Article: How and when to apply for a graduate role

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    Having secured a graduate job myself, I'd say this article is spot on. Always get your CV checked/reviewed by your university careers service if there is one.

    The best time to apply is in September/October because that's when your workload is at its lowest. The earlier you start, the more time you have to spend on your applications. I actually applied for my job in May after my dissertation deadline and got the job by June. I was doing applications here and there periodically in between and found that my dissertation and exams were too important and so I didn't really have time to prepare for the interviews properly. Mind you, people do get them in between Autumn and Summer but you have to be extremely efficient with your time.

    Preparation for interviews is pretty much the difference between getting the job and losing out. I can't tell you the amount of times I've been to an interview and not having done enough preparation, end up looking like an idiot when they ask you something simple like "What do you know about our company?". Always research the company and the job and always come prepared with questions to ask the interviewer at the end. Practice with family and friends but don't overdo it, if you sound rehearsed, interviewers will pick this up and it'll work against you.

    Glassdoor is one of the best places to get interview tips for the job. People who applied for the job will put their experience down and tell you what is likely to be asked. But keep in mind that it's not 100% accurate and preparing off it alone won't be enough, but it's good to get perspectives from other applicants. I strongly recommend students to include their preparation using this site, it pretty much helped me get the job.

    Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique to answer competency based questions, never be too generic either like "I'm a hard worker" or "I'm a perfectionist" because interviewers probably hear it every day.

    What I think people are most worried about is the fact that because it's an interview, it's supposed to be scary and intense. Going with that notion will only make you worry about it more. I know people who suffer from extreme nervousness and when put under the spotlight tend to crack. I used to be like this and I'd say the key to overcoming this is to imagine you're talking to a friend that wants to know more about you. Interviews are only scary if you want them to be. Just relax, take deep breaths and speak calmly.

    One thing this article is missing is the assessment days. Some graduate schemes have them and it's important to prepare for those as well. Tasks can range to written assessments to group work so you should research the website of the company to see what kind of behaviours are endorsed in that company, and then display them on the assessment day. They are continuously observing you so make sure you don't be checking your phone or start daydreaming.

    The last thing to say really is good luck guys, get the job you've always wanted!
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