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Why a Bachelor degree isn’t enough to get a job

You’re more likely to get hired if you have intern or work experience.

Oscar Crosbie graduate accountant working in job
Graduate accountant Oscar Crosbie worked retail jobs while he was at university. (Source: Supplied)

If you’re looking to land a good job straight out of university, a Bachelor degree alone isn’t going to cut it.

New research by hiring platform Indeed found the majority of both employers (68 per cent) and graduates (61 per cent) thought undergraduate degrees were no longer enough to secure a good job.

Most bosses (59 per cent) said they were more likely to hire a grad with internship or work experience, over one without it.

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Graduate accountant Oscar Crosbie studied a double degree in financial planning and accounting at RMIT and worked retail jobs along the way.

“I was working at Shaver Shop and started off as a casual and then made my way to assistant manager and store manager and was in each position for about a year,” Crosbie told Yahoo Finance.

After finishing university, Crosbie got a graduate role at Melbourne accounting firm Harlen and said his work experience helped him gain transferable skills like teamwork, communication and conflict resolution.

Indeed career coach Sally McKibbin said practical experience - including a part-time job, internship or unpaid work experience - could help a graduate stand out.

“While a degree is still very important, employers are looking for more than just academic achievements,” McKibbin told Yahoo Finance.

“When it comes to finding the right graduate for the role, they are looking for real-life experience as well. So, soft skills, different capabilities and transferable skills like communication and problem solving.”

It pays to do your research

Indeed’s research also found graduates could be selling themselves short when it came to their salary.

According to the findings, 17 per cent of graduates expected their salary would be under $50,000, compared with just 11 per cent of bosses.

Bosses were also three times more likely to say grads should earn upwards of $90,000 - 12 per cent, compared to 4 per cent.

“Some of these employers were saying they would pay far more than what graduates expected to be paid. Both people are doing themselves an injustice,” McKibbin said.

But employers and graduates were largely in sync, with both groups expecting graduates to earn between $60,000 and $69,000.

When interviewing for graduate roles, Crosbie said he had a rough idea of starting salaries from looking at different pay-scale websites and job ads. He was offered a role at another firm which was on the lower end of the scale and found the firm was happy to negotiate.

“I was pretty relieved and it was nice to see that reaction. It was really daunting at first because you are coming in a junior position and you don’t have much confidence if you haven’t worked in the industry,” he said.

McKibbin’s advice to graduates is to do their research around salaries and to have that number in mind when speaking to the hiring manager or recruiter.

“That’s not always an easy conversation to have, especially being a graduate. Practise that scenario with parents, a colleague or a friend to make sure you feel confident having that conversation,” she said.

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