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So you've graduated... now, where to get a job?

It’s hard to know where to start – here’s some advice to get you going.

YOU’VE FINISHED YOUR exams, you’ve studied hard, you have earned your degree – well done!

You are also about to enter an economy which, while still recovering, is the fastest growing of any EU country, and undoubtedly job opportunities are on the rise. But you’re going to have your work cut out to seize these opportunities. Companies may be hiring, but their expectations are higher than ever before.

Remember, from an employers’ perspective, there are tens of thousands of graduates out there just like you. So you have a 2:1 degree? So do thousands of others. It takes a lot more than just academic qualifications to stand out to a recruiter who is inundated with CVs and is looking for their perfect new graduate employee.

It iexperience, it is achievements, it is about showing what you have done rather than what you could possibly do that will make your application stand out.

Where are the jobs?

So where do you start? Well, firstly you need to know where the employment opportunities are. Every year gradireland publishes the Graduate Salary & Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, the official survey of graduate starting salaries and recruitment trends, conducted in cooperation with over 100 of Ireland’s leading graduate employers.

This year’s results show continued growth in the graduate recruitment market, which has rebounded strongly over the last two years. In the 2013 survey, companies predicted hiring no more than 12 graduates in 2014; in reality the average intake per company last year was 33, almost triple that prediction. That upward growth will continue, with the average intake this year expected to grow by more than 18%.

In line with this, the amount of companies hiring no graduates continues to fall, down to just 5.2%. To give a comparison, in 2010, 32.5% of companies were not hiring graduates.

While there is no doubt that more graduates are being hired generally, the reality is that not all sectors are seeing the same upswing in recruitment. The sectors with most graduate jobs are primarily related to banking, insurance & financial services (32.3%); accountancy, finance and professional services (15.7%); and IT (14.2%). There are opportunities in engineering (7.4%) and retail, with the latter rebounding well over recent years, now making up 7% of graduate jobs. The remainder of positions are spread across the legal, media, consulting, funds and scientific sectors, amongst others.

How much should I expect to be paid?

The majority of the jobs are in Dublin, at 59.5%. Perhaps surprisingly, in terms of starting salary for graduates, it is Connaught which came out on top, at an average starting salary of €30,300, although with a smaller share of the total number of jobs available.

The emergence of regional clusters in biotech, pharmaceutical and IT in parts of Munster and Connaught means that it is possible to earn a good salary outside Dublin. Nationally, the median graduate starting salary is up to €27,953 (it was €26,000 two years ago). Similarly the number of employers paying over €34,000 to graduates as a starting salary is also on the rise, up to 14.8% from 5.7% of graduate employers surveyed last year.

Undoubtedly there are some employment sectors growing quicker than others, but remember that you don’t need to be a graduate from a specific discipline in order to work for a company that operates in these sectors. Financial and banking organisations need skills in marketing, IT and project management; tech companies need accounting skills, sales capabilities and engineering know-how, for example.

As a graduate you need to look at your skills portfolio as a careers toolkit, which you need to match the needs of your preferred employer or sector. Tomorrow we will look at what skills employers are looking for and how you can match your skills to their requirements – and if you need to upgrade your skills, we’ll tell you some of the ways to do it.

Mark Mitchell is Director of gradireland.

Graduates can meet hiring employers, course providers, careers advisers and more at the gradireland Summer Fair in the RDS Dublin on the 10th of June. Entry is free, you can register here.

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