Advice for Graduates Looking for Jobs
Graduating from university is a great feeling, but tossing your mortarboard in the air is also the precursor to one of the biggest and scariest steps you'll ever have to take: the step away from student life and into the world of work.

Searching for your first full-time job can be a gruelling and demoralising task. If you've just left university, you probably don't have a whole lot of relevant work experience just yet, and as a result you may feel that you're at a significant disadvantage as you struggle to get a foot on that all-important first rung of the career ladder. Sometimes it feels like graduates aren't given the advice they need, which can make them feel a little low about graduation. But rest assured that there are many employers out there who are desperate to recruit talented graduates like yourself - you just have to make sure they know about you!

With that in mind, here - courtesy of science job specialists Hyper Recruitment Solutions - are 5 top tips for graduates who are looking for jobs:

1) Before you apply for anything, Google yourself.

No matter what sort of role you're looking to land, you can bet that the person who receives your job application will pop your name into a search engine before deciding whether or not to offer you an interview. This is the 21st century, and these days, potential employers will often scrutinise your online presence just as much as your CV. So make sure you're not showing them anything you don't want them to see!

Before you begin your job search, you should:

  • Type your name into Google to see what comes up on the first page of results. (If you have a common name, or if you share your name with somebody famous, you may want to try including your location in the search - e.g. 'daniel radcliffe sunderland' - to find pages that are specifically about you.) Is there anything in there that might damage a potential employer's opinion of you? A Twitter account, a news story, something you wrote years ago that you're not particularly proud of? It may not be possible to erase every piece of information about yourself, but if you're able to eliminate any red flags then you absolutely should.

  • You should also use Facebook's 'View As...' feature to find out how much of your profile is visible to the public. If necessary, adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view the things you post. You don't want your future boss to see those drunk photos of you from your graduation party, do you?

2) Make your CV shine.

Composing an impressive CV can be tough when you're fresh out of uni, especially if you haven't previously held a role that's similar to the one you're applying for. But don't assume that the experience you do have is worthless - just because you've never worked in an office before doesn't mean that you've never exercised the skills needed to succeed in that environment.

The key is to think outside the box a little bit. Let's say you're applying for a marketing job at an FMCG company - sure, you've never occupied a marketing post before, but you completed a degree, and perhaps you even worked a part-time job or two while you were studying. These and other experiences will have equipped you with:

  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to approach tasks creatively
  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure
  • An understanding of how to behave when dealing with customers/clients
All of these things are highly valued by employers in all sorts of different sectors, so don't be reluctant to include them on your curriculum vitae. Don't think in terms of experience - think in terms of skills!

3) Cast your net wide.

Different employers advertise their vacancies in all sorts of different places, so don't limit yourself to a single website or job listings board. By all means, sign up with big names like Monster and Indeed, but bear in mind that there are lots of specialist recruiters out there too - recruiters like Aspire for the digital / media sector and HRS for science jobs. Some organisations, having a limited budget for this sort of thing, will exclusively recruit via these more specialised portals, so don't kid yourself that you'll see every available vacancy just because you check Reed every day.

4) Don't go back into higher education without a good reason.

Postgraduate courses are great, and in some cases, you'll need a master's or a PhD to get the career you really want. However, far too many graduates sleepwalk into postgraduate programmes simply because they don't feel ready to compete for full-time employment.

That's usually a bad decision. Higher education is expensive, as you're no doubt already aware, and while you might tell yourself that a more advanced qualification will lead to better career prospects, the evidence on that front is somewhat ambiguous.

Yes, entering the world of work can feel like jumping into an abyss, but you shouldn't go back to university just because you're cosily familiar with academic life and scared of sampling the alternative. If you have a clear goal in mind (e.g. 'I need additional qualification X in order to be considered for job Y') then by all means go for it, but otherwise, you're probably better off taking the leap into full-time employment.

5) Remember - you're not committing to a career for life. 

When searching for jobs to apply for, try to bear in mind that your first post-university job doesn't necessarily have to lead to the career of your dreams. Many people don't even decide on a career until quite a bit later in life, so don't feel pressured to apply exclusively for jobs that are directly linked to whatever you think you'd like to be doing in ten or twenty years' time. You might only stay in this first job for a year or two - and that's okay, because it will still give you a lot of extra experience and a lot of new things to add to that CV of yours.

So those are our top 5 tips for graduate jobseekers, and we hope they'll come in handy! Of course, there's no secret formula or trick for landing any job you apply for, but it's important to stay positive and keep striving for success even if you suffer a setback or two. Just because your first few applications didn't lead anywhere doesn't mean that you should give up - keep going, and you'll be starting your new job before you know it!

Searching for jobs in the science/technology sector? Click here to create a candidate account and browse the latest vacancies from Hyper Recruitment Solutions!

Have you considered a career in recruitment?

Here at HRS, we are looking for talented individuals who want to make a difference to the science and technology sectors through recruitment. We have a number of positions available for trainee Recruitment Consultants / Graduate Sales Executives to join our growing sales teams.

The recruitment industry is one of the most rewarding and desirable sectors to work in. If you have an outgoing personality, are good with people, and happy to work hard to succeed in life, then you are perfect for a job in recruitment. We will train you to the highest possible standards and develop your skills and knowledge of the recruitment industry. If you have a passion and enthusiasm for doing the job right, this position offers great rewards.

Apply now >

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Telephone Interview

So you've just heard back from that job you applied for, and it's good news: they were impressed with your CV, and you've made it through to the interview stage. However, this won't be a traditional, face-to-face job interview - as it turns out, this particular employer prefers to do things over the phone.

You might be pleased to hear this at first. On paper, a telephone interview sounds quite a bit easier than the alternative: no need to get a haircut, no need to iron your interview suit, no need to worry about how you're going to get there on time. All you have to do is pick up the phone and have a conversation. Simple, right?

But being interviewed over the phone rather than meeting your potential employer in the flesh does have its disadvantages. For example...

  • The employer won't be able to connect with you in quite the same way as if you were right there in front of them. Facial expressions and body language are important when you're trying to get someone to warm to you, but you can't rely on them during a phone interview - instead, you're forced to present yourself well and get your points across using speech alone.

  • Similarly, you won't be able to use the interviewer's physical cues to assess how well (or not) the interview is going. It can be difficult to give a relaxed and confident performance when you don't know whether the person you're talking to is smiling or frowning.

  • Telephone interviews tend to be shorter and less in-depth than traditional job interviews, which leaves you with a significantly smaller window of opportunity. Less time means fewer chances to talk yourself up and persuade the interviewer of your suitability for the role.

  • While it can be nice to conduct a job interview from the comfort of your own living room, the home environment can be distracting and detrimental to the professional image you're trying to project. Many a remote interview has been interrupted by a child or pet wandering into the room at an inopportune moment, and even if you're home alone, there's still a chance that the doorbell will ring, or that you'll get sidetracked by one of the many other things vying for your attention.

By now, you should be beginning to realise that telephone interviews aren't necessarily the walk in the park that they may resemble at first glance. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, and we haven't even mentioned the fact that some people genuinely struggle to talk on the phone (even if they're perfectly outgoing and eloquent in person).

But don't despair - you can still ace your phone interview and land the job of your dreams without a hitch. To help you do so, here are five top telephone interview tips from the experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions:

1. Choose the right space.

Our phones go everywhere we go nowadays, which means that it's possible to take calls in the park, the car, the supermarket, and just about anywhere else you fancy. However, if at all possible, you should avoid conducting a job interview while on the go; instead, find a quiet, secluded room where you can be fairly certain you won't be interrupted. Try to choose somewhere with as few distractions and diversions as possible.

2. Focus on the task at hand.

Ideally, you shouldn't be doing anything else while you're being interviewed. You wouldn't doodle or surf the web or watch TV during a face-to-face job interview, so you should absolutely avoid those activities when on the phone. And don't eat anything during the call - it's impolite, and the person on the other end might have a hard time understanding you with your mouth full.

3. Make notes beforehand.

It never hurts to prepare. Keep your CV handy throughout the call (along with your cover letter, the company's details, and anything else that might prove useful) so that you can quickly refer to key information as necessary. Before the interview, you may also wish to draft answers to common questions so that you won't 'um' and 'ah' too much when you're in the hot seat. If you don't think it will be too much of a distraction, it might even be worth keeping a pen and some paper handy during the call itself so that you can make notes on the fly.

4. Don't speak too quickly.

During any sort of interview, it's easy to let your nerves get the better of you and speak too quickly to be understood. Before responding to each question, take a breath and remind yourself to answer slowly, steadily, and clearly. You'll come off a lot better for it, and the interviewer won't have to ask you to repeat yourself.

5. Be concise.

Just as it's important to try not to talk too fast, it's also important not to talk too much. Waffling on needlessly won't endear you to your potential employer - it's never fun to sit through a long, rambling answer, and it's even worse when you're on the phone and the physical cues we discussed earlier aren't present to make the monologue more engaging. If you really want to impress, answer each question in as few words as possible (while still making your point clear each time).

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biochemistry

So you've got a biochemistry degree - what's next?

You will have acquired / developed a wide range of specialised skills and invaluable experience as part of your degree, including the ability to understand complex biological processes. Your course will also have sharpened many of your more general skills, like numeracy and communication. But what happens once you've graduated and it's time to head into the wider science jobs market?

In truth, you may not feel ready to apply for science roles straight away. Indeed, many of those wishing to pursue bioscience careers undertake further studies first (a PhD, for example, is essential for academic research). Alternatively, you may decide to enter the general graduate jobs market or look to gain professional qualifications in a non-science field like teaching, law or finance.

However, for the purposes of this guide, we're going to assume that you want to turn your biochemistry degree into a scientific career right away.

Becoming a biochemist

As with other science jobs, work experience can play a big role in helping you to secure your dream biochem job. Having successfully completed a biochemistry degree, you will have already developed practical and technical skills through laboratory-based work and your final year research project, but you may further boost your marketability to employers by acquiring relevant work experience, such as in a research lab as part of a summer internship.

As one of the most respected science recruitment agencies in the UK, Hyper Recruitment Solutions is here to provide you with all the assistance that you require to secure a rewarding role in biochemistry after you graduate. When you're ready to start applying for jobs, we can provide CV and interview advice in addition to helping you find attractive biochemistry vacancies.

Developing your biochemistry career

Once you have secured a biochemistry role, you will develop your skills on the job, possibly as part of a structured graduate training programme provided by your employer. You may also seek to reinforce your professional scientist status and keep your biochemistry knowledge up to date through membership of a professional body, such as the Society of Biology or the Biochemical Society.

Your work as a biochemist will mainly take place in a laboratory, working from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Some jobs may require you to work shifts, as well as for longer hours during busy periods. Many biochemists also work on a part-time basis.

How much do biochemists earn?

As detailed by the National Careers Service, trainee clinical biochemists on the NHS Scientist Training Programme can expect to earn a salary of around £25,000 a year, from which point the NHS's Agenda for Change (AfC) pay structure applies. Qualified clinical biochemists in the NHS, for example, start in Band 6, earning between £26,302 and £35,225. With experience, you will have the option of applying for Band 7 jobs commanding salaries of up to £41,373.

Postdoctoral researchers and research fellows, meanwhile, can command salaries of £29,000 to £36,000 a year, and for research scientists in industry, the guideline wage is between £23,000 and £42,000 a year.

With biochemistry graduates employed by a wide range of public sector organisations (such as the Environment Agency and various government departments), as well as across a wide range of companies in such industries as biotechnology, agriculture, food and water, there's no question that a biochemistry degree will stand you in extremely good stead as you look to climb the career ladder.

Talk to the experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions about the best next steps to take after graduation.

Job Search Problems

The most recent statistics concerning the UK job market are unquestionably positive. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people in work has been increasing so far this year, and the employment rate is at its joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. So why are so many job seekers concerned that they won’t be able to find a rewarding new position this year?

Today, we'd like to look at 4 job search problems that people commonly worry about, and explain why you really shouldn’t be too anxious when you are hunting for your next role.

1. Gaps on your CV

It's fair to assume that most potential employers will ask you about especially large / recent gaps in your CV, but if you have a perfectly understandable reason for yours – taking time out to care for an ill relative, for instance – no decent employer will judge you harshly for it.

Furthermore, if the gap was a long time ago or only a few months long, it’s unlikely that you will even be asked about it.

2. Missing a job from your CV

Many job seekers worry that they’re supposed to include every single job they’ve ever had on their CV, even if it has little relevance to the role for which they are applying.

Remember that your CV is ultimately a marketing document, and that it’s therefore fine to leave off that call centre job you only had for a few weeks post-university, especially when you are seeking a role in a highly specialised science field like biotechnology or immunology.

(However, if removing a certain job from your CV would leave a several-year gap, it’s probably best to be truthful, even if that job had little or no connection to the career that you are seeking now.)

3. Giving a complicated justification for a certain salary

It's easy, especially if you are still relatively new to the job market, to assume that you will need to justify any particular desired salary in very complicated terms. Most of the time, though, it really doesn’t need to be like that.

In most cases, all you'll need to do is say: 'I was hoping that you could go up to £XX,XXX – is this possible?' From there, the negotiation process is often a very simple one.

4. Contacting former managers

Many of those who approach our science recruitment agency are understandably concerned because they believe they must give their most recent manager or university tutor as a reference (so as to avoid giving the impression that they were on poor terms with them). But what if getting in touch with that person would be difficult anyway – for example, if they have retired or are travelling on the other side of the world?

Ultimately, you should include that past manager or tutor as a reference for the aforementioned reason, but not worry about how they will be contacted. Making them one of your references is only about giving permission for your prospective employer to get in touch with them, and has nothing to do with whether they are actually available.

Remember that one of the best ways to minimise job search worry is to be as well-prepared as possible! That’s why, here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we provide such comprehensive help to those seeking jobs in the science sector.

Contact us now to find out how we can help with your science job search.

Become more employable

The beginning of a new year is supposed to see people living up to their resolutions and dropping bad habits in favour of far more productive ones. In reality, of course, most of us end up doing more or less the same things as we did the year before.

But there's no reason for you to be the same! Become more employable and nab one of the best science jobs this year with these 10 tips from Hyper Recruitment Solutions:

1. Revamp your CV

Does your CV quickly make clear why no employer should ignore you? Is it well-structured, readable and free of mistakes? Do you adapt it to each new position that you apply for? Make sure the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding 'yes!'

2. Undertake further training

That molecular biology job you've got your eye on may be more attainable with an additional qualification. Even if you don't need a specific formal qualification to get the role you want, there might be other useful skills that you can learn in order to boost your employability. 

3. Improve your interview technique

Many candidates have a sparkling CV, but can't articulate in person what makes them such a great catch. Avoid this problem by rehearsing answers to common interview questions and developing your lift pitch - this will ensure that you're prepared to really impress your potential employer. 

4. Determine what you are worth

Assess what value you actually have to an employer on the basis of your current skills, attributes and experience. Learn to confidently 'sell' yourself during interviews, and remembering that you're interviewing the employer as well!

5. Brush up on your leadership skills

Great leadership isn't just about managing a team - it's also about being able to manage yourself. Can you work well independently without the need to be micro-managed? Are you able to show initiative when working?

6. Build your online presence

Your profile on the web can both assist and damage your chances with employers, who will often Google the names of candidates before offering them a job. Make sure your own net presence is a help rather than a hindrance - see our social media clean-up tips for assistance.

7. Change your attitude

It's especially easy for those who have been unemployed for a while to think they'll never find another good job. Unfortunately, this lack of confidence does not go unnoticed by employers, and it can therefore become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think positive, and this will come through in your applications and interviews.

8. Show flexibility

You may desire a certain salary and hours, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it. Keep an open mind: even a less-than-ideal role may turn out to be the perfect stepping stone to your dream job.

9. Request feedback from others

What do your current employers and/or colleagues think of your current performance? Ask them about your best and worst attributes - what are your strengths right now, and in which areas could you improve?

10. Keep busy!

Don't be that jobseeker who simply watches TV all day - you should be searching hard for jobs and other opportunities that will make you more employable. Hunting out that dream role is a full-time job in itself!

If you're looking for a job in science or technology, be sure to register with Hyper Recruitment Solutions to get the latest science job listings and further advice on how to be more employable.

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