If you’re a soon-to-be graduate, chances are you’re feeling excitement and fear. You’re at the beginning of a brand new chapter but jobs are difficult to secure in today’s economy and with little experience behind you, where do you even start?

In just a couple weeks, thousands of students around the UK will be leaving university in pursuit of starting their career.

If you’re a soon-to-be graduate, chances are that you’re feeling a combination of excitement and fear. You’re at the beginning of a brand new chapter of your life but jobs are notoriously difficult to secure in today’s economy and with little experience behind you, where do you even start?

The good news is that more than 250 hiring managers have been questioned about what it is they’re looking for when recruiting university leavers for tech jobs and we’ve shared the results below.

Work experience – 86% of hiring managers say that the most important thing is work experience and internships. When applying for a job, make sure you detail any relevant experience you have, even if it was unpaid or part of your degree. If you don’t have any, try to get as much as you can while you’re seeking employment – even offering to help out somewhere a couple hours a week can really help.

References – 50% of hiring managers say that having top-notch references is the most or second-most important factor when trying to land a job. If you don’t have any work experience, a university lecturer can act as a great referral.

Results – as well all know, at the end of your degree you will be given an overall grade. This is of course important but it’s not as crucial as you may think. Only 24% of hiring managers say that your grade is a top consideration. This means that even if you’re disappointed on results day, providing you have the relevant work experience and some great references to back you up, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to secure your dream job.

What’s more, the university you attended is even less important. Only 18% of those surveyed said that this is a top consideration for them.

Another big surprise is that hiring managers don’t necessarily prefer graduates with a specialised degree. Depending on the role you’re after, this may of course be necessary but generally, 83% of recruiters prefer candidates to have a more general degree such as computer science or software engineering. The reason being, many companies would rather hire someone with general skills and then train them for more specialised roles.

Apply for the right jobs

Naturally, some tech jobs are better suited to graduates than others. Hiring managers were also questioned about the best entry level roles in terms of providing the best opportunities for candidates:

  • Quality assurance engineer – this job involves testing IT apps and equipment to ensure they work properly.
  • Database administrator – involves running and maintaining databases.
  • 37% of hiring managers say that network/systems engineer roles are great for graduates.
  • Network/systems administrator jobs involve maintaining and managing corporate computer networks and servers.
  • Web developers are in demand and are popular entry level jobs. This role involves writing web apps and developing websites.
  • 52% of recruiters say that a great place for graduates to start is with a business/systems analyst role.
  • 54% say technical support roles are ideal because they put graduates in direct contact with customers and can often lead to roles in product development.
  • The top tech job for graduates according to hiring managers is an applications developer. 60% of hiring managers say that it’s because this role provides graduates with the opportunity to learn how to write apps for popular environments such as Windows, .NET and SQL.

If you would like help finding a graduate role, please feel free to contact Alpha and we will be more than happy to help. 


Image source: Stuart Miles@freedigitalphotos.net