Only apply for jobs that you are 100 percent sure you want, students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been told as they prepare for the world of work.
The advice came from a panel of Business and Law (BAL) graduates who now have a range of successful careers, including managing hundreds of employees, working for global companies and running their own businesses.
Visiting alumni with DMU's Dr Dyneshia Johnson
The six graduates were invited to share their personal career experiences with current students at this week’s Transitioning to Work event.
The inspirational event, which was run in a talk show format, saw students studying Law, Marketing, Politics and Human Resource Management being advised on how to clinch their dream job.
Students were told to do their research and tailor their applications to specific jobs, but were warned against applying to all graduate jobs for the sake of finding work.
The panel of DMU alumni were Dr Ed Thompson, VC2020 Associate Professor for Enterprise at DMU’s Faculty of Business and Law; Beth Barnham, Digital Marketing Executive at Head Red; Clare O’Donovan, Director at Stonegate Mortgages; Oliver Churchill, Area Manager at Amazon; Ranbir Bhalla, Finance Director at Omega Red Group; and Matthew Jervis, Business Consultant at IBM iX.
Matt said students needed to ask themselves ‘do I really want this job?’ as applying to all graduate employers was a waste of everyone’s time.
He said: “You have to have a genuine interest in the company you are applying to work at. You have to show your suitability and enthusiasm in the job interview.
“Don’t apply to all jobs; focus on the ones you really want. For example, if you don’t like multinational companies or bureaucracy, don’t choose those types of companies.
“Do your research and find a job that suits you.”
Beth said jobs were not ‘one size fits all’ and students should pick jobs that best suited their personalities.
She said: “I am a creative person and I thrive in smaller work environments, so that’s the industry I work in.
“Your success is not about working for the biggest and most well-known company, it’s all about what suits you.
“There are plenty of other good jobs outside of graduate schemes. The right job is out there for everyone.”
Ranbir also urged students not to ‘rush into the wrong job’ – he was out of work for a year and used that time to study for his professional accountancy exams, then said: “Everything just came together.”
The panel of DMU graduates talk to students
The graduates agreed that students should “take a career test-drive” by taking advantage of a work placement while at DMU.
Matt said: “When you do a placement, you get to know what you like and how you work.
“You learn about the type of work you are suited to and which work culture is right for you. You get to know what you want to do next. You get the chance to go out there and trial your career.”
Students were directed to be themselves in interviews, letting their own personalities shine through. They were also told to think about skills and experiences gained away from university.
Beth said: “Don’t be who you think employers want to see, just be yourself, that’s what they will remember you for. Don’t be so rigid or corporate that you lose your personality.
“Also show that you are an extension of your degree. A lot of people have degrees; you have to be able to show what makes you even better.”
Students were also instructed to mention part-time jobs and voluntary work as ‘you gain something from every job you have.’
Ed said: “Working in any job shows you know something about the employer and how the work relationship works. You have embedded yourself into an organisation.”
Clare added that if she hadn’t had a variety of jobs, she wouldn’t have had the skills or confidence to set her up her own business.
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The graduates also talked about well-structured CVs, preparing for interviews with ‘interesting rather than run-of-the-mill examples’ and how many employers check the social media footprints of potential employees.
It was also advised that students shouldn’t worry about things they can’t control and should take rejection as a ‘not right now, rather than a no.’
Oliver said: “There is a lot of competition out there, you have to get used to rejection. But don’t take it personally, don’t let it deter you.”
The event was organised by VC2020 BAL Associate Professor for Accreditations Dr Dyneshia Johnson to help students meet their long-term career plans.
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018