By Amy Edgar
Last week I attended Newcastle University Business School’s Employability Week and had the opportunity to hear from alumni who are now working in a range of job functions across many different industries. As a final year student, my talks were mostly targeted towards preparing you for graduate jobs. This is a confusing time for many students who may not really know what they want to do after university, or if they do, are going through the long application process where many companies want completely different things from you. However this day was extremely helpful and there were some key points that seemed to resonate throughout the day.
Use the careers service
This was repeated throughout the day by all of the alumni, and I thought it was a credit to the careers service that this host of successful alumni in the business world had all used and loved their services. They are great for helping with CVs, and reading cover letters. I have gone multiple times with a job description and a cover letter before submitting an application and they are super friendly and really know what they are talking about!
It is all about knowing your strengths
I was very interested to hear that the hiring process in changing. It isn’t all about how good you are at ridiculous maths tests anymore (well… sometimes). Companies now care about if you are the right fit for the job in terms of your personality and work ethic. This felt somewhat comforting to me as it is very easy to feel awful when you get a rejection, however, I will now remember that I may just not have been right for that particular role.
Competency, competency, competency!
This was another point that kept coming up throughout the day. All the businesses said they used competency based questions throughout their hiring process. This means that you must give real life examples throughout so It is a good idea to make a list of key competencies for the role and some examples you can use for them. Also it was highlighted that these questions may be disguised, and it is up to you to provide examples unprompted.
All experience is good experience
It was great to hear the range of experience that the representatives of the business had. They were saying they don’t expect you to have lots and lots of experience, but gave some good examples of how to make any use the experience you do have to apply to multiple competencies. One particularly memorable one was that one of the alumni showed that he is demonstrated resilience and determination when getting up at 5am every weekend to work in a fish mongers gutting fish!
Just be yourself (on a really good day)
Authenticity is key when finding a role. Every member of the panel said this time and time again. If you look at a job description and you think I don’t have examples for this or I might have to tell some white lies about what my strengths are, then maybe have a think about if the role is right for you. You want to end up in a job that complements your strengths and is a perfect fit for you and employers will know straight away if you aren’t being authentic so try your best to be yourself… but you on a really good day!