Elly Russell is a final year student at the University of Brighton who is studying (BA) Hons Business Studies with Marketing. She has a strong interest in Digital Marketing, loves scuba diving and is starting her search for a job for after she has graduated. She has kindly provided this article for the blog giving job advice for the newly graduated.
As a final year graduate at the University of Brighton, I am fully aware of the quiet panic that is going through every soon-to-be graduate’s minds at the moment (along with passing exams) – how to I nail the search for graduate jobs? This is a tricky area and so many people make such stupid mistakes that can so easily be avoided. I’m here to give you some tips on cardinal sins that people are still making and for you not to do the same. According to a study conducted by The Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania, there are three mistakes that were the most detrimental to succeeding in gaining a graduate job.
39.9% of graduates were not dressed properly for the interview
This is something that can be so easily fixed. This is a professional situation when you are invited to a company’s office for an interview or Assessment Centre, therefore you must look the part as this is going to contribute towards their first impression of you.
Think about what you intend to wear and go even smarter. This means a suit with a shirt and tie for the boys. The use of an iron is essential and make sure there is no evidence of novelty socks, as hilarious as they are. For girls this is a bit more tricky; keep it simple and if you don’t think you can handle wearing heels then don’t. It’s never worth risking falling on your face in front of your new employer so stick to what you know. Festival bands, tattoos and piercings should be covered up as much as you can – it is not necessarily considered professional and employers are not going to be interested in them so it’s worth keeping them hidden for the day.
29.1% of graduates are late for the interview
This is another area that can be so easily avoided. Aim to arrive at the office 10 minutes before you are expected to show up, so you appear punctual and you can gather your thoughts and your nerves before you go in. If you are travelling by car, keep up with the traffic reports and obviously make sure you have enough petrol and a sat nav if necessary. Parking can take a while as well, so I would leave the house 30 minutes earlier than expected to avoid any unforeseen hiccups and you can still arrive to the interview on time. For those of you who are travelling by train, make sure you don’t miss your train times and try and get an earlier arrival so you can find the office in good time.
25.9% are not prepared for the interview
This is probably one of the most damaging mistakes a graduate can make, as this can imply a lack of interest in the role and creates a negative impression before you have even given them the opportunity to show them what you are capable of. Look up all the information you can about the company, in particular the field that you are going to be working in. It is also worth knowing what competitors they level with and what their angle is in the market in comparison to the company’s capabilities. Sign up to their newsletters and request a brochure if you can, so you have an idea of what their trading operations are. Make sure you have some questions that you are going to ask the company; prepare about 10 or so and memorise them so you are ready when they ask you: ‘Do you have any questions for us?’
So there you have it. By conquering these, you are already ahead of most of the competition in the graduate jobs market and you don’t make yourself look like a fool! Sounds simple enough, eh?