How to get hired in a flooded job market

by Chris Jackson

Kim Streich from Debut talks with Patrick Crowder about applicant numbers, and how to stand out from the crowd

There are over 1,000,000 job vacancies in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics, but graduates are still struggling to find employment in a flooded market. Debut is a networking application which focuses on connecting qualified graduates with employers across the UK. Marketing Director Kim Connor Streich spoke to us about the app, the graduate job market, and how to stand out from other candidates as a graduate.

So what problems to graduates face now? “Recent university graduates are facing strong competition from those among the previous year’s cohort who are still actively looking for jobs,” Streich explains. “Applicants for graduate jobs still outnumber the available graduate positions despite the massive growth in vacancies.”

The pandemic has led to a two-year pileup of fresh graduates as opportunities dwindled, and many were left directionless. It has also led to hesitancy to work in the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, including hospitality, despite a significant number of vacancies.

According to Streich, searches for entry-level graduate jobs have increased by 350 per cent since March 2020. So what can applicants do to stand out from the crowd? Streich says that it could simply come down to how and when you apply.

“When sending out your application, you should aim to be the first in their inbox when the job goes live. Anyone who works on a computer will know the struggle of email overload. You need to avoid the competition by sending your application early in the day – you want it to be the first thing the hiring manager sees.”

Putting aside time of day, even the time of year can affect the success of a job search. Internal data from Debut suggests that the best month to apply for a job is November, when an average of 14 per cent of a year’s jobs are posted. October and December are the second and third best months, making the end of the year a better time to apply than others. According to Streich, this is because hiring is often not a priority for companies during the Summer.

“From experience, many companies spend their human resources budgets well before the Summer hits,” Kim said, “Not only does this mean hiring managers and recruiters stop searching during these warmer months, but resources could be lacking and many will spend summer months preparing reports and trends.”

Debut currently hosts 10,504 graduate roles and saw over 20,000 jobs go live between July and September of this year. For graduates today, the job search is not easy. However, the good news is that there are roles available, and more will continue to become available as we recover from the pandemic.

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