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Gap in support for graduates from top UK universities

Today’s job market expects candidates to show, not tell, their skills at interview

Only a fifth (22%) of the UK’s top universities1 offer up-to-date-guidance as part of their online resources to help students meet employers’ expectations in job interviews and thrive in the competitive graduate job market. This is according to the UK Domain’s analysis of the UK’s top 54 universities’ career pages2.

The main areas for a university’s online guidance are internship seeking (100%), followed by tips on interview preparations and assessment days (98%), and CV writing (98%). While this advice is undoubtedly crucial, universities are overlooking a key area in which HR professionals are interested: online portfolios.

With the average employer conducting 14 interviews for every post4, it’s not enough for graduates to explain their suitability in person – they’ve also got to prove it. A study of 510 HR professionals showed that nine in ten (88%) are more likely to hire or proceed with a candidate that can demonstrate their experience using an online portfolio in an interview.

Despite the preference by employers for graduates to take a ‘show not tell’ approach, less than a quarter of the universities (22%) are providing guidance on the value of creating a portfolio website to showcase a student’s professional skills and personality to get ahead.

Careers advice pages

% of universities

Help on finding job/internship

100%

Advice on writing CV & cover letter

98%

Interviews/assessments

98%

Best use of LinkedIn

70%

Best use of social media

64%

Benefit of online portfolio

22%


Eleanor Bradley, COO of Nominet which runs the UK Domain, said: “Many students will be using their time at university to prepare for the job market but our research shows that universities are not updating their resources to reflect what employers are now looking for from candidates.

“An online portfolio not only gives employers confidence in a candidate’s professional skills but also gives them a glimpse into their personality to see if they are a cultural fit, which is equally as important in many cases. What’s more, by showcasing their skills on a personal website, students can continue to be found by prospective employers online and have a central place to store their achievements as their careers progress.”

Only a fifth (22%) of the top universities surveyed offer the full spectrum of advice to students looking to clinch a role in today’s job market. These are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Aberdeen
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Kent
  • Leeds
  • Manchester
  • Nottingham
  • Strathclyde

1 - Top 54 universities taken from The Complete University Guide - https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings. Those universities that didn’t have an accessible careers page were discounted. These were Reading, Coventry, Harper Adams and St Georges.

2 - Audit of the top 54 universities’ career pages and the advice offered. Each careers page was audited according to the following criteria: help finding job/internship; advice on writing CV and cover letter; advice for interviews/assessments; best use of social media; best use of LinkedIn; benefit of online portfolio. Specialist universities. 

3 – Research conducted by Censuswide on the behalf of the UK Domain surveying 510 HR professionals. Research carried out between 23.08.17 and 01.09.17 through an online survey.

4 – 2017 data from Workable.