How to stand out from the crowd as a graduate

Business Support
A shadow of a graduate in a cap and gown, throwing her hat into the air on a sunny day.


When competing for your first graduate role, distinguishing yourself from your peers can be harder than first thought. If you are sitting at similar life stages to everyone else, how do you convince a potential employer that you’re the right person for the role?

It all comes down to planning – the quest to stand out from the crowd should begin long before the graduation ceremony. Small choices during your degree can make a big difference in the long run, making your job hunt a much easier process.

Here are five ways to increase your appeal to potential employers as a graduate:

1. Work experience
While getting good grades is important, having applicable work experience is arguably more attractive to employers. Whether you’ve been temping over summer, have completed an internship, are working one day a week in an office or have completed ad-hoc jobs in a corporate environment, this experience shows that you are familiar with office settings, have some basic training and can complete many of the tasks required of an entry-level position. It also shows that you have been exposed to the intricacies of workplace etiquette and understand unspoken rules, like how to address colleagues, turning up five minutes early and not packing up your desk before home time.

2. Extra-curriculars
If you haven’t had any professional experience, focus on your extra-curriculars. If you were a president of a committee or captain of a team, it shows that you have leadership abilities and work well in a team environment which are skills that are transferable to the workplace. Furthermore, if you volunteered regularly during your studies or took a year off to travel and work, emphasise this – it gives the employer confidence that you are comfortable in a range of situations, can deal with curveballs and are comfortable chatting to people from different backgrounds.

3. Personal profile
Use those few lines at the top of your CV to really show employers why they should hire you. Avoid words like ‘bubbly’, instead opting for strong adjectives like ‘enthusiastic’, ‘ambitious’ and ‘passionate’. Instead of just telling, show the employer that you’re aspirational, declaring why you want to work in their industry. If you’re submitting your CV to recruiters, consider explaining why you want a career in a corporate environment or why you want to work in a particular position.

Young woman sitting at cafe working on laptop

4. Interview
Your CV might be out of this world, but if you don’t nail the interview, it’s all for waste. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately – jeans and trainers are out of the question. Open with a strong handshake and maintain even eye contact throughout your conversation; it will convey confidence and an air of gravitas (even if you are nervous on the inside!). Follow up the next day with a quick thank-you email – it may not be responded to, but it will definitely be noted.

5. Take the opportunity to grow
There’s a high chance that you may have to attend a couple of interviews before receiving an offer. Use these unsuccessful interviews to learn, taking every opportunity to pick up something new about your industry, interviewing style or approach to the job hunt. Whether it’s advice on how to format your CV (check out these graduate CV tips), how to frame your questions, when to arrive for your interview or your behaviour within the interview itself, everything you learn will be of value down the track.

Looking for a new graduate role? Tiger can help! Get in touch today.

Rebecca Siciliano Author Rebecca Siciliano Tiger Recruitment Team

Three mistakes to avoid when making someone redundant

For many business owners and managers, there may come a time in their career when they’re forced to consider making someone redundant. It’s never a decision to make lightly, however, in times of changing markets, some businesses may find themselves speeding through the redundancy process. This is usually because they want to turn their finances

Read more

IWD 2020: Career tips from the women on our management team

At Tiger, we feel very lucky that our management team is made up, for the most part, of strong women! However, we know this isn’t the norm and, according to research from Catalyst, only 29% of senior management roles worldwide were held by women in 2019. In the UK, we fare slightly better, with 37.2%

Read more

Newsletter

Sign up for the latest workplace insights.

Are you: