Advice for graduates looking to break into industry

Making the transition into industry can often be difficult as many employers still prefer candidates with industry based experience. Below are some tips on how to get that first bit of experience to make your first break into industry!

Acquiring Industry Based Experience

Any industry based experience is good to have on your CV. Obviously, the more experience you have the better, but even a brief work experience stint or work shadowing for a brief time will strengthen a CV and make you stand out from others.

How to get Industry Experience

Consider Temp/Contract Roles

Today’s market place is still considered an “employers market”. This means that for a lot of open vacancies that arise, employers will generally get a good response and interest from potential applicants.

When this is the case, graduates are often going up against experienced candidates who have solid industry based experience. However, with shorter term contracts, this can narrow the competition as experienced candidates in permanent roles are less likely to go forward.

From our own experience the shorter the contract/temp role the less competition, and therefore the stronger the possibility of getting an interview.  Even if it is only a few weeks, this can be invaluable to you going forward.

Network & Develop Contacts

Making and maintaining industry based contacts can be very beneficial. These contacts can range from HR people in industry, employers and other graduates who have moved into industry. These contacts can be a source of advice, provide information and can often alert to potential vacancies and opportunities.

Develop Social Media Profiles

Both agencies and employers often search social media sites for potential candidates. LinkedIn is the most widely used of these social media sites for professional and recruitment purposes. Develop a professional LinkedIn profile, stating that you are interested in job opportunities within industry.

Make connections and ensure that any new achievements or experience are updated to your page. Check your messages regularly to see if you are contacted about any potential opportunities. Ensure you reply to people who have contacted you, regardless of whether you are interested in that opportunity, as that person may well contact you in the future with a more relevant job option.

Consider Going Abroad

If you find you are not having any luck with job opportunities on the Irish market, it might be worthwhile considering opportunities abroad. The Irish market is relatively small in comparison to the UK, Mainland Europe, US and Australian markets. It is often easier to break into industry and gain experience in these countries. Once you have gained this industry based experience, it can be easier to come back to Ireland and make the break into industry here.

Keep Open on Salary Level

Salaries within industry can start off low. This can discourage graduates from certain positions. However, once experience is gained in industry, salary levels do tend to increase quickly, and with a few years’ experience it’s very possible to command a higher salary level.

Consider Further Education, Courses or Schemes

If you are finding that roles you are interested in within industry require certain qualifications, it is worthwhile considering undertaking such a course to improve your prospects.

Other options may include the the Springboard Initiative (www.springboardcourses.ie) and the Momentum Initiate (www.momentumskills.ie).

Making the Most of Interviews

If you are offered an interview within industry, ensure you make the most of this opportunity by investing time into preparing for the interview and researching as much as possible for the role and company.

Interested in breaking into the Science industry?

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