Katy Butland and Elizabeth Kinloch, consultants at the Building Recruitment Company, give advice to graduates who want to start their career in construction
Graduate positions
Now you have successfully completed your degree, you will be looking to start your professional career. If your work experience is limited, aim to land an assistant-level position, which will give you diverse experience.

If you are looking for variety, signing on with an agency will enable you to expand your knowledge and experience. It is a chance for you to try different work environments, companies and organisations, and if you are unsure about the sector in which you would like to work, it can help you decide. If you're fed up with the British weather, you could even look for post abroad. Try www.gojobsite.co.uk.

Being choosy
It is important to be happy in your work environment. And there are plenty to choose from – local authorities, housing associations, defence sector, private practice, multidisciplinary consultants and any number of contractors and developers. All of these offer graduates positions.

Where to find a job
As construction's skills shortage continues, employers are looking for more ways to attract young people into their companies. This has meant that the internet is increasingly valuable for job seekers, and there are hundreds of relevant websites – try www.fish4.co.uk and www.jobsgopublic.com. Vacancies across the UK are advertised in your local job centre and are accessible by visiting www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk. Don't forget to look in relevant professional publications – and on their websites – as well as local and national papers.

Your university can help you choose a career path and give interview advice. Universities also advertise national and regional positions via links to their career websites. Another good port of call is the trade body website of your chosen specialisation. But don't wait for a job to be advertised – if you want to work for a particular company, write to show your interest.

After three years of studying, you’ve probably had enough, but it is still important to read around your subject

Expand your knowledge
After three years of studying, you've probably had enough, but it is still important to read around your subject when you've landed that first job – or if you're going for interviews. Relevant books and magazines hold vital information in this constantly changing industry. Check out www.bre.co.uk for the best reads.

Self-development is vital, so bite the bullet and ask your new employer for extra training, or contact your local college for relevant courses.

Getting chartered
While applying for positions, it is worth considering whether the company will provide you with the support and training you need to gain chartered status. The most common routes are through the RICS and the Chartered Institute of Building. If your course was RICS-approved then you can start your Assessment of Professional Competence. For further information, contact RICS on 0870-333 1600 or take a look at www.RICS.org.uk.