Meet Sameer, a graduate from Milkround
Thursday, 29th of August
The end of days… as a student
I sat my last exam on the 23rd of May 2012.
Later that day, while sitting around a table with my friends, I truly realised for the first time that I was entering a new era in my life – we all were. It was time to be exposed to the world of professional work, time to build a career and time to leave the title of ‘Student’ behind.
Now that makes it sound a little daunting and is definitely melodramatic, but what is life without drama? It's like freshly squeezed orange juice without the bits and I love the bits!
Anyway, on to the important stuff. I hadn't yet thought about employment, I was too caught up enjoying student life... and studying. Many of you may feel like you can relate to that. It's not a good relationship to have. I needed time to myself after uni, time to recoup, to rest and relax. The strange thing is I would say my time at university was probably the best time of my life. Why did I need time to relax after that? Thinking back, I have no reasonable answer. And neither should you.
When I got around to applying for jobs I realised that it takes a lot of work. Fortunately there are guides that can be found online to point you in the right direction. Creating a CV that is tailored for the job you are applying for and also writing an effective cover letter requires research. After deciding the career path you want to go down, the use of these tools is undoubtedly of huge benefit.
Initially, I applied to various different roles almost just for the sake of applying, to assure myself I was doing what was required. It was when I decided upon the career path I wanted to go down that the jigsaw of employment started to fall into place. My CV was specific to what I was aiming for and so was my cover letter.
While browsing the Milkround site, I came across a graduate test analyst role being advertised for Milkround itself. I thought to myself, “it's a role I'm interested in, let's research Milkround and see how I feel”. I went on to apply and here’s a useful tip for when you are completing application questions - save your answers! It'll save time during future applications.
I was getting positive responses from other applications I had made and the next day I received a call from the man who is now my line manager. I was invited for the first round interview. I’ll let you into a secret, the first song I listened to after that phone call was “Everybody Loves Me” by One Republic… it just happened to play while my iPod was on shuffle.
The secret to passing an interview is to prepare. You know the old phrase, fail to prepare and prepare to fail? Well it is actually very true, in most areas of life not just interviews. Be sure to know your CV well, this may sound obvious but often there is so much on the CV from potentially quite a while ago that you forget the specifics. Try to list down or research the different skills and competencies that are required for the job you are applying for and make sure you have examples of demonstrating them.
Do whatever you can do to be the best you when you attend the interview. This may mean going for a run in the morning to steady your nerves or channel your excitement. Arrive early and scope out the location for a café where you can settle yourself and ‘get pumped’ for the interview. When it comes to the interview, make sure you’re honest and try not to repeat yourself. Slow yourself down if you’re feeling nervous. And remember, eye contact displays confidence and certainty.
A week after my interview I received an invitation to the final round of the application process – an assessment centre. When it comes to assessment centres know that you’re not just being assessed during your activities but all the way through. With that in mind, make sure you’re polite to the competition. It’ll give out a positive impression and can also create a sense of familiarity between yourselves, and you don’t need me to tell you that comfort is built upon familiarity.
People can’t read minds, so speak your mind and portray your thoughts. However trivial or obvious it seems, it may help you and if it doesn’t help you directly it may help you indirectly by building momentum in your performance.
My assessment centre consisted of two activities, both were team activities and both were on topics unrelated to the job I am now doing. The skills that were required during the activities on the other hand, are transferable. So bear that in mind when being assessed.
I don’t need to tell you that it went well because I’m sitting here typing this out. But what I will tell you is that I was not completely satisfied with my performance, and I didn’t leave the assessment centre thinking I had it ‘in the bag’.
The lesson from this is that the mind has a tendency to concentrate on the negatives in the period between completing an assessment and receiving the result of it. So make a conscious effort to see the positives, it will help you as you go on, even if you don’t get the job. And if you don’t get the job ask for feedback and use that to make a positive change in your future.