Firstly, let’s just take a minute to pat yourself on the back. It’s no easy task completing 3 years at university; those late nights in the library, 24 hour dissertation sesh’s and those awkward zoom classes. On behalf of everyone here at GRADLiFE, we want to say a massive well done to you. Ignore the haters if you took the decision to chill and de-stress over summer instead of rushing into a job.
However… If you are looking for a job now, read on.
Take your time preparing and researching
Looking for jobs can be a daunting and stressful experience to say the least. In the wise words of Leonard Bernstein “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time”. Whilst you may think ‘making a plan’ is a waste of your time, it’s absolutely not. Make a list of what jobs interest you, what companies you aspire to work at, where to find jobs (i.e. Indeed, LinkedIn) and keep a track of what you have applied for. The last thing you want is to receive a call and forget what the job is; trust me, the recruiting manager always knows if you are bluffing.
How to make a banging CV
The main reason I didn’t use the word ‘perfect’ above is that there is no perfect CV. Anyone who tells you ‘I can write you a perfect CV’ is lying, albeit they may have tips for you. First and foremost, you need to choose the right structure and format it properly. Clear headings which outline:
- Contact details (last thing you want is a killer CV with no way of contacting you)
- Personal profile (get your personality across, people hire people)
- Education (be proud of your education; outline your subjects & achievements)
- Work experience (even if this is minimal, show your responsibilities & achievements)
- Interests (you never know, you may have interests in common with those hiring you)
- References (this is optional but if you do, say you can access these by request)
Nailing the interview stages
Another quote incoming in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “if you are failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Preparing for your interview is not just ‘researching the company’ although this is incredibly important, you need to prepare for all types of scenarios, including; trial runs to the office a day before, understanding the interviewers, preparing answers to possible questions, understanding the full company values as well as knowing the job description like the back of your hand. If you fail to prepare here, it will be a tough mountain to climb.
Without wanting to sound like your lecturers, it’s important you remember the S.T.A.R. technique when answering interview questions. It will help you plan out the answers without going astray. It will also make you come across as confident.
Situation (describe what the situation was and when it happened)
Task (explain what the goal of the task was)
Action (provide what actions you personally took)
Result (conclude here with what the result of your actions were)
Finally, be creative
Having a number of years experience hiring graduates all across the UK, there is always something special when someone does something creative. I got my first graduate job when the company gave me a task to complete; “pretend we are Heineken, write a business proposal to work with us”. If you ask anyone who knows me, I am not a creative person at heart but I wanted to stand out so I wrote my letter with the heading ‘message in a bottle’ and delivered it in a Heineken bottle sent directly to the hiring manager / CEO. I got a call the next day offering me the job.
So if I can do it, you definitely can - be creative, do something different to others. Always remember, people hire people.
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