"There has been widespread scrutiny in the press about people who gain entrance to top universities and get access to popular graduate jobs, by going through the back door route."
There has been widespread scrutiny in the press about people who gain entrance to top universities and get access to popular graduate jobs, by going through the back door route. Still, it is worthwhile being aware of why this is happening and seeing what you can do to ensure it is a level playing field.
Gaining access to jobs via the back door route seems like a good idea to some people but may not result in a favourable outcome in the long-term. For example, if the person concerned does not have the adequate academic credentials or skills, then it is likely that they will struggle once they have set foot in the office. Getting a position at a company is really only the starting point and new recruits need to prove that they are both committed to the job and can put their skills to good use.
Still, one crucial point to note from all of this is the importance of networking. This does not mean that you should use a contact to make your way into the company at any cost, but rather gain guidance from others to see whether you will be well suited to the job. After all, there is only so much that you can learn from companies' brochures and websites. Some companies include a section on their application forms where contacts can be mentioned. However, make sure that you ask your contact for permission and also you will usually need to mention the context in which you know them.
So, how can you make contacts in your chosen industry? Well, one good way is by going to careers fairs. These usually include a whole host of companies and the representatives at the stalls are current employees who can share their experiences with you. It is important to ask questions so that you find out about things that really matter to you, such as salary, working hours or opportunities for rotations in different departments. Also, companies hold insight days where they describe service lines in more detail and have business games. During a whole day, including the lunch break, you can establish a rapport with employees, which may be a genuine working relationship that you can use going forward.
Overall, you should always be looking to make connections in your chosen industry, since this will help you to get a graduate job. Not only will a more experienced person be able to shed light on their career, but this will help you to discuss some more business specific topics during the interview. Finally, remember that there is nothing wrong with making connections and indeed including them on application forms, as long as you ensure that you submit an application fairly and stay on the right path.