Making the Move from College to the World of Work

When graduates leave university, many go to SEEK and apply for 30 graduate jobs and cross their fingers for a reply. When I was in this same position a wise man told me “your first job is the hardest and the worst”. The dominant rhetoric which seems to circulate the workforce is that you need to start out posting envelopes and making coffee to earn your stripes’. I was lucky enough to find a graduate job I love, but this logic was transferable to many of my friends. The thing is, once you have a few years under your belt, you can specialise and discern between jobs. Since you bring expertise to a prospective organisation, you have something to leverage with. However as a university graduate all you are selling is potential. Many companies are short sighted and will not hire graduates or invest money to train them. ProGrad arose through a frustration of companies unable to resource the right people, and graduates who were unable to get graduate jobs.

ProGrad operates as an outsourced HR department for the companies we work for. For every company we partner with, we systematically implement a graduate program through our one year structured master-class training initiative. We are the only company doing this in Australia. The benefit to our clients is that they outsource the risk of the employment process to ProGrad and ensure every graduate is highly skilled through the training offered.

The benefit to graduates is obvious. When you apply to ProGrad, you are applying for a structured graduate program and gain access to a large network of graduate jobs in global companies committed to this. You will begin with a top starting salary, a company committed to training graduates, and excellent progression opportunities. In return we ask for enthusiasm and the right attitude.

So many companies take on graduates without any idea of what tasks they will complete or how they will take on responsibility. This results in the graduate being a liability for the company, and the graduate becoming frustrated at the lack of structure. Every week I see 500 graduate resumes seeking graduate jobs, and I interview a large number of these. The ones that go the furthest are those that are open to opportunities. If I can stress anything, it is that you need to get a graduate job which will offer the best opportunity. Those who say “I only want marketing” usually end up in a small company answering the phone. If you are offered a job in a large global company with excellent training and progression, but it is in sales take it! In one years time you will be light years ahead and will have the chance to move around. Your friend will still be on the phone saying “I only want marketing” and earning 35k.

In Australia there seems to be a wide misconception about what sales actually is. A lot of our graduates think it is telesales or a dodgy car salesperson trying to rip them off. I have graduates call up and say “I’m not interested in sales. I want to deal face to face with clients and manage major accounts”. Yes that’s business to business sales I reply! Regardless of where your interests lie, when you are applying for jobs after finishing university there are four major things to consider:

1. Make sure a structured training program is in place. Look for a company that will respect you and invest in your development.
2. Find a cultural fit.
3. Look for a company with room to progress.
4.Salary is important to all of us, but don’t base your decision just on it. Accept a lower pay for a better opportunity. You need to think long-term -6 months down the track you will reap the rewards!