for jobs, there are more cases emerging of people being discriminated against because of how young they are.

Research by Corner, a business information provider, revealed that age discrimination was the most common form of discrimination in the workplace.

The technical consultant at Croner, Gillian Dowling, said: "Despite the massive efforts to ensure all employers were aware of how to comply with age discrimination legislation, this form of prejudice has quickly become one of the more prominent forms of workplace discrimination defined by employment law."

…get work experience in appropriate fields

Work experience can be a huge advantage to students who are looking for graduate jobs and can give graduates a boost in starting their careers.

The National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) recently announced it is introducing an accreditation which will be awarded to employers who are considered to have good standards in the work experience they offer. Look out for the Quality Mark to ensure you get the best work experience on offer.

…be persistent

Finally, remember graduates are the cream of the crop and employers really do want you, keep looking for jobs and you'll find one in the end. Happy New Year and good luck!

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