Monday, 18 July 2016

Five Ways To Nail Your First Graduate Job!

Having recently (finally!) secured myself a full-time, paid graduate position - almost four years, not to mention one Masters degree, after completing my undergrad - I've certainly had my fair share of interviews. I've genuinely lost count of how many jobs I've applied for over those years, but it is literally hundreds, and at a guess I've been for around 20 interviews in the last three years, before finally getting a job. It isn't easy and I'm by no means an expert, but I think I've learnt a lot along the way, so here are my top five interview tips for graduates!
Five-Ways-To-Nail-Your-First-Graduate-Job
[Photo Credit: A Prettier Web. Edited by me.]
Make sure it's a job you really want
It sounds obvious, but if you can afford to be picky with what jobs you're applying for - be picky. Interviewers can generally spot a mile off a candidate who's just there to fulfil their Jobcentre criteria or pay the rent; interviewing for a job you really want is a whole different ballgame and, for me at least, a whole lot easier and more rewarding. Generally speaking, an interviewer will want to see passion and enthusiasm - which is hard to muster for a job you're not really bothered about.
Prepare
Preparation is key! Know the job description inside out; do a bit of research into the company or department; look up any additional information you can find - this might be reviews or inspections, sales or profit reports, leaflets, client testimonials... For example, for me, interviewing for a job in the NHS, this meant looking at things like how the team I'd be working in fits into the wider trust, the results of the most recent CQC inspection, and relevant leaflets about the service for both patients and health professionals. The more background knowledge you have, the more confident you'll be - even if you don't directly mention every fact you've looked up, knowing they're there in the back of your mind if you need them is a real boost.
Then, have a think about what the interviewers might ask - there will always be questions which will take you by surprise, which is fine, but having answers prepared for common questions like, "Tell us about yourself" and, "Why did you apply for this role?" can alleviate a lot of stress! Remember to think of concrete examples you can include in your answers - anyone can say they love working in a team, but providing evidence in the next sentence will set you above other candidates.
Dress to impress
Yes, first impressions count. Make sure your interview outfit is up to scratch, including your hair, make-up, jewellery and shoes; I always err on the more conservative side, which usually means wearing long sleeves to cover up my one visible tattoo, and taking out a few of my piercings. However, I'd always choose an outfit I'm comfortable in - confidence is key! - and I'd never go for heels, because I know that would be an accident waiting to happen. If in doubt, try to find out what people in similar roles within the company wear, and go with something along those lines.
Stand out
Make yourself memorable - preferably for good reasons. Try to think outside the box a little and, if you can, give an unexpected answer or mention any unusual (relevant) hobbies or experience. That doesn't meant you should tell them about your belly-dancing class when they've asked about something else entirely, but if you can relate a skill from said belly-dancing class (maybe motivation, dedication, or a willingness to try new things?) to what they're asking - go for it! I was asked about a piece of writing I was proud of and, whilst the first thing that came to mind was my dissertations, I knew that was what they'd be expecting - so instead, I spoke about some workbooks I'd produced in my voluntary role, gave examples, and mentioned why I was proud of them. The interviewers were really interested and actually asked a few more questions about the kinds of materials I'd prepared, which was lovely. Remember - the interview panel might see five, ten, twenty or even more candidates - give them a reason to choose you over the others!
Think positive
First up, remember that if you weren't capable of the role, you probably wouldn't have got an interview; graduate positions are generally quite competitive, so weaker candidates simply won't get past the application stage. You've got an interview! You're doing great! Then, try to keep this positive attitude, and identify concrete reasons why you'd be brilliant at this particular job. Even if you aren't successful this time, ask for feedback from the interviewers, and try to take it on board - I was regularly told to give more detail in my answers, which is where thinking of specific examples for certain skills really came into its own.

Now - knock 'em dead! I also want to say - I'm by no means an expert, but if you're interested in a job in psychology or a similar area, I'm happy to try and help, so do feel free to drop me an email with any questions you may have.
Do you have any interview tips and wisdom to share? I'd love to hear about your interview experiences! If you're a graduate, how long did it take you to get your first grad position?

xo
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42 comments:

  1. Brilliant tips! I'm nowhere near getting my degree done but this was still a great read. I think making yourself stand out is definitely one of the most important things you can do in any job interview. I recently interviewed for an absolutely brilliant job and it was quite tough trying to think of less obvious answers to basic questions. I think I did well but it turns out I didn't get the job. I still learned how to avoid the obvious and boring answers and came up with something truly interesting instead, and now I know how to ace the next interview I get!

    www.saarasofia.com | Bloglovin’ 

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    1. Thanks Saara! Good luck with the rest of your degree and with your future interviews! Even ones where you don't get offered the job, are brilliant experience of what to expect :) xo

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  2. I graduated last year and don't have a job in the Psychology field yet technically speaking. I would love some advice and tips, what job did you get/what kind of jobs were you applying for? Xx

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

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    1. I think Psychology is particularly competitive! It's an Assistant Psychologist job, which is mostly what I applied for, alongside some Research Assistant and Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner posts. Feel free to drop me an email if you want a chat Kiran! My email is hello@theindigohours.co.uk :) xo

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  3. Congratulations on the job :) These are some great tips for interviews in general, they can be so daunting and first impressions count! xo

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  4. Great tips, thanks for sharing this post :)

    Camille xo

    www.cococami.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. Congratulations on your job great tips for looking for work in General.

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  6. Some great advice and research is definitely a must, you need to ensure you know everything there is to know about a company and be prepared x

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  7. These are really great tips! I would have been graduating in 2018 but I decided to take a few years our and now I'll graduating next year in a different course so these are great tips! Congratulations on your new job!

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  8. Lots of great tips here! I didn't end up getting the job I thought I wanted after uni, but it all turned out okay in the end as I am a full-time blogger now. Sometimes things take a different direction :)

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  9. Congratulations on the job! I definitely think standing out (in a positive way!) is key!

    Milly | Mini Adventures

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  10. Congrats on the job, :) you mentioned interviewing for the NHS, what you recommend for a soon to be masters student looking for a part time job in the NHS? Studying to be a therapist :)

    Great post however, thank you x

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    1. I'd say have a look at NHSP and get onto the bank if you can, for support work or similar - then you can fit shifts in to suit you :) Hope that helps! Do feel free to drop me an email if there's anything I can help with! xo

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  11. Congratulations on getting the job. Great tips
    I knew when I was doing my final year over 3 years ago now that competition would be fierce so I started looking for jobs whilst studying for my finals and was lucky to get one 3 days after and be working as a graduate since.

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  12. I have been struggling to get a graduate job since leaving uni, so thank you for your tips, congratulations on the job!

    MadeFromBeauty.co.uk

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  13. At the moment I am in a full job that I hate in order to fufil my dream of moving to London but I want to be able to follow in your footsteps.

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  14. Firstly congrats on the job!!! So exciting! And secondly your tips are fabulous - preparation is definitely key and finding your USP is so important to make you stand out. And YES! You must want the job on some level - otherwise you won't last long :/

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x
    www.fashiondujour.co.uk

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  15. COngratulations on the job! This is a very useful & informative post!

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  16. congrats :) i too have been in similar stage and loved your tips :)

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  17. Such great pointers and congrats on the job. I think you need to make yourself unique and like you are your own person as opposed to just being there cause you need a job x

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  18. Dressing to impress is so important, that is the first impression that you make and the one that often stays in the mind the longest.

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  19. Congrats on your job. Your tips are spot on.

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  20. Great post. I think it's also important to note that you might not get your dream graduate job straight away and that many don't end up working in a field they want to.

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    1. Definitely! Like I said, it's taken me four years, so it's definitely been a long term plan for me! xo

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  21. Firstly, congratulations on your job! This is such a great post and you definitely have some great pointers here xx

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  22. Standing out is key. You want there to be something particularly memorable about you!

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  23. Excellent tips. I think looking smart, holding yourself confidently and preparing well are all extremely important.

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  24. Great tips. I particularly agree with 'Stand Out' - there's a lot of competition for every role now so you need to make sure you're memorable.

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  25. Brilliant tips that are relatable no matter what job the interview is for. Hope you're enjoying your new job? I'm also in the NHS so the mere mention of CQC sends a cold shiver down me haha!

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  26. Fab tips for anyone looking to go into a graduate post!

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  27. Big congrats on the job! It can be so hard getting a grad job straight out of uni.

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  28. congratulations on your job! I loved these tips! The one I struggle with the most is "think positive". Somehow I get in the interview room and I just panic. haha oh well. Confidence really is key, so if I can have 2 minutes of insane courage, I should be alright. Love it! xX

    kynialikethecountry.blogspot.com

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  29. Preparation is so, so key! Wishing you all the very best.

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  30. Brilliant tips indeed! My daughter still has 3 years to go at Uni yet so I am bookmarking this now! x

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  31. So many good tips - wishing you all the luck!! x

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  32. Congratulations on the job! Great tips here, especially preparation, thats so important and helps you feel calm and collected on the day. x

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  33. I think preparation really is key. Looking up typical job interview questions and writing down some model answers is a great way to prepare.

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  34. These are such fantastic cornerstones of interviewing!

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  35. Great tips! I think the most important is staying true to yourself, and know what you are worth!
    Sandra x

    RustedBones.co.uk

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  36. Great tips, preparation and positive thinking are definitely a must x

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  37. Congrats on your job! Well done on keep trying and for sharing your experience. You've provided some great tips!

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  38. I'll be starting to look a job seriously after vacations, so I'll be putting your tips in good use x

    Laura
    Öku Möku

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