Melissa Mumby is a final year student studying a BA in English and Spanish. She has just secured a graduate role with Morrisons and shares her tips and advice on how this can be achieved.
I have recently been offered a position on the Morrisons Marketing graduate scheme beginning September 2013 based in their national head office just outside of Leeds.
Although graduate job statistics can be worrying, it’s important to remain optimistic because there really are jobs out there for hard-working graduates; it’s just a case of finding them! Here are a few things I would recommend for graduate job seekers based on my own experiences of a lengthy application process:
- Start applying early
At the beginning of my final year I did a lot of research around top graduate employers in order to decide what kind of job I wanted to apply for. Attending the October ‘Graduate Jobs and Internships’ fair, talking to Careers Centre staff and going to employer presentations at University all kept me up-to-date on the jobs available to graduates. It is worth bearing in mind that graduate jobs are extremely competitive and many recruiters hold assessment centres as early as October, so applying well before the December deadline is a good idea. I applied for Morrisons in November, which meant that I didn’t spend my busy Christmas holidays writing applications and I could instead focus on my (many) Uni assignments.
- Get some work experience
Many of the interviews I have had this year required me to show skills that you can only really gain from meaningful work experience. Completing a 3-month Internship in the summer of my second year gave me a range of talking points and really helped widen my skill set. This meant that during interviews I had plenty of examples of leadership, team-work and communication as well as real business experience that enhanced my commercial acumen. As competition for jobs increases, work experience is a great way to stand out.
- Prepare well for interviews
I dedicated a lot of time to preparing for interviews, and this is the only way to ensure you are confident and knowledgeable in a way that will impress recruiters. Things like reading the employers’ website, keeping up-to-date on their business news and taking an interest in the sector all help. It is also vital to be well prepared for the competency-based questions. I wrote answers to every imaginable question, booked mock interviews at the careers centre, and practised with my housemates the night before an interview.
- Be confident
I quickly realised that being outgoing and personable was key to getting onto a graduate scheme, especially at later stages. Whether it’s networking with current employees or making a good first impression at an assessment centre, it really helps to be confident and friendly to everyone you meet, including the other candidates. I made an effort to befriend everyone at my Morrisons assessment centre, and it made the group task a lot less stressful.
The main thing I have learned is not to underestimate any part of the application process. Whether you are writing a CV, completing online tests, preparing for a phone interview or attending an assessment centre, it’s important to always be at your best because determination is all you need. Well, that… and a bit of luck!