Getting a Job | Top Tips
Well, well, well, what a crazy week and a half. My return to blogging was less with a bang and more with a bit of a poof. But, all for good reason. If you saw my Life Update post then you will know that I was in the process of trying to secure a job for after graduation. The good news is that since then I have managed to secure one! It is a role that I am almost certain and I am going to love in a business, which just gave me some great vibes when I walked through the door; on every occasion that I did!
Being the second “proper” job I have no secured – with my placement in third year- I feel in a better position to provide a few little tips that I have found helped me during the process. Especially, with the interview process, as this is what I found the most daunting of the whole application process. Also, stay tuned until the end, as I have an opportunity that is great for those looking for an amazing graduate position.
Preparing your CV
This for me was the most enjoyable process of any application. I think it is important to remember your CV is often, the first impression you give to a prospective employer. Of course, it needs to be professional. However, I think it is sometimes good to try and show a little of your personality in there if possible. Whether this is playing with colours, fonts or layouts, you will find a way that suits you the best. I would say, however, keep in mind that it is a professional document, so make it clear and easy to read as well.
With the professional document always in mind, don’t forget you are trying to sell yourself. Whether or not you have experience directly in the field you are applying, you will always have transferable skills from one role to another. In preparation for gaining a job it is great to get as much relevant experience as possible. But, failing that make sure the employer is aware you have the skills to complete the job.
- Go through the job description and highlight the skills they are looking for.
- Under each area of experience, pull out one of these skills and relate it to something you did here.
- Highlight how this skill allowed you to achieve something in that role.
For example, when I was 16, I worked in a garden centre. The job I want to apply for is communication, so I say “Communicated with customers, fellow employees and managers to achieve increased sales, especially whilst working on the checkout.”
If you highlight these skills instead of what you did directly at the start then the employer can begin to see you in the role.
Preparing for an Interview – Video, Telephone or Face to Face
No matter what style of interview you are preparing for, the same steps should always be applied. Obviously, with a telephone interview, it is possible that you can have notes in front of you to prompt your thinking too. However, I think it is still best to prepare the following things.
- Research the company – What do they do? Where would your role fit in? What is the culture of the company?
- Prepare generic interview answers. You know the ones, they come up in most interviews and yet because of the interview situation it is easy to have a brain fart and be unable to think of a good answer. Having a prepared answer ahead of time is definitely going to make it easy. What makes you a better candidate than the others? Tell us about you.
- Think about the skills you already outlined in your CV. Develop STAR answers to questions about these.
Situation – What was the situation you were in? Describe it.
Task – What was the task that you were presented with?
Action – What action did you do to make the situation better?
Result – What was the result achieved? If it wasn’t positive, did you learn anything?
4. Write all of this down and just skim read it ahead of your interview.
It is important to try and stay relaxed, but reading the answers just ahead of the interview really helped me to keep these ideas ready for the interview.
Don’t forget throughout the whole application process, you need to decide if you want to work at the company for which you are applying. The feeling you have when you are going through the process is important. I have attended interviews that gave me a bad feeling and I knew I didn’t want to work there, even if I succeeded in the interview process. It is a two way street, so ask any questions you may have.
Try to stay relaxed. I for one know this is often easier said than done. Practise definitely helps, but often I would find that my mouth was saying things whilst my brain was disagreeing. I spoke to others about this and people experienced different levels of nerves, so I think it is personal thing. However, I think that this does link to above because in the interviews for the company I am joining I was so much more relaxed.
A Potential Graduate Job
Now that you have taken in all my tips, I have been provided with details of a job that may be right for you, the role is a Commercial Graduate Scheme at a Forbes’ Top 100 Most Innovative Companies. If this sounds of interest click here to find out more and apply.
I hope these tips will help you to land your dream job, good luck with the application process and please share any of your tips to help others too!