Graduate Recruitment by Aston Rose

With graduate unemployment on the increase and 88% of SME’s in a recruitment freeze the importance of finding valuable and relevant work experience that could convert into a graduate’s first permanent position has never been higher. In January this year a poll of 502 companies working across a diverse range of industries, including property, by the Centre of Enterprise showed 89% had not recruited a graduate in the last year. By the end of 2009 unemployment was rising fastest among 18-24 year olds, with one in five of those with degrees, according to data published by the Liberal Democrats. In November the Higher Education Careers Service Unit reported graduate unemployment had risen by 445 in the last year and was at record levels and a “Focus on Graduate Jobs” survey of 700 graduates by the CIPD last month (March 2010) conducted by YouGov found graduate unemployment was creating a disillusioned generation of employees working in careers unrelated to their degree. So, with the General Election just a week away and fragile signs of recovery emerging, John Williams FRICS, Managing Director of Aston Rose, an SME of independent chartered surveyors in London’s West End, offers some timely hints to help those about to qualify to secure their first placement, post-qualification. Williams said: “Our recruitment process couldn’t really be described as the ‘norm’. We have only ever placed two advertisements in 10 years to fill professional vacancies. This means our team has been built around personality and persistence! The past couple of years have seen the number of unsolicited CVs arriving into our office increase significantly. More specifically, over the past 6–12 months the CVs have come from graduates who seem to have given up asking for employment, but simply looking to secure some sort of unpaid work experience. We take the trouble to read and respond to all applications for employment/work experience – if someone has made the effort to write to us, it is the least we can do and is just common courtesy. The typical approach comes from a graduate with a good all round level of education. Unfortunately, pretty much every CV has the standard ‘I am great’ introductory paragraph which we tend to ignore! We look for something that hints at an interesting personality – outside interests, personal achievements, something slightly amusing, etc. We have interviewed people solely based on their name and their interests. So we’ve compiled an informal list of do’s and don’ts to help graduates shape their applications.” Don’ts – Don’t spell the recipient’s name incorrectly, send your CV into 4 different directors or to a generic email address – Don’t write a boring paragraph using all the same words everyone else uses about being a good team player, but able to work under own supervision, etc – we get the same paragraph from those wanting a professional job as those trying to fill a cleaners vacancy at a residential property! – Don’t call RICS an ‘Institute’ – Don’t keep contacting us when we have already said “no” Do’s – Do some research and send your email to the right person – Do write an interesting covering letter, keep it brief, to the point and original – Do follow up with a phone call – its shows initiative, interest and a personal touch