That competitive edge: The evolution of the good grad **Image credit: Shutterstock, Inc © Sergey Nivens

The world used to be a much simpler place when compared to the hi-tech, on the go multi-media global village we find ourselves in today. Before the Nintendo Game Boy, the rise of the Internet and the growth of graduate recruitment programmes things were, well, just simple.

Back in the day, when graduates completed their studies they’d apply to as many businesses as possible and hoped for a suitable placement. It was challenging indeed, and many people had to accept the fact that they’d need to start at the bottom and work their way up the corporate ladder. We’ve all heard those stories where some top CEO, possibly a household name around the world, had to start in his or her company’s mail room. Just think Michael J. Fox in the 1980s classic – ‘The Secret to My Success.’
However, times have changed and the shoulder pads and over the top hairstyles from the 80s have been forgotten (well in some cases at least) and mail rooms have been downsized by technological advancements. Global economies have become volatile and employment is now a competitive playing field suited more for those with superpowers, 6-packs and colour co-ordinated undies worn over tight-fitting leggings... let alone a bachelor’s degree. Despite this, the graduate market is still filled with talent and people willing to work. As you can imagine, this has made recruitment an even greater challenge than before.
So how do graduates edge out the competition and compete within such a tough environment?
1. Be 100% focussed during recruitment drives, application and section processes.
2. Make a first and lasting impression at all times – suit up!
3. Get knowledgeable about the field you are going to be working in. College and university book smarts is one thing, industry knowledge and know how is something else completely. Research possible answers and get work experience early on during your studies.  
4. Competitive graduate employment markets have been around for a while so be prepared to handle competition. Have skin as thick as elephant hide.
5. A competitive talent market breeds stronger talent so develop your graduate skills and superpowers by working hard and having a drive to keep improving.
*Image credit: Shutterstock, Inc © Sergey Nivens