Jo Horton joined the university as a Careers Adviser in May 2019, having completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Guidance Studies the previous year. Prior to this, she worked in a diverse range of roles, including university administration, publishing and as an English Language Teacher in Japan.
It’s 2002 and I’m sitting in Leicester railway station, crying my eyes out on the phone to my mum. Earlier that day I’d had an interview for my dream job as a Research Assistant in the History Department at Leicester University. The interview had gone well but I’d just received a phone call to tell me that I hadn’t been successful. They liked me and would have given me the job, except one of the other candidates had a PhD while I only had an MA.
Over the next few weeks I spend a lot of time thinking things like ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m never going to get a graduate job’, ‘What’s the point in applying for anything else?’, ‘Life is so hard – it’s not fair’. I briefly look into applying for PhDs but to get funding I’d have to teach undergraduates alongside my research, which I convince myself I am not capable of doing. I drink a lot of wine and eat a giant bar of chocolate to console myself. I stop searching for graduate roles and resign myself to a life of unfulfilling temp jobs.
This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Lisa Carr, a Careers Consultant at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.
According to the Institute of Student Employers, over half of employers now use video interviews as part of their graduate selection process. Most video interviews are pre-recorded and are shorter than live face-to-face or telephone interviews, with employers often scrolling through and deciding in the first couple of minutes whether to watch any further. So it pays to be prepared – that first impression is crucial.
Here’s how to give yourself the best chance.
Set the scene
Recruiters make quick judgements based on visual cues. A strong impression is also formed by the room you are in. What does the room say about you? Choose a neutral canvas and remove clutter and distractions (such as empty beer cans!). If books or pictures are on display, make sure they look professional. Ensure your desk and chair give you a good posture and that your room is well lit – avoid sitting in front of the window as this can cast a shadow. You’ll also want to make sure your housemates know not to disturb you. If in doubt, you can always book a room at the Careers Centre if you want a quiet, professional-looking setting for your interview.
This piece was written for Class of 2018 Month by Pablo Costa, a Careers Adviser at the University of Leeds Careers Centre.
As a former recruiter, I was pretty sure an interview candidate would know what skills we would talk about during an interview. After all, we highlighted them on the advert. But I wanted to see the motivation that they had for joining the organisation in the first place. Why?
Well, many recruiters worry that candidates have just applied because they think “the more I apply to, the more chance I have, right?” So how can you show motivation in an interview using research?
A really easy way is to follow the company via social media. Most organisations have LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook accounts, and you can follow them for the most recent updates. You can research the organisation’s website, but what information should you gather? A good idea would be to fully understand who they are, their sector, and any recent news, but for more in-depth points to cover in your research, read on!
This week we’re discussing some simple steps you can take to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate jobs/internships.
If you’re a soon-to-be graduate looking to give yourself nightmares, Stephen King has nothing on job hunting statistics. To snag any given graduate role, you’re going to have to fight off thirty-eight other applicants, and that number only rises if you’re applying for a particularly competitive industry or particularly prestigious employer.
Of course, some of these competitors may quickly rule themselves out of the running with low grades, sloppy professionalism or general incompetence. But many won’t. And while polishing your CV and honing your interview technique will certainly put you ahead of less dedicated job-seekers, it won’t elevate you above people as prepared as yourself.
Luckily, there are ways to stand out from even the most experienced, conscientious and competent crowd. Using the methods below won’t guarantee you a job, but it’ll definitely up your chances.
This week’s blog post is a summary of Leeds student Hristina’s In Leeds Day experience focusing on what she’s learned from mock interviews and CV coaching sessions with Leeds graduate employers.
I recently participated in the ‘In Leeds’ day organised by Leeds City Council, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the three universities in Leeds. The day was an amazing opportunity to meet students and employers from Leeds and has convinced me that Leeds is a great place to stay after graduation.
As a part of teams of 8, we had to come up with an innovative way for companies to retain talent in Leeds. We then had to present our idea to a panel of professionals from companies such as PwC, Sagar Wright, FDM Group, Sky Betting and Leeds City Council. Presenting in front of over 70 people was a daunting experience but I’m more than pleased to say it went well and I was lucky enough to be on the winning team.
As a prize, employers offered CV checks, mock interviews and coaching sessions to the winning team which was amazing of them to do.
Considering working for a start-up or SME? Find out what their recruitment process is like in this week’s blog post.
Over the past few years, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of university leavers pursuing a graduate job at a startup or SME (small or medium-sized enterprise); over 50% of graduates now say they would rather work at a small company than for one of the larger, more traditional graduate employers. And it’s easy to see why, given working for an SME can be a great way of kick-starting your career. You’ll be given the opportunity to develop a wide skill set, take on high levels of responsibility and get the chance to really have an impact on the business and its development.
This week, Susanna from Inspiring Interns gives some useful tips for students and grads on how to prepare for the world of work, and demonstrate this to employers.
We’re in the middle of a graduate shortage. That’s right: while grads complain about how hard it is to find a job, employers are moaning about the lack of good candidates. Seems weird, right? But the problem isn’t necessarily the quality of graduates; it’s their readiness to enter the world of work.
The reality is that most students have never known real employment – a fact that many recruiters can tell from fifty paces. From STEM to arts subjects, from Russell Group to poly, graduates find the real world hard. These days, the movement from childhood to adulthood occurs not at sixteen or eighteen but with the end of university. As a result, many employers think of graduates, however much they claim otherwise, as too immature to be trusted with a job.
Here’s how you can assuage an employer’s fears and prove you’re ready to enter their world. Continue reading
This week’s blog post by the Accountancy Partnership goes into detail about the accounting industry and lists the skills, experience and specific qualifications that can facilitate getting into the industry. If you are thinking about a career in accounting, but aren’t sure where to start, this post has some useful information and relevant resources to help you out.
The accounting industry isn’t the same as it once was. We should no longer view accountants as number crunchers, because in today’s business world, they have a much larger part to play.
While many accounting roles require similar skills, employers also want accountants to be able to show versatility. This article looks to find out exactly what jobs the accounting industry has, how they’re changing and how you can apply for them.
Do nerves get the better of you in interviews?
Does the thought of networking or giving a presentation fill you with dread?
These are essential elements of job search and selection processes but are things which many of us find terrifying at worst, or simply uncomfortable at best. Confidence – or at least being able to fake it ‘til you make it – will help you excel in these. In this post I share tips for improving your confidence, through the lens of behaviour expert and author Olivia Fox Cabane’s work on charisma.
As a Careers Consultant, confidence – or lack of it – is one of the things I most often see holding people back. Whether this be a general lack of self-confidence, or more specific issues around situations like interviews and presentations; how we feel, think about and talk to ourselves are, in my opinion, the biggest influences on confidence. Continue reading
As something that I usually mention in interview preparation with students and graduates, I’ve been thinking about writing a post on the rule of 3 for a while. Being reminded of the Olympic motto, with its focus on aiming high and continuous improvement, this weekend prompted me to get it written.
The Olympic motto; “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, is one example of the rule of 3. Think how often popular phrases, soundbites from famous speeches or advertising slogans are comprised of 3 words or parts.
You can find examples in pretty much any area of life, Continue reading