So you’ve handed in your last ever essay, bound your dissertation and kissed goodbye to your long haul stints at the library. What now? Well of course you celebrate (the sound of wine bottles and the clasp of a tinny spring to mind) I mean 3 years of partying, late nights and the odd essay is hard work right?
After the panda eyes have been wiped away, the Uni books have come out from under your bed and transferred to their new home (a brown box placed in the loft) you’re ready to spread your wings and bid your last farewell to your student loan and enter the real world, aka the adult world of taxes, rent and a getting a ‘proper job’.
It’s also time to write that golden covering letter, edit your CV and get yourself signed up to all of those job sites to help bag yourself your dream job (oh how easy and Disney like that would be). Unfortunately we all know its pretty tough out there for graduates to bag a great job - but don’t worry, with a little persistence and research, you can do it.
So how should you go about it? Well when I graduated from University in 2009, in possibly the worst time for graduates, the opportunities were balanced on a near on non- existent scale. I decided the only way to gain vital experience would be to intern. Although it was a year of non- paid work in a variety of companies, it did allow me to experience and fantastic inside knowledge from some of the UK’s most renowned publications and PR companies. The only downfall and frustrating thing was having no money and working yourself into the ground with no opportunities at the end of it (graduate fail), so be aware that while interning can land you a job, it’s by no means guaranteed.
As long as your CV and covering letter is up to scratch, and you’re applying to relevant jobs at the right level, the next thing you’re going to face is the dreaded interview. You need to shine in person and smash the interview with your personality and enthusiasm.
Body language, knowledge, and vocabulary are the three main ingredients in the recipe to successfully grab that job you have worked so hard for by wowing your interviewers.
Body Language and Knowledge
It sounds obvious doesn’t it? Your parents, teachers and friends all say that body language is one of the most important things in any interview.
Sweaty palms when shaking your interviewer’s hand, a trembling lip, along with not being able to get your words out when expressing yourself - does this all sound familiar? It’s the big bad word beginning with N that causes this shaky ensemble, that’s right ‘NERVES’.
Your body language in interviews is a huge indicator of how nervous or anxious you are but remember you’re either too cool for school or made out of metal if you don’t suffer from some form of nerves before an interview, so don’t worry too much –it’s human nature to be nervous and shows that you want the job.
How do you deal with nerves? Everyone is different, but I will give you one point of advice before you go into an interview - simply stay well away from strong coffee! Believe me it affects you and your interview performance. It speeds up your heart and pumps the adrenaline which can rev up nerves, so clasp your lips around a glass of juice rather than coffee before an interview.
A wise herbal remedy woman in New York many years ago told me about Rescue Remedy and I swear by it. Two drops of that golden liquid calms you right down before anything that might make you nervous including a job interview you want to demolish (in a good way).
Harsh this may be, but in the first 30 seconds of the interviewer meeting you they will determine if they like you or not. Greet them with the obvious firm handshake but with also a ‘break the ice’ comment of ‘Great offices’ or ‘Lovely meeting you’. There is a difference between enthusiasm and being too excitable, so make sure you get the balance right.
Another crucial part of interview preparation is knowledge of the company. Don’t be afraid of going in with a pad of bullet points about the company you’re interviewing with and make sure you can talk with confidence about what you’ve found. Also make sure you read over the original job description as this will give you a head start for a ‘smashing’ interview. I mean, you want this job, so why not make the effort and go that extra mile, hitting the interviewer with some knowledge that shows you have looked beyond the company website? You would be surprised at how many people don’t even skim the company website before their interview. Don’t be one of those fools.
I remember being at University when it was exam time and having a meeting with a professor of the brain (think of the doctor from Back to the Future) who told me that the best way to revise is breaking session down into tiny chunks rather than hour stints. Reading through notes 20 minutes before bed is the absolute key thing. I tried it in my exam period and seriously my golly it works, it stays in your head so give it ago when revising for an interview.
This is the winning and last concoction to nailing the interview, its all about buzz words and using the original job description words in your answers. For example if you’re going in for a sales role using words like ‘money driven, ambitious, and confident’ will show the interviewer that you know the job jargon.
Finally go into that interview with confidence, knowledge and enthusiasm and you will come out with beaming smiles. But remember job hunting is a bit like getting back on a horse, if you don’t get one interview then you will get the next, so stay positive and you will get there.