Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Jobless graduates start here - GC looks at internships, CVs, and interviews

It’s tough enough for any new graduate to find a job but it is doubly difficult if you come from a working class background. Given the extra endeavour this category of student has made towards achieving his or her degree, it is just plain unfair the obstacles that may lay in their way. My concern is that younger brothers and sisters may decide the sacrifices that have to be made by students from poor families isn’t worth the effort if their graduate sibling can’t find a worthwhile job.
I have written before on how the system of unpaid internships conspires against those that have neither the contacts nor the ability to work for nothing in order to secure these posts. I can’t see these arrangements being outlawed any time soon given that they are rife in Parliament and the media.
More recently I posted 10 basic mistakes to avoid in writing CVs – I hope the tips might prove useful to new readers.
In the current economic climate it is an achievement to get an interview for a vacancy and I would like to think having done so you give it your best shot.
In a buyers market, it is all too easy for companies to stay within their comfort zone and apply a “someone like us” formula to appointments.
This tips the balance against you if your face doesn’t fit immediately. But before you despair look around – not all your prospective work colleagues will match a white, middleclass stereotype.
If you had the opportunity to talk to all of them, you’ll likely find they shared one attribute - confidence. Given you have the right qualifications, your accent or race might be an advantage helping you to stand out from other candidates.
Apart from your ability to do the job in question, the interviewer is assessing whether or not you’ll be a team player who can hit the ground running.
If you’re not articulate or lack social skills, work on it. You are a graduate after all. Be enthusiastic – but don’t overdo the schmooze. Ask intelligent questions – but not about working hours and holidays. Ask about the scope for further training – and company gym membership. Both reflect your keenness. Be prepared to answer the question “Why do you want to work here?” and points raised by your CV.
Above all be pleasant; if you are desperate for the job don’t show it. And finally good luck – I hope some of this has helped.

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