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preparing for a job interview
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Undergraduate Advice: Preparing For A Job Interview
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In the current economic client, university students who have graduated after 3, 4 or even more years are being squeezed in the job market with many finding that they can’t get a job in their specialist field. With the job market being more competitive than ever, it makes sense to adopt strategies which will help differentiate you from the other candidates when you’re applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.

Preparation is one of the key elements for success at a job interview, but I believe that preparations to get the jobs that you want should be part of a long term strategy, rather than last minute, which is why this advice is aimed at undergraduates rather than graduates. It can be very challenging and stressful to be finishing final degree work at the same time as applying for jobs. However, by adopting a long term approach to getting the job you want, when you graduate you can lessen some of the stress. I would start this preparation from the moment that you start your university course.

These are my long-term tips for preparing for a job interview.

Buy a notebook: Although we live in an electronic age, I would still advise that you buy a notebook that can be used to record useful information to do with your ideal job. However, this is very much a personal view and you need to do what works for you.

Allocate time to record and review: When you apply for a job, it can be very difficult to gather information or remember what you did six years ago. That is why you need to commit to recording regularly. I would recommend doing it once a week for 30 minutes or so, to ensure you don’t forget about some of your experiences and achievements.

Start your research: Some people have very clear ideas of the organisations that they hope to work for after graduating, but others don’t. One again it’s never too early to start doing some research. Commit to spending two or three hours a month to researching the organisations you would like to. Learn as much as you can. Find out what opportunities there are for work experience.

Gain relevant work experience: I know this can be a very thorny subject. Some undergraduate courses require so much written work that it makes is virtually impossible to do any sort of work. Others work in a pub, because that’s the easiest work to do. I’m not knocking pub work, because you clearly learn a lot of useful skills, such as handling money, communicating effectively and teamwork, that can be transferred to another context. However, if possible, more relevant work experience in your chose field can aid your future job prospects. Students doing work experience don’t always get paid and that’s not right, but you may decided that’s it’s worth sacrificing something else or saving some money so you can afford to work unpaid for a very short period of time, even as little as two weeks to gain the relevant experience.

Complete a skills analysis: Many university careers advice services have activities you can complete to assess your different skills. This will give you an idea of your current skill level and you will then know what areas you need to work on. Don’t let this overwhelm you. If you’ve started this process in your first year, you really do have plenty of time to improve your skills. There is lots of different information about transferable skills that employers look for.

My aim in writing these tips is to emphasise to undergraduates the importance of doing some long term preparation in order to maximise your opportunities for future success in the job market. Preparing for a job interview requires a lot of work, but I hope I’ve made the case for not leaving it until you’re thinking of graduating. When you do get invited to the job interview, there will be additional work you will have to do to ensure then you are the ideal candidate, so start laying the foundations now. This approach will pay dividends.


Street Talk

BIS-Coach - Well done. Good insight. Darryl K. Henderson, J.D.

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  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  about 7 years ago
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