Graduate Guide to Getting Ahead

The world can be a daunting place when you arrive from University, in particular getting into the right role; you’ve been given a world of options in terms of career paths but little means of achieving any of these. What next?

We live in a fortunate age where much of the legwork in a job hunt is done for us. We don’t need to cold call various businesses and we certainly don’t need to go knocking on doors. Consultants have spent years in the market, and have a database of clients that will consider your CV for a position.

Working smart is about connecting with the people that are in a position to help you, and in this case, the consultants that have long-term relationships with clients you want to work for.

So I’ve listed a few pointers in how to get ahead: using the right Consultant, and how best to help them help you.


Formatting CV

The CV needs to be simple and effective. Your name must be at the top, followed by a brief paragraph on your profile and what you’re looking for. It’s important to make it clear to employers the key elements of what your aspirations are so that time isn’t wasted further on down the line. Education comes next, and this should be followed on neatly with your experience. Dating your education and experience is equally as important, demonstrating how much time was dedicated to particular tasks and if there were any crossovers. Don’t forget to include your language skills, IT skills, Interests, and achievements below all of this. These are excellent points for conversation starters in an interview setting.

Get Online

Once you’ve prepared your CV you need to make it as accessible to Consultants as possible. This means getting your CV on various jobsites across the Internet – there are a thousand online and you they’re relatively easy to use.


This might sound obvious but the recruitment industry is fast-paced. This means that you are going to need to be able to answer your phone and respond to e-mails as soon as possible. A consultant will quickly move on if he or she cannot get a communication link with you. Not to mention, the alarm bells that are raised for employers if it takes you three days to respond to an e-mail; employers need somebody on their team who is reliable and someone they can trust.


One thing that we all fall down upon is choosing a role. There are so many roles out there that demand such specific requirements that even if we manage to choose a title that suits us, we might find their manifestation very different across various companies. Rather than wasting time rifling through detailed job descriptions, try to choose your market. Find the industry that makes you tick – whether it’s Energy, Retail, Construction, Medicine, Health, Finance, Real Estate – and consider various positions within that market. This will give you the leverage you need to choose the right consultant.

 Choosing a Consultant

The consultancy you choose to work with is important for a number of reasons: contacts, reliability, communication, expertise. The successful Consultancy will have a wide network of senior contacts in your market and will have a wealth of updated intelligence.

It is your Consultant’s role to know who is hiring and who is firing, they are your eyes and ears of the city, finding gaps in the market that suit your ambition and skill set. Don’t be afraid to ask your Consultant for their take on the market, or what they think the future holds for your industry. This will give you a great indicator as to how connected your Consultant really is.

Multiple CV’s

This isn’t as snaky as it sounds – when drawing up your first CV you are likely to have a series of responsibilities and achievements from your previous role that you are eager for your future employers to notice. It is just as important not to cloud your ‘specification-specific’ responsibilities with unrelated tasks that you were once involved in. Make it clear, make it direct. It is not uncommon to have 4 or 5 CV’s, each tailored towards suitable positions within the desired market. It increases your chance of getting the right attention and you haven’t got to lie about what you were doing.


I cannot stress enough how easy it is for employers, and Consultants for that matter, to see through lies. Having looked through a hundred CV’s a day it is not difficult to spot an anomaly or a talker on the phone. You don’t want to talk your way into an interview with the CEO, only to be shot down at the final hurdle. Honesty goes a long way.

Contacting the Employer directly

Employers will keep your CV – if they need you they will contact you. Going through the Consultant means that you can have direct access to the decision makers on that desk.

With all that said, it is apparent that to start your career within the city your connections will speak for you. As far as the Head of Desk is concerned, you’re a name on a CV; But the Consultant that has a relationship with the Head of Desk has spent time understanding the needs of the business. Maintain a healthy relationship with a Consultant and you’ll find yourself well connected very quickly.