Applying for a graduate job or internship is a difficult process regardless of your background or personal circumstances. But if you feel that diversity issues might affect your applications, here's some advice you might want to bear in mind.
Diversity tip 1: remember that potential employers need you
It’s widely recognised that organisations with a good mix of different kinds of people perform much better.
So many graduate recruiters are very keen to receive good applications from students from a range of different backgrounds.
Diversity tip 2: use networking to your advantage
You might not see yourself as part of an "old boys" school or university network, but that doesn't mean that networking can't work in your favour. In fact, people who have to form their own professional networks often end up with much more powerful ones than those who have these handed to them on a plate.
So how do you form a network? The “room full of people I don’t know” kind of networking events can be daunting, but if you pluck up the courage to approach a few people these can be excellent opportunity to make new contacts and to learn.
Don't forget other forms of networking too, which are often more efficient and more satisfying. These include building connections through social media, meeting for coffee or chatting on Skype. You could also put yourself out there through a blog, an intelligent comment or question at a speaker event, or an offer to give others careers help or advice – everybody has something to offer others, however junior!
Diversity tip 3: have confidence in yourself and your abilities
When you're at a networking event or an interview, remember that you've made your way there for a good reason, and the people you meet will want to hear about your abilities and experiences – so don’t be shy!
The more self-belief and confidence you have, the more opportunities you give recruiters to understand your experience and skills and who you are as a person, and potentially give you a graduate or internship place.