6 December 2022

Graduate Special: How to Stand out from the Crowd and Impress Employers

Paul Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


This blog post is written as part of our graduate special newsletter and covers some hints and tips that I have learnt from being a recruiter for the last 6 and a half years.

There are somewhere around 2 million graduates each year in the UK, and over 3/4 of those will be looking for roles. That is a competitive market and to help you beat the competition, you have to stand out. Here is my advise on what to do:

Work Out What You Enjoy

This is not that easy but it is the key to all the rest of this. I did lots of modules in Location Planning, GIS, and Marketing, so it was a natural succession to move towards Location Planning Roles. Also have a think about what aspects of areas you enjoy and try and look for roles that will utilise your skills and mainly your interests.

Get Work Experience

This ideally is a year in industry, as most graduates with this are absolute gold. They develop skills that generally help in their final year (many of these types end up with a First Class degree) and they also pick up so many additional skills and maturity from that experience. If money and time pressure mean you cannot do a year in industry, try and get some internships through the summer – even if it is just a month, it will be invaluable experience.

We helped a University of Leeds student who attended our Excel training course reach out to some of our contacts for work experience. He then went on to complete a successful summer internship with one of our clients. He wrote a guest blog post on his experience which you can read about here.

graduate skills work experience to stand out from the crowd - summer internship
University of Leeds student, Conor, on his summer internship at Visitor Insights

Write a Killer CV

See our blog post on what recruiters look for in CVs for more details on this one. This is a mundane but necessary task – make sure you sell yourself with regards to the role you are going for and think about what the employer is looking for. Less is more!


I didn’t do one of these and regret it to this day. If you don’t have work experience then this can be a great way to plug that skills & experience gap. Try and do a relevant and interesting dissertation (to you) and make sure you talk to it in your CV (and in your interview!).

Additional Training

This is any training outside of your degree (again I didn’t do this and realise the time pressures of your degree). If you are time poor, why not book onto our Excel course which we developed because many of the clients were feeding back that graduates did not have the necessary level of MS Excel skills to do the job.

If you fancy being an analyst I would also recommend looking at Alteryx as they sometimes allow students to have a free 1-year license of Alteryx. If you don’t have time to do this during your degree, make sure you get a copy towards the end to use and upskill after!

Be Patient

I know that money and time pressures are at play here, but don’t think that you must go with a wave of graduates starting roles straight after you graduate. We often get clients coming to us throughout the year asking for graduates, so actually if you are patient you could be up against much fewer candidates.

Be on LinkedIn

Our blog post on optimising your LinkedIn profile contains some great tips to make sure your profile is looking the best it can be. Essentially, you want to ensure your profile is as updated and fresh as possible. This will make you stand out as an active candidate, rather than someone who has LinkedIn just for the sake of it.

Be Different

Think of ways you can be different – a good tip I have is to do some research to find out who the hiring manager is for a role, then maybe connect to them on LinkedIn/try and have a conversation before you apply! This will keep you front of mind and will the potential of you being lost in the overall HR process. (I did this once in BT and it helped me get a job that HR would have rejected me for).

In summary, if you do all of the above then you have a great chance of landing a role. Be confident in your abilities but mainly stick to or find out what the roles and areas of work you would really enjoy are. This will come across as positive in interviews, helping you to stand out, and it is also the path to how you will develop in your career.

If you are wanting a career in insight or analytics then feel free to contact us for some free support and advice.

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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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