A new report by Friends Provident, the latest in its Visions of Britain 2020 series, reveals the extent of the challenge facing today’s graduates. The report, prepared in partnership with the Future Foundation, predicts that by 2020 there will be over 9 million graduates in the workplace – a rise of nearly 50 per cent to that of today.

With the latest Labour market survey revealing the number of people currently unemployed in the UK has risen to 2.47 million, an increase of 23,000 on the first quarter of 2010, it is clear the job market in the UK remains volatile. And with further spending cuts expected from the Chancellor in next week’s budget, individuals are going to have to work even harder to secure and remain in work.

To help graduates weather the job market storm, Friends Provident has produced a list of ten top tips it believes will be of great value.

Gillian Fox, Director of HR of Friends Provident commented:

“Our new report, Visions of Britain 2020 indicates the scale of the challenge that graduates will face. It is no secret that the job market for graduates is tough and could get even tougher, but it’s certainly not all bad news. Graduates play a vital role by bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas to their employers and this will not change. The key for graduates both today and tomorrow is to rise to the challenge, make the most of whatever opportunities come their way and use social networking tools for working as well as playing!”
The top ten tips to help graduates secure and keep that all important job are:

1. Career map – Map out all the possible ways that you could break into your chosen industry. There is always more than one way. For example if you can’t secure the role you want perhaps consider applying for an assistant / co-ordinator/ or PA role. Lots of companies promote internally and if you prove your ability you could eventually climb the career ladder and secure the role you want.

2. Be proactive – send CVs out to companies, get on their database – don’t wait for roles to be advertised. If you are on their database there’s every chance they will consider you before advertising a role publicly.

3. Networking – Use the people you know and the ones they know too. It’s amazing what you will find out / learn from people in all aspects of your life. Make good use of them- if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Remember digital delivers – Social media is not just for friends. Use your social network to look for work, and to share your experiences with other graduates.

4. Internships (foot in door) – Not only do they help you clarify your chosen career path, they also give you an invaluable opportunity to continue networking, the chance to build your communication and teamwork skills and help build confidence in the workplace.

5. Experience pays – Take every opportunity available to you, big or small. You learn from every experience, good or bad and never know what it could lead to. If you are struggling to get paid work consider working for free in the meantime in an area you want to get into. It is beneficial and will look good on your CV.

6. Business seminars – Go to business seminars and events – this helps you keep up to date with what is going on in your field and also helps with building your network.

7. Research – find out as much information about the business as possible before going for an interview so you have a better understanding of what the business is about and what it is looking to achieve. This will give you a better chance of responding well to questions.

8. Positive Mental Attitude – always work with integrity and respect for your colleagues, people are more likely to give you chances if they trust that you will do the right thing even if it is as simple as admitting if you have made a mistake.

9. An energetic approach – An energetic and enthused approach will help show how much you want a job. Say yes and be excited about the prospects of the job, even if it is not your dream role. Remember to have fun – you spend so much time at work, try to enjoy it – you will find if you are happy it rubs off on those around you and makes the office a more pleasant place for everyone.

10. Speak up – Your fresh ideas will be extremely valued by prospective employers so don’t be afraid to suggest new ways of working – even if you are just on work experience.