During December a number of companies have their deadlines for their respective graduate schemes. My thoughts during this period were – concentrate on January assignments and exams as they go towards determining your final grade. Then there were a few deadlines in the beginning of February and my thoughts here were – I’ve let the majority of the best graduate schemes slip by, I really don’t think I have a good chance of securing my dream graduate role now. Now, I not only have coursework deadlines looming but also some more job deadlines. It has also gotten to the stage where I feel I have to make applications because I don’t fancy the other prospect of going back home and sitting on the couch indefinitely.
In addition to having deadlines at the most inconvenient times, the application process is hardly ‘friendly’ and exciting. Employers as a minimum requirement have 4/5 stages to their recruitment process.
1) You need to fill in an online application form
2) Do psychometric tests
3) If you become successful in passing the above two stages, you would probably have a telephone interview
4) You might then be asked to attend an assessment centre
5) Finally, you will need to attend interviews with senior managers
At university, the art of prioritisation and time management is crucial, especially if you become the kind of student who becomes involved in a number of societies/clubs in addition to the academics and/or a part time job. What is more, the standard of the outcome that is expected of you at university is higher because the thought follows that one is ‘older’ and ‘wiser’ (Really, what are they thinking?!). Similarly, graduate employers expect their applicants to be the best of the best in everything they do. The smallest of things start to become your demon in the whole recruitment cycle. There is apparently a statistics that only 20 seconds is spared at looking at ones CV, for those that ask them in the first place of course!
But why do firms makes it this difficult and inconvenient? Why did companies ever have to move from a simple CV and interview to such a gruelling process? I don’t have the answer to these but what I can say is the following:
1) Before making any application, understand the kind of graduate job you want to do. Don’t just get to this stage and apply to anything that sounds interesting. You are simply wasting your time by not targeting the key employers.
2) Try and get some practice into filling in application forms before doing the real thing and more importantly, get them checked by somebody.
3) Stick with it and try to keep yourself motivated and positive throughout the whole process. You may well get a lot of rejections but use that as a way to better your applications/interviews rather than getting frustrated and giving up.
4) If nothing else works in motivating you think about it this way, this whole ‘adventure’ doesn’t come around every four years like the Leap year once you’ve cracked the graduate code so to speak!