9 things to do if you’re serious about a graduate job
Applications are now open for graduate roles. You may be feeling overwhelmed and slightly panicky. In no particular order and because I’m feeling kind, here are 9 preparation, resume and interview tips which will help you stand out from the graduate crowd.
1. Go to graduate information days. Do this not just for information, but to get a sense of what the company is about. Often an organisation will put their most polished team members in front of the audience at these things. You can see the standard of communication you’ll need to aspire to, if you want to succeed.
2. Look at graduate online forums. Often these are staffed by recruiters themselves. They’ll give good advice if you ask them.
3. Visit the graduate recruitment pages of the major employers and watch the online clips where graduates speak of their experience. When you want to explain why you want to work for company abc, instead of saying “You offer great training opportunities,” you can say: “I watched five of your graduate clips online. Each one of the graduates spoke about the great mentoring program you offer. That’s important to me as someone who is fresh out of university.”
4. Speak with recent graduates of the graduate program. They’ll be able to tell you about the application process and what it really takes to succeed in the organization. Again use this as part of the “why” you want to work for the organization and to help you prepare for the interview and recruitment process.
5. Practice with the online aptitude tests. You can’t memorize answers, but you can get your mind prepared for the style of questions you’ll see.
6. Keep up your day job. You know, the job that you’re doing to fund your way through university. Now’s the time to be “self aware.” Many of us are unconsciously competent. That is we do things well, without thinking about what we are doing and why we are doing it. But you’ll need to talk about these skills in interview or act them out in a role play. Here’s an example to show you what I mean. In an interview you may be asked to give an example of when you worked as part of a team. If you’ve consciously observed what makes your team perform well at work on a particularly busy day, and looked at your contribution, you’ll then have a great example to present about how you work well in a team under pressure.
7. If you’re working, ask your manager what they think are your strengths and weaknesses. Three reasons. You’ll surprise them. You’ll get to find out what they really think of you. You get to start an interview question on your strengths and weaknesses, with the research you’ve done on yourself. That’s a much better answer than pulling some cliché from the internet.
8. Call me. I’ve worked on graduate campaigns, worked as an assessor in an assessment centres, recruited graduates and for the past five years have been helping people successfully navigate graduate recruitment campaigns. I can help with your applications, prepare you for your assessment centres and polish up interview skills. Think of me as an investment into your professional future.
9. Post a question below and I’ll answer it.