Have yourself a merry little interview


Written by Careers Brand Ambassador, Lindsay Christison.

So you’re curled up on the couch, home alone is holding strong at its 100th showing this season and the Christmas food coma has worn off enough for you to be halfway through a tin of quality street (apart from the toffee pennies because let’s be honest you’re not that desperate yet). Next thing, you get an email. You’re invited to an interview for that job/placement you so optimistically applied to last term.

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I give you: A Christmas wish list to boss that interview… *hair flick*

A holly jolly… firm handshake

Well first impressions count right? My first wish is the Goldilocks of handshakes. Strong enough to show I mean business but not so aggressive that their memory of your interview is the red imprint of your hand over theirs.  

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^^Tip: Don’t do this either

What I’d ‘Love Actually’ are easy questions

Please don’t hit me with all that ‘If you were a biscuit, what kind of biscuit would you be?’ nonsense…. There is no chance I can show off my Gold DofE with that… Wish number two: Straightforward questions to which I can regurgitate my pre-prepared evaluation of what my part time job has taught me about time management and customer service skills.

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Baby it’s cold outside… but can my hands stop shaking?

Wish number three is to release my inner Taylor Swift and shake off those pre-interview trembles… The only trembles we need belong only to a House of Madness. Deep breaths, eye of the tiger on headphones and lucky pants… you can do this!

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My only wish this year… is some actually relevant experience

It’s always the case that you’re always busy so you must have experience and skills but how on earth do you apply them to this job? So my fourth wish is the ability to figure out how all of the things I spend my time doing have made me employable… what did I learn? What was I good at? How did getting lost on DofE teach me resilience and how did that annoying customer at the cafe teach me interpersonal skills? Hmm…. maybe I do have experience?

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Don’t suffer ‘Home Alone’… get help from Careers and Placements with a mock interview

My fifth wish would be a practice run at the interview. Like pancakes, what if the first one’s a dud? This wish is probably the easiest to grant. The magic elves at Careers and Placements can book you in for a mock interview! They can test you with surprise generic questions or you can work with them beforehand to arrange a sector specific interview.

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And finally… A Christmas miracle… on 34th street

It’s worth a shot.

Wish six. A miracle.

*crosses fingers and toes*

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And with all that, hopefully, is the makings of a very merry interview!

Happy holidays everyone and best of luck for those pesky January exams and essays!

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Autumn fairs – your views


Over 2,000 students visited our fairs in weeks 2 and 4 this term – and we asked them what they thought.  Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback. We had lots of great comments from students who’d enjoyed the fair, and some concerns as well. Here’s a quick summary, together with our responses:

Space

You said: The fair was too crowded, it wasn’t easy to get around; this could be difficult for students with anxiety; the fair should be in a bigger space. Continue reading

Why Start-Ups and SMEs can be a great place to start your career


Guest blog written by TalentPool , a recruitment platform matching recent graduates with job and internship opportunities at start-ups & SMEs.

When you enter your final year of university and you start thinking about your graduate job, it is easy to end up feeling like big companies and graduate schemes are the only avenues into the world of work. In fact, it may interest you to know that 9 in 10 graduate jobs are in start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). These companies can offer you a unique and valuable route into your career with great opportunities for development. Here are the top 3 reasons why we think you should consider starting your career at a start-up or SME.

You will be given responsibility

adult-brainstorming-business-1181622At  a start-up or SME the team you work in will be small, so each person’s contribution counts! Far from being kept away from the core of the business until you are more experienced, at a start-up or SME you will usually be given high levels of responsibility very early on. You will be working in a small team, so you will receive lots of feedback and your work will not get ignored among a mass of other tasks. This will allow you to build your skills and see the impact of your work – pretty good for a fresh graduate! ! You’ll get a real insight into how a business operates and get to try your hand at a range of different tasks and projects.

The work is exciting

Working for a start-up or SME means working in a company that is constantly growing and evolving. Your role will probably develop throughout the years you work with the company, so you definitely won’t get bored! In many smaller businesses, due to the close-knit teams, employees from all levels of the company are involved in the big decisions. Seeing the work you do has a real impact on your company’s growth and development is one of the most exciting things about starting your career in this sector.

The company culture

Often at start-ups and SMEs, the environment you work in is more relaxed than it would be in a larger corporate. Dress codes are not as fixed and there is often a less rigid hierarchical structure to the team. Lots of these businesses have socials and team members get to know each other quickly. At a start-up you will be working alongside emerging talent and creative colleagues, making the company culture at a small organisation a very exciting one to be a part of.

Graduate careers: what are the alternatives?


 

At this time of year there are lots of posters, publications, messages and events about graduate jobs, whether they’re schemes run by big companies or ‘mainstream’ graduate careers.

What happens, though, if you’re not interested in working for a large corporate or don’t want to go into ‘traditional’ work after university?

It’s not to say the role of an accountant, retail manager or management consultant isn’t challenging and interesting, but obviously they don’t appeal to every student or graduate.

4 alternative approaches

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Not working 9 – 5 to make a living

Work doesn’t have to mean the usual office hours. Flexible working is widely available for ‘typical’ jobs, as well as the more unusual working environments. It could involve compressing working hours – working more hours on fewer days during the week or working from home, giving you more freedom for fitting in work and home life.

Portfolio careers (because one size doesn’t fit all)

Why have just one job, when you can have several? In some sectors (eg the creative industries, consultancy, etc) portfolio careers can be the norm. However, it may be an individual’s lifestyle choice, enabling them to have a variety of roles or test out possible career/business ideas.

Our alternative working web page details both flexible working and portfolio careers, as well as self-employment.

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The great outdoors (or somewhere other than an office)

You may not know exactly what you want to do as a job, but you might be clear that you don’t want to work in an office. If that’s the case, you need to check out careers in a variety of environments. Try generating some career ideas, using some of the resources listed on the career planning information sheet. Alternatively, see what different jobs entail with Prospects’ generic job profiles. However, be prepared – many jobs may require you to be office-based, so even if you’re ‘out and about’ for most of the day, you may spend some time in an office!

Small is beautiful

The large companies you see on campus are not the only option.  There are also small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and in the UK small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector companies in 2017.* So, it’s unsurprising to know that a lot of of graduates go on to work for these sorts of employers.

There’s more information about working for SMEs on our website.

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Want something alternative?

Have a look at the resources mentioned above first and then book a careers advice appointment via Careers Gateway to discuss things further.

Science student?

You might also be interested in our Science careers outside the lab information sheet and 10 alternative science careers.

 

* FSB – www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics

Going abroad? Check out GoinGlobal!


 

Students sometimes wish they’d done a bit more research before studying or working in another country – and we have a great online resource to help you do just that!

How do you know about…

  • Business practice and workplace etiquette?
  • Suitable gifts when visiting someone – and which flowers can cause offence?
  • Bargaining when shopping – is it expected or unacceptable?
  • How to greet people?
  • Eating out – and whether or not people share the bill?
  • Conversations and discussions – and whether it is OK to interrupt another speaker?

GoinGlobal can give you the answers to these and many more questions. GoinGlobal features country career guides, a jobs and internships database, lots of information about finding work and business culture as well as practical information such as healthcare and cost of living.

From the home page select Country career guides and choose from a list of 40 countries.

You will be able to access job search resources, information on growth sectors and areas where your skills could be needed, advice on CVs and interviews, and overview of visa requirements and information on living in that country – all compiled by people who live there.

Similarly, the City guides (mainly US cities and around 30 more cities worldwide), provide a toolkit of jobs resources and cultural advice.

Access GoinGlobal from our International work page and see what you can discover.

GUEST BLOG: The Recruitment Wish List – what skills do employers look for?


rawpixel-660716-unsplashGuest blog written by Jessica Ching, Digital Content and Marketing Executive at graduate recruitment experts,  Give a Grad a Go

It can often feel like employers are looking for a very specific person in terms of qualifications and work experience – but in reality, there are a number of other things that employers look for in their graduate hires.

If you can show that you have these desirable attributes on top of your degree, you’ll make your job application stand out from the crowd:

  • Transferable skills – A degree is an important part of any job application; but if you can demonstrate the skills you’ve learnt throughout your education, and relate them to the particular role you’re applying to, you’ll show the employer what you can offer their business. “Soft” or “transferable” skills can include communication skills (an employer favourite!), teamwork, time management or problem-solving skills – and can be demonstrated through your achievements, involvement in extra-curricular activities throughout school and university, and other hobbies or interests.
  • Commercial awareness – Employers across the board are becoming increasingly interested in hiring graduates who can demonstrate commercial awareness (an understanding of the business world). Show you have an understanding of businesses work by reading up on the market, taking an interest in news and current affairs, running your own business venture at university, or organising a fundraising event.

  • Culture fit – As much as skills and attributes are important to employers, they’ll also be looking to hire someone who will fit into their business and work well with their team. The best way to get a feel of the company culture before you apply is to check them out online (LinkedIn, Facebook, even a quick Google search). If you think you’d be a good fit for their company, show the employer your enthusiasm and dedication to the role throughout the interview process!
  • MemorabilityThe graduate jobs market is incredibly competitive – so if you can make yourself memorable to an employer this is a huge plus. They’ll read thousands of very similar CVs – so a unique design or an interesting combination of skills will make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Research – Preparing for an interview and doing your research around a company is looked on very favourably by employers. If you can drop things you’ve read about their organisation, product or service into an interview, you’ll show that you have a genuine interest in their company and the wider industry.

Find the latest graduate jobs on Give A Grad A Go’s website!

To tweet or not to tweet. Managing your online presence


Social media – great fun, isn’t it? Keeps you in touch with friends and lets you share your experiences (partying, travelling, trying new things) and thoughts (what you really think of the latest Celebrity Big Brother…).

Your use of social media gives an impression of who you are, but don’t forget employers use it too to let you know about their business.

Get the lowdown

Following organisations or individuals you’re interested in on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is a great way of getting an insight into different companies and being among the first to know when they advertise a new job opportunity. You can pick up lots of snippets that might be useful when applying for jobs or going for interview too.

Join York Alumni Association on Facebook and LinkedIn as your fellow graduates do post opportunities to those pages and it’s a great way to badge your profile to strengthen your personal brand.

There are also some handy tips on using social media in your job hunting from Prospects  and GradIreland.

Showing your professional side

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet – and don’t think it’s too soon in your career to have one! – take a look at LinkedIn’s guide for students, which will talk you through creating a good profile and then using LinkedIn to find out about employers.

LinkedIn is great for finding out the latest in sectors/industries, as well as hearing about employers. It’s also a useful networking tool, helping you to make contacts and add to your knowledge.

So, if you’re going to spend some time on social media anyway, why not use it for your job hunting too?