Securing a graduate job in logistics, transport and supply chain means setting yourself apart from the crowd; a summer 2018 survey of the members of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) found that graduate employers received on average 46 applications per graduate vacancy, a greater number than law firms. The ISE’s membership typically includes the larger recruiters, yet this statistic shows that – particularly if you’re looking for a job with a big-name company – you will face a high level of competition.
The infographic below shows statistics found by the Graduate Survey 2018 – the most comprehensive investigation of student’s attitudes towards their job hunts in the UK – about students who expressed an interest in working for logistics, transport and supply chain employers. The Graduate Survey is conducted by Trendence UK, a partner of Group GTI, which is the parent company of TARGETjobs.
Six tips to take away
We’ve compiled six take-away tips on how you might use the findings of the Graduate Survey 2018 to improve your prospects in this sector:
- Stay LinkedIn but branch out on your use of social media
- Use your careers service
- Become an expert: get some experience
- Don’t limit yourself to local opportunities
- Know what you want: what’s your idea of ‘a good work-life balance’?
- Don’t worry about being worried.
1) Stay LinkedIn but branch out on your use of social media
A high proportion of students interested in logistics employers (77%) use LinkedIn to support their career search. You should use this resource as widely and as wisely as possible: make sure your profile looks appealing to prospective employers, gain information from the pages of companies in the industry and build your network by connecting with industry professionals.
However, fewer students than average use Facebook or Twitter for careers-related purposes (5% and 4% lower respectively). Companies will want to see evidence of enthusiasm in this sector. Use social media to stay on top of industry and company news. You can use information found on industry-specific pages across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to demonstrate your interest in the industry during interviews or networking events.
2) Use your careers service
The most popular way of engaging with recruiters among those interested in logistics, supply chain and transport employers is through stands at careers fairs, with three-fifths choosing this as their preferred means. University careers events can be an effective way of finding out about companies and accumulating useful contacts within the sector. You should definitely make sure you’re with the majority on this one. However, you can stand out from the swathes of students marching along to events due to peer pressure and picking up a few freebies by producing a plan of which employers you will speak to, researching them and writing down some questions to ask.
Employer presentations, which only make it to the fifth most popular way of engaging with recruiters, can be a useful way of finding out about individual employers. They can help you to decide which companies to apply for and to discover the skills and experience recruiters are looking for in candidates. As with careers fairs, doing some research and thinking about what you want to learn beforehand will mean you gain the most from these events; if the presentation doesn’t answer all your questions, there should be a chance for you to ask them at the end.
3) Become an expert: get some logistics and transport-related experience
A good way to get experience in the logistics industry is by doing a placement year, and it seems your fellow students know this: nearly 39% candidates interested in logistics have carried out a year in industry, much higher than the average across all sectors (26%). As well as gaining knowledge and experience, a placement year will boost your CV by showing employers that you’re ‘work-ready’. And that’s not all – read this article to discover nine reasons to do a placement year in logistics and supply chain.
Although many employers in logistics, transport and supply chain offer placement years, there are other opportunities. You might find a summer internship; don’t be deceived by the high proportion of students listed in the survey as not having done an internship of two months or more, as this many internships are only four to six weeks in length. Alternatively, you may opt for another type of work experience which will boost your CV. A manual job in a supermarket warehouse, for instance, will teach you about the systems and operations behind the scenes – which is vital knowledge for a job in logistics – and will improve your teamwork and communication skills. By the time you complete your degree you ideally want your CV to include work experience in which you gained skills related to the logistics sector.
4) Don’t limit yourself to local opportunities
Companies in the logistics, transport and supply chain industry often operate on an international scale and a notable proportion (27%) of those who find this industry appealing want to work in a large international company. Students interested in this sector are also 5% more likely than average to be open to opportunities across the whole of the UK, rather than limiting their applications to jobs in their place of study or original home region. With this in mind, it may help your job hunt if you can be flexible about your location.
5) Know what you want: what’s your idea of a ‘good work/life balance’?
Over three-fifths of people interested in the logistics industry consider a ‘good work/life balance’ to be a ’very important’ factor when choosing an employer. If you feel the same way, you should think about the kind of life you will have as an employee in this sector and whether this is in-line with your idea of a ‘good work/life balance’…
If you like the routine of a nine-to-five job, logistics might not be the career for you. Many positions involve shift work, in which you will be expected to start early, finish late, or work weekends. In the transport sector, you may have more ‘sociable’ basic working hours, but tight deadlines could lengthen your working day and you may have to travel to different sites. Be aware of what will be expected of you by asking questions at careers events and reading job descriptions carefully.
6) Don’t worry about being worried
The survey shows that over half of those who find a role in logistics appealing are worried about their future career. As you haven’t embarked on your career yet, an element of fear – of the unknown – is normal. As with pre-exam nerves, turn this worry into work by following the tips in this article.