4 February 2020

Graduate focus – stand out from the crowd

Paul Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


This blog is aimed at providing students and recent graduates advice on their career.

Looking back from what has been a rapid 22 years since I graduated, I was very fortunate to do a degree course that provided modules that really interested me, but also gave me experience in the sector I gained my first role in; I joined GMAP as a Market Analyst in September 1997.

My degree in Geography and Management studies solidified my interest in GIS and spatial analysis and helped me to focus on a more narrow interest in its use within retail and marketing. This led to my first role at GMAP as a Market Analyst, working with Ford motor company, producing spatial interaction models to help them decide where to locate their dealerships.

Many students today do not know what career they want to go into and there are a mix of those who are balancing the final year of study and looking for roles versus those who are fully focused on their final year of study. It’s easy for me to say, and it depends on your circumstances, but my overriding advice is don’t panic! And if you are feeling a bit lost, Red Tiger Talent offer consultations with students to help them in their careers.

Timing is not that important 

A lot of students get fixated on getting a role that starts in the summer they graduate and depending on plans, this can feel like the ideal scenario. At Red Tiger Talent we get graduate roles coming up throughout the year, and sometimes you are even better placed beyond September, as there is still supply but the demand is lower.

Invest time in your CV 

The next two sections are linked to this section in that you firstly need some good content for your CV. A CV update is usually bottom of your list of priorities, it’s hard to move up your list but it really is time well invested. Also be careful where you get advice – the more people you ask the more advice you will get. The main advice I would give is to try to make sure, for any role you go for, that within 30 seconds of reading your CV the person would like to interview you. Tailor your CV to each role so that you tick 80% of the capabilities and experience boxes they are looking for.

Try and get work experience 

Depending on timing and the course you are on, it is well worth exploring whether you can do a year in industry. Failing that, see if there are modules to allow industrial experience or take your own initiative to get some relevant work experience. There is definitely a very high percentage of students that end up with a 1st class honours after a year in industry as they often learn so much that helps kick-start their final year.

Pick a good dissertation 

This is hard if you still don’t know what you want to do, but if you do know, try and pick a dissertation that will give you some good experience in the careers area you want to go into. I did my dissertation on the use of GIS in an estate agents, which gave me plenty to speak about during my 1st interview at GMAP.

Learn new skills 

You may have limited time but try and pick up some new skills. At Red Tiger Consulting we provide Microsoft Excel Training to students. but also look into free software such as QGIS. You can get a free 2 week copy of Alteryx, which is a very fast-growing piece of software that lots of our clients are using. Also try and give the level of skills you have in each and do not lie about it as you could get found out in an interview or tested on your skills!

It’s a daunting prospect, mixing degree completion with career aspirations, but at Red Tiger Talent we are more than happy to help. If you would like to talk about a career in Location Planning, GIS, Consumer Insight, Property Research or Business Intelligence then please do get in touch.

Author: Paul Halsall

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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Published by Paul Halsall

Paul is an experienced head hunter, data and insight specialist, trainer and coach. His experience lies in Location Planning and Mapping but more recently within Business Management, working internationally on a variety of accounts.


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