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A Q&A with Naeem Amir, Graduate Guru.


A Q&A with Naeem Amir, Graduate Guru.


Here at JobsinWales our aim is to give our clients and customers the utmost premium service in the recruiting industry. That’s why we’re excited to introduce one of our first guests to JobsinWales, Naeem Amir. Naeem is a fantastic example of someone who has applied his two decades of recruitment knowledge and helped thousands of professionals, students, and graduates across Wales.

Naeem provides careers support to Cardiff Metropolitan University students and graduates from CV assistance, and job searching tips to interview advice and networking. His earlier work includes running his own successful recruitment business and working for numerous recruitment agencies.

We held a Q&A session with Naeem to find out what his job consists of and the level of support he provides.

Welcome Naeem,

Can you describe to us what you do?

'I am an Employability Officer working for the Careers Service at Cardiff Metropolitan University, supporting students and graduates with their career goals. I'm the first point of contact for students who perhaps need advice on their future. I help with CV advice, job searching tips, how to apply for jobs and how to prepare for interviews.

Most of the work that I do is based on 1-2-1 sessions where I have an exploratory chat with the students to find out what they want to do, about the course they're studying for and explore where they see their career going. Generally, if you're in the first year of university you're not thinking long-term but focusing more on part-time jobs that can work around your study, second year you begin thinking about internships or maybe doing an industrial placement. And then the final year is more about graduate jobs and jobs that need graduates.

I would say 80% of my job is 1-2-1 sessions with the students talking about employability. The remaining 20% is presenting to larger groups about the benefits of networking, being on LinkedIn and interview advice. '

How did you get into finance / recruitment?

'My background is Accountancy – I have a degree in Accounting & Finance. It's something that I always wanted to do. Whilst I was studying a part of the course was to take an industrial placement, so I took a year out. I did one year with the Finance team at a large bank and then I went back to university to complete my degree, and I then returned to the bank, which was great.

After a year of working there, I was keen to progress, so I registered with a local recruitment agency. After meeting the Recruitment Consultant, he asked whether I would be interested in working with him. I had never thought about a career in Recruitment, but the more I learned about it, the more I got interested. I met with the senior managers and got the job! It felt like this is what I'd been looking for. And I absolutely LOVED it - it was all about helping people.

Recruitment is like a matchmaking service, helping to match a candidate to the perfect role. There's lots of fact-finding, researching and interviews so if an opportunity comes in, you know exactly who would be right for the job.

I started working for a recruiter with several UK offices and then moved to a smaller recruitment company which had 2 offices; but I always stayed in Cardiff. As my confidence and skills grew, I thought to myself 'I could do this and have my own business'

Which is what I did. It gave me the opportunity to decide my working hours and days. I thought that if I work for myself, I could focus on keeping the commission and fee from placing a candidate. 

But in 2008, the recession hit. It wasn't sustainable for the business, so I went out and got a contract to help people find jobs for a year. And then it came to a stage where I thought it would be best to get back into recruitment. But I felt that it had become very saturated, there were so many companies. So, I left recruitment and then I was able to secure a role with Cardiff Met in the Careers team. It's been nearly four years since I've been with Cardiff Met.’

What is one piece of advice for people looking for their dream job?

'I think there is a misconception that you've got to dream. It's paramount to have dreams, goals and aims, it's important. But what most job seekers do, is that they apply for jobs via job adverts. What you need to do is stand out from the crowd. Be visible and be seen. I did a lot of networking and socialising in my early 20s. Getting my name and face out there. You can still be visible via social media. Certainly, for me, LinkedIn is important because you have access to jobs and connections. 

So, my tip is to keep dreaming, things do happen, but you must have a goal. You have to go out there and hunt those jobs down - they're not going to come to you! It's competitive out there. One of those things you should be doing is get on to LinkedIn and start networking. Do your research about any companies you’d want to work for. 

And then start connecting and following the business and the people who work for them. Is there anything from stopping you writing to them and asking if they have any job openings.

To get to your dream destination, it's going to take a while. That's why it's called a journey.

So, what if somebody doesn't have a direction or idea about where they want to go, Naeem?

'If they don't have a direction at the minute, they need to find something that they're passionate about or motivated by. So, if they enjoy being outdoors, it's pointless to pursue a job in an office. So, you've got to have a list of things you like and don't like. What motivates you and what doesn't. If they don't know, then they also need to maybe have a chat with someone.'

How do you see the job market in 2021/2022?

'A lot of people have up-skilled, and a lot of people also haven’t. The people who have focused on building their skills have gotten on a better path towards asking more from their employers. But there have been many challenges, namely COVID and BREXIT. The pandemic has given us this massive opportunity. So many people have been wanting to work from home and that's what we've been doing for the past 18 months. The pandemic has pushed that agenda on, if we didn’t have the pandemic, we would have still had the opportunity, but it wouldn't have happened 5-10 years down the line.

It's important to understand what younger people want. The society and workplace have adapted to change towards the Generation Z. I'm very optimistic about the future.

But we've lost a lot of talent due to Brexit. Workers have returned to their home countries, and it's not been a positive effect on the job market. Many sectors such as Retail, Hospitality and the Care industry are struggling to recruit. For example, the UK currently has a shortage of 60,000 lorry drivers which is having a massive impact on the supply and getting products that we need on the shelves!

What’s the favourite part of your job?

'I'm fortunate to work with people every day. My job is to help our future workforce into employment. When I meet a student who needs help with a CV or support in looking for a job, they start a journey to understand how challenging it can be to secure employment. Students are not expected to know how, for example, conduct an interview. So, I educate them, support them, and give them lots of tips, advice and most important, confidence. When my students/graduates secure employment and come back to tell me that my support made all the difference … that’s the best part of the job!

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