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Meet Noah, Graduate Quantity Surveyor at Linear Projects

What have you learnt over the past 6/12 months working at Linear?

I’ve learnt that when you leave university, you don’t actually know a great deal! Linear Projects have been very accommodating in allowing me time to get to grips with the industry – one that was completely new to me 12 months ago. I have started from scratch and learnt so much about the business – not only from an operational point of view, but a commercial and logistical one as well.

As a Graduate Quantity Surveyor, I’ve travelled a fair bit between Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield and Liverpool. I was based on site for about four months where I had the chance to pick up the construction side of things and work with a full site team.

I’ve had the full ‘cradle to grave’ experience here, seeing how every project comes together, from the estimating and planning stages to negotiation and everything in the middle.

A real highlight for me has been being involved in the internal fit out of the most prestigious building in Manchester!

What do you like most about working at Linear Projects?

The huge variety in what I do here is great. From QS to operations management, to site management – the experience I am consistently gaining in different areas is phenomenal. On top of this, there is always someone who will put their time aside to help you, even the directors! It’s a pretty relaxed environment where everyone supports one another; whether you go to the MD or ask the Admin staff for help, people are willing and helpful.

It’s also a nice touch that Linear Projects provide lunch for their employees! The fridge is always full so you can help yourself to a bit of lunch and enjoy unlimited tea and coffee every day. A small touch but a really nice perk of the job!

We’re a sociable bunch here at Linear Projects and enjoy doing charity events where we can. A group of us recently took part in a Tough Mudder competition which was great fun!

Take us through a typical day in your role…

Days really do vary depending on what projects are in progress.

If I’m on site, I’m usually speaking with site managers, sorting out contractual issues or dealing with any variation to the plans.

When based in office I’m often working on tenders, measuring up for jobs, negotiating rates, having meetings with suppliers, clients, site staff – building relationships and keeping everyone happy!

How do you keep your graduate employees from leaving your business?

So you’ve invested a fortune in your graduate recruitment programme. You’ve used a graduate sourcing company to recruit those grads that are really interested in your industry and are raring to go. But how do you counteract the 1 in 4 graduates that will leave a graduate programme before it’s complete? How do you ensure that they stay engaged for the entirety?

We asked a recent graduate scheme employee for some top tips on how to keep graduates engaged and in it for the long run.

What is the best part of your graduate scheme?

Rotations – going around all of the branches and departments of the organisation. I have also enjoyed doing presentations in front of board of directors. It’s nerve wracking but a useful skill to have in the future. I’ve been exposed to project management and have been encouraged by my colleagues to take on larger tasks. Within the company, there are a number of great options for training courses, from personal development to business courses. One thing I have experienced a lot of is the option of travel, its great graduates have all these opportunities.

What part of your graduate scheme would you say needed improvement?

I would say wage structure firstly. There wasn’t any clear increase throughout the scheme and the wages were lower than what other company schemes.

I would also say to provide structure to give future insights – there was no clear after plan for graduates, and with some uncertainty in industry, a clear plan would help envision a career within the company and the objectives to reach that goal. I would have also like to be involved in more real projects on the scheme.

One other thing I found unclear was levels of seniority at the end of graduate scheme that were agreed to graduates. There were  minimal senior roles in the areas of the businesses in which we preferred. To counteract this I would say to match degree and flexibility to explore preferred areas of the business.

What would you encourage employees to do more of in the schemes?

I would expose people on the schemes to more management experience – perhaps on a part time basis. I would also try to tailor the graduate schemes around skill sets and then decide on rotation around the business on this basis, and encourage more exposure to customers and pressured situations to equip us with relationship development and crisis management skills for future careers.

What part of the scheme switched you off?

For me, it was having to do some of the aspects of head office placement. Whilst good to know, my placements were too long in parts of the business that were outside of my interest and skill sets.

There was also an element of making graduates do projects and jobs that normal staff didn’t want to do. There was a sense of using graduates on placements in varying departments to pick up on some of the undesirable activities. There is always an expectation of this going into a business at entry level, however, the departments didn’t seem well prepped for a graduates arrival.

What did you feel about your future in the company whilst going through the grad scheme?

I was worried about job security – what was going to happen when the scheme ended? Uncertain industries and business changes did make you feel nervous at times. I would say, on the whole, the company did look after grads.

If I was to do my own grad scheme

I’d start them for 3 months in the heart of the business then 3 months in office manager/admin roles. I would then encourage graduates to spend a month in their chosen area whilst continuously reviewing them to scope what they really wanted to do.

I would tailor the final year of the grad scheme around what your graduates want to do post the graduate scheme whilst continuing the full business experience.

The value of work experience

Stepping into the working environment is not easy, especially if you have never held a job or haven’t had much experience. The transition from an academic environment to the real world can be daunting for many students. So, the question is, what can help me in this difficult process?! The answer is easy and simple…  basic work experience.

How can this help? Well here are 5 reasons why:

One…

Recruiters absolutely look for experience, why is that? Because it is evidence that you have actually done work and that you are motivated to get into a chosen career and you don’t spend your summer lazing around! It also shows you have passion and interest to actually work.

Unfortunately, according to recent stats, there has been a downfall in teenagers undertaking a part time job. It is revealed that only 18% of 16 and 17-year-olds work part-time, compared to 42% in 1997.

Two…

If you have no idea what career you want to go into, work experience is a perfect way to help you make that difficult decision. It’s a way of exploring different jobs without actually committing to anything. You get to experiment in different job sectors until you find the one which is right for you.

Three…

Experience is a way of getting introduced the working life. Vitally, it’ll give you an idea of the skills you might need to thrive in the workplace. You’ll get to know the do’s and don’ts and what it is like in the actual working environment.

Four…

It’s all about networking and building contacts. Gaining work experience is a great way to build references and perhaps getting recommended to other employers and organisations. It also a good way to finding out about industries and jobs you did not know even existed and had never really thought about, in which you may find yourself to be highly interested in!

Five…

And of course, the most obvious reason… It looks good on your CV! Recruiters love seeing whether you have experience. It’s not only beneficial to you but it is also beneficial to them in order to increase the productivity of their business. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your great skills and qualities, which could eventually be transferrable skills into your dream career.

Think about it, you will not be the only person applying for that one position, there’s going to be loads of graduates like you, so how can you stand out from the crowd? Valuable work experience.

All change! Why graduate recruitment must adapt to attract the Millennial Generation

Accountancy firm KPMG is the latest in a line of forward-thinking businesses to have adapted their graduate recruitment process to cater for the latest generation entering the job market.

Having grown up in a world where interactions with technology are instantaneous, millennial job hunters (those born between 1980-2000), have previously shown a frustration with lengthy recruitment processes.

Rather than conducting three separate assessments over several weeks, KPMG will now combine the process into just one day.

The change will mean that applicants will find out if they have got a job within just two working days.

KPMG are not the first organisation to be seen adapting their methods for their future workforce…

In an attempt to attract a broader range of talent, Goldman Sachs has recently opted for video interviews over the traditional face to face interview. This came after adaptations were made last year when Teach First and Deloitte removed names from application forms in an attempt to stop what is known as ‘unconscious bias’.

However, according to a survey conducted among 400 of this summer’s new graduates, the biggest complaint candidates had was around not receiving any feedback if they were unsuccessful in securing a role.

This is certainly the next challenge that needs to be overcome. Why?

Today’s graduates are consistently searching for new ways to learn and grow, both professionally and personally. Not hearing back from employers after an interview or assessment centre can be quite frustrating for them and could change their perception of your business. At a time when employer brand is so important in competing for graduate talent, providing feedback is perhaps the next challenge that larger companies need to overcome?

Larger organisations have a lot to compete with now that numerous start-ups and SMEs are providing a faster recruitment process and giving feedback along the way.

How To Have A Great First Day In Your New Job

Starting a new job can be an overwhelming experience, even for people who have done it before. A new office means new challenges, a different dynamic, and lots of colleagues that you need to get to know and potentially collaborate with.

It is important to remember that good first impressions can have a significant impact in the world of work, so if you can nail your first day on the job, just like you did at the interview, you can quickly become part of the team and feel right at home.

Do your homework

You may have thought after leaving education that you would never have to hear the word ‘homework’ again, but preparation really is key. While no one in your new company will expect you to come in and be fully up to speed, you can take some of the pressure off yourself with a little bit of research.

After you have secured the job, ask your new employer if there is anything that you can have a look at ahead of your first day. Otherwise, use the internet and research the industry – any knowledge of current trends or key words that you can pick up can ensure you are not left scratching your head on your first morning.

Develop relationships

Naturally, on your first day you will be eager to get on with everyone in the office, however make sure you first focus on those within your smaller team or division. Your relationship with them is largely going to determine your early career prospects, and they are also in the perfect position to guide you through your first day.

Asking questions is never a bad thing, and they can give you the opportunity to strike up conversation which can help you get to know your colleagues on a personal level. Make sure you think them through and that the answer is not staring you straight in the face.

Soak up information

It is more than likely that your first day on the job is not going to be the most taxing, but you will probably have a lot of information thrown at you at once. Make sure you are taking notes and do not get stressed if you find things a little difficult at the start – remember to stay calm!

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery graduates and see how they can help get you started

How Can You Improve After Missing Out On a Job?

Failing to secure a job can be extremely frustrating and disheartening, especially if you have put in a lot of hard work doing your research, preparing your cover letter and CV, and have little reward to show for your efforts.

Whether you are struggling to land an interview or are falling at the interview stage, going through the process of securing a job can be extremely disheartening. But it is important to remember the competitiveness of the application stage, and to be prepared for some knockbacks. Instead, you should view them as an opportunity to improve.

With the right attitude and techniques, you can turn your rejection into a useful springboard to reassess your goals and revise your application process.

Contact the employer

Whilst the idea of getting in touch with the person who rejected you may be a little scary, getting feedback can provide you with useful information for both the short and long-term.

Get in touch with your contact – either via email or via phone if you are feeling confident – and politely ask them for some feedback. Remember to ask what you did well and what it was that got you to that stage in the process; do not always focus on the bad.

Make sure any communication is professional, brief and positive. Explain you are disappointed not to be selected, leaving any potential employer with a positive feeling towards you may leave doors open in the future.

Some employers may not give you feedback at all, whilst others will give you a generic piece of advice. If that is the case there is no harm in asking for some more information, as long as you are polite.

Utilising the time to improve

Job hunting can become extremely time consuming, however it is important to keep your eyes open for any opportunity. Look for areas where you can boost your skills in areas you feel your application may be a little lacking, using the feedback provided to you as a guide.

Perhaps you could sign up for an online course or look to secure some time on work experience somewhere – it may prove to be all the difference between securing a job and not.

If you feel you failed to answer an interview question well enough, practice and think about your answer for the future; you can even do mock up interviews with a friend or family member.

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery graduates and see how they can help get you started.

Degree Choices Don’t Alter Digital Career Direction, Claims Tech Firm

Although many believe their field of study to determine the direction of their career, new research from a number of digital marketing specialists suggests this is far from the case. In fact, spending more time pursuing a digital apprenticeship could be the way forward, according to Forward Role.

As a surge of new digital hubs emerge outside of London, there is now more choice than ever for those wishing to follow a digital career. The likes of Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and East Anglia are all proving to be highly attractive alternative locations for graduates wishing to go into the digital field. However, if you wish to work in this industry, you don’t necessarily need a digital qualification and research reveals many of the top earners have studied everything from history to biology at university.

This proves the digital industry is made up of individuals from all academic backgrounds, with a number of high flyers failing to choose a degree with their end career in mind. A number of interviewees have stated transferrable skills learnt during time spent studying the likes of English, Creative Writing, History and Journalism are invaluable.

Steve Thompson, managing director of Forward Role, said the research highlights that youngsters “shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves when plotting their route into further education”.

Due to the dynamic nature of the digital industry, plenty of options exist which mean it is very difficult to ever completely discount a potential career path.

“While it’s not a hard and fast rule for all industries, our research shows that a person’s degree doesn’t automatically restrict their career from branching off into different directions,” explained Thompson. “You can forge a successful career in digital marketing regardless of your academic background.”

He added that employers tend to look at experience, personality traits and personal skills when hiring, as they are keen to see how an individual can contribute to their business.

Many are starting to see a pattern in graduates favouring internships and apprenticeships. Those who have recently graduated are also considering apprenticeships in order to land their next role. This proves there is no set blueprint for success in this business.

If you’re looking for your next graduate role, visit Discovery Graduates today.

Is Manchester Set To Become A Major Creative Talent Hub?

The world’s most prominent professional network LinkedIn and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) have launched a project entitled ‘Greater Creators’ to showcase the many skills and employment opportunities contained in the Greater Manchester region.

The report also marks a first for the UK government, who have never before used LinkedIn data to showcase both technology and digital in education and the working environment.

Matt Hancock, Cabinet Office Minister & Paymaster General, has stated: “Getting the right skills, for the right jobs in the right place is mission critical for a strong economy.”

He added that the research demonstrates how technology and data can be used to create a highly skilled workforce that the potential of it should not be underestimated.

Manchester a popular destination

LinkedIn has revealed that 24,000 members have moved to the region simply to pursue their careers.

The research shows Greater Manchester to be an economic hub and a centre for innovative talent. Over London, Manchester is riding up front on a number of skills including digital marketing, TV and video production, user interface design, game development, writing and publishing, theatre and drama, social media marketing and TV and video production.

Areas boasting the biggest push include camera operation – employers need graduates with these skill sets, making it an area that is likely to hire.

Finding new ways to utilise talent

Commenting on the Greater Creators project, the Interim Mayor of Greater Manchester Tony Lloyd revealed it is great to explore how expertise and knowledge can be used to improve a region. He added that Manchester is keen to lead the way when it comes to skills provision.

Greater Manchester Lead for Skills, Employment & Worklessness, Councillor Sean Anstee, added: “The report is incredibly positive and helps us to highlight the strength of the city-region’s creative, tech and digital sector and our ability to attract talent and roles from across the North and London.”

The report has helped areas learn of skill gaps, employment trends and growing talent hubs, showcasing the opportunities that are available for any graduates looking to relocate.

If you’re looking for your next graduate role, visit Discovery Graduates today and see what help you can receive

How Can Students Land The Perfect Job In 2016?
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How can students land the perfect job in 2016?

Life post-graduation can be difficult, especially when the job’s market is so competitive. But the process of finding your dream role needn’t be such a hard process.

With these simple tips, you should be able to enhance your chances of getting the role that is perfect for you.

Jumping the first hurdle

Most students fear employability, after all it is something that is completely new to them! If you’re a graduate, it’s important to do all you can to overcome this fear. If not, you’ll find it difficult to bag your dream job.

Rethink your profile

A number of studies have revealed that employers do check potential employee’s profiles. If your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account isn’t something you want to share with your future boss, now is the time to change it! Make it something you’re proud to show to the professional industry. Most importantly, make time to comment on newsworthy sources.

Create a portfolio

Whether it be a final project at University or a particular school project you’re proud of and did exceptionally well in, when it comes to showing off your talent, employers are more likely to enroll graduates who have something solid to show them. However, when creating a portfolio, thinking outside of the box a bit can help you to stand out.

Networking events

Networking events aren’t just for those who are employed but also, as recent statistics indicate, for those who want to be employed. Attend as many networking events and careers fairs as you can. You never know, you might meet your next boss!

Extracurricular activities

Out-of-school activities are an asset to all as well. This shows you are interested in other affairs asides from study alone and often indicates skills such as productivity, motivation and teamwork. Employers embrace these skills, as they can be applied to a number of roles in the working environment.

Work experience

If you can, sign up to a work experience role in your chosen field. Whether it’s paid or not, studies show that those with work experience on their CVs are twice as likely to get a job as those who don’t have it.

If you’re looking for your next graduate role, speak to Discovery Graduates today.