Not being deterred! 6 steps to help you apply for a job
Today I’m going to talk to you all about post-grad job experiences, what I’ve learnt so far through applying, and why you shouldn’t be put off if things don’t go your way.
As I’m in my final year of study, the pressure has been put on to apply for jobs ASAP. Although you really don’t need to feel pressured, as we are still so young. However because I want to jump straight into a job after uni, I was applying for quite a few different companies before Christmas. It can seem like a bizarre and totally unfamiliar concept, I’m sure, like me that you’ve been in the bubble of education for so long now, it’s almost like a comfort blanket!
I applied for one marketing role that seemed really great, and just the kind of thing I wanted to do post-uni. However, it really didn’t go to plan. It had been sold completely wrong, and when I got through the next stage and turned up to the ‘interview’ day, I realised I had been trapped in completely the wrong sort of job I wanted! They called it an ‘interview’, however really, it consisted of me following around a guy selling electric from door to door, in some rather dodgy areas, and not to mention in the absolute freezing cold! I hadn’t been prepared nor prepared myself for this at all, and was out in the cold with no warm clothing from 10am to 9pm. It was horrid! BUT, everything is a learning curve. I could take away a lot of lessons learnt from that day. For example, I realised some people do take advantage of young graduates, as they know we are pretty naive when it comes to looking for new jobs. I also learnt that I absolutely did not want to go into sales! Especially after being plonked into a day of it unaware -it just wasn’t for me! It’s a great job for some, but it’s also important to realise what works for you and what you want to be doing full time.
I felt quite cheated, and couldn’t help thinking the whole day that I could have been at home concentrating on one of the many essays I had to write. However, I didn’t let that experience deter me. If you’re deterred by bad experiences when applying for jobs, you’ll never take risks, and risks are often what lead to the best things in life! It’s the same with being rejected from jobs, at least you showed yourself you are dedicated and motivated to keep on applying for different jobs. I have found many of the graduate jobs I am applying for, want graduates on the spot to fill the job roles, which is quite frustrating as I haven’t yet finished my degree. BUT! Often the companies let you know they will hang onto your C.V until you have finished. Even if they don’t get back to you in Summer- contact them! It lets them know you are keen, motivated and enthusiastic. Securing a job certainly isn’t easy, but companies are looking for students like us that can maybe change the game for them. We just have to prove to them that we’re the right fit for them!
However, there are so many times when the job hunting really pays off. My friend applied for many, many jobs, and she managed to secure an accounting job in London! Although there are many grad jobs looking for the role to be filled immediately, there are also a lot of grad jobs that are looking for students to join their company next September, post degree! She is so so excited to be starting this new chapter in the capital, and although it was rather a long way to travel for an interview, it was so worth it. Don’t let the distance put you off when it comes to going for an interview, as the outcome really could be life changing. It just shows if you put in the time and effort, you really will get somewhere. If you don’t succeed, try again!
As much as it can feel like that applying for jobs can be a lottery experience. There are things that you can do to help you prepare for the application, interview and hopefully securing that job!
1. Research the company you’re applying for. Will you be a good fit? Why? Once you’ve answered those questions you already have half your motivation letter written! Companies don’t want another faceless graduate to work for them – they want someone passionate who will flourish in the job.
2. Now re-write your CV and covering letter with the job role in mind. Even if, like me, you’re set on working in a specific industry, every job advert talks about different skills – make sure they’re obvious in your application!
3. Ask a friend. If you have a friend you trust, family member or maybe someone in your careers department to look over your application then you can check there aren’t any mistakes and you can ask ifthey think you’ve covered the skills listed in the job ad.
4. Notes! There are no rules against you taking notes into an interview. Interviewers want to get to know you and your skills (so write them down if you think you’ll forget under the stress!) and check you know about the company – if you don’t know the answer don’t panic, but try and demonstrate that you do know something about the company or industry.
5. Dress to impress. Ok, we know….so boring, but many jobs still expect interviewees to dress the part. Sometimes it can be hard to know what is suitable as it is never obvious. Err on the side of caution and go professional. You can always start wearing trainers and a hoodie (if allowed!) once you’ve got the job.
6. Ask questions! You should know a few things about the company but also show an interest into the things that can’t be found out online. An example could be asking about the future plans of the company, what your day to day will look like, or more personal questions- if appropriate- of how long your interviewer has been at the company. You’ll be their future colleague (and vice-a-versa) so make sure you get on with people!
As a graduate, you probably don’t have much experience, so showing that you are prepared to learn, work hard and have chosen the company for a reason goes a long way.
Even with those 6 steps, you won’t always get the role. I had a company contact me recently saying they would keep my C.V on file until next Summer. It can be gutting when the role they offer you needs to be filled immediately, but there is no harm in applying, as it puts your name out there, and it gets you noticed!
Need more advice? Check out https://studentlifestart.com/become-the-perfect-candidate-for-your-dream-job/ and https://studentlifestart.com/the-art-of-saying-yes/