This month, tips on how to return to the employment market after redundancy and strategies for recruiting the best bright young things
Q: I am a company director who has recently been made redundant. I have more than 30 years' experience in contracting, and have been responsible for leading business units with an annual turnover of up to £60m. I am keen to return to the industry in a similar role – what advice can you give me?

A: You have three main routes available to you. The first is networking: as you have worked in the industry for more than 30 years, you will have contacts who may be aware of vacancies.

Another appropriate route would be to register with an executive search and selection consultancy. Here you will receive expert advice on market conditions, vacancies and guidance on how to find a new position.

Finally, you could make speculative approaches to companies by sending out your CV, which you must put together as soon as possible. It should contain key criteria, such as a record of achievement, areas of expertise, a profile, qualifications and professional memberships.

The quality of your CV will have a significant influence in selling you to prospective employers.

There are obviously fewer vacancies at senior level, so a certain level of flexibility is required. This may be in terms of location or salary, and you may also need to look at varied opportunities to find the right position.

Why not take the time to introduce yourself to undergraduates and talk to them about your company?

Remember, you are likely to be competing with other candidates, so good preparation and patience is essential. The process will invariably require at least two interviews and may involve a psychometric test or personality profile. You will also have to meet the chief executive and may have to present a business plan in your final interview, for which you must be well prepared.

Q: I am a director of a construction company and I am continually struggling to recruit graduates. How would you suggest I go about trying to attract young people to work for my company?

A: The first thing you should do is to get a list of all the Chartered Institute of Building-accredited degree courses in your area. Then you should approach the relevant universities and course leaders who will help you find appropriate students. Try to develop this relationship and make regular contact by getting to know your university employer/employee liaison committee.

Another excellent way of attracting graduates to your company is by offering them the opportunity to qualify for the CIOB professional development programme. Why not take the time to introduce yourself to undergraduates? Talk to students about your company and the PDP training scheme you could offer them. Once you have attracted the attention of graduates, you must keep that interest by offering a competitive salary, a broad scope of opportunities, training and mentoring schemes.

The best way to establish the first link with a graduate is to offer industry placements; most undergraduates will jump at the chance of a job with you after they complete their course.