Posted by: EmmaMountain | July 23, 2013

It’ll be alright on the night

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There is only so much one person can do to take their minds off the impending doom of results day. I started off optimistically enough, having plans to spend my entire summer watching guilty pleasure television and lazing around in the sun as reward for my last minute revision efforts. Instead I decided that I had most probably failed my entire degree and spent the whole month worrying endlessly. The logical solution? I decided the only natural thing to do was start reading all the books I should have in my studies to retrospectively prove that I was worthy of a 2:1 after all. Even more tragically, I started highlighting passages “just in case” before realising that now was probably a good time to re-evaluate my life.

Whilst I was pulling all-nighters trying to meet a deadline I remember being so envious of my friends who’d graduated last year and had not yet found work….After a month of unemployment I now can’t think of anything grimmer. It’s so demoralising and such an easy rut to get stuck into, especially when you’re faced with a massive pile of rejection letters from such a brutal job market. Thankfully my friends and family managed to knock some sense into me and make me realise that it’s going to take hard work and perseverance to get my dream career, and if I don’t, so what? There are more important things in life than a job, and as long as I’m making the most of my situation and taking any opportunities that come my way, there’s not really much else I can do but relax and enjoy it.

Of course, as soon as I realised this everything seemed to come together naturally on its own. I secured a 2:1 in Combined Honours and I got a three month placement as a social media and online sales developer which is in the field I’m aiming to develop a career in. For anyone else who is trying to get into marketing I couldn’t recommend Newcastle Work Experiences enough, this is how I found both of my placements and they’re a great way to gain paid internships and gain some really valuable experience.

As for the interview I consulted two people to coach me through it. One was a friend who is a candidate assessor for a financial firm in London. The second was my sister who is studying business and was able to help me pitch my portfolio and skills to sell myself. I find interviews completely out of my comfort zone but they gave me some really good tips. I ended up having a really good interview so I thought I’d share them here for anyone who is going for an interview soon, such a generous girl I know!

The best advice I was given is pretty obvious but something that I never did until recently, and that’s to think about the interview as a conversation rather than a series of on the spot questions designed to catch you out. This will automatically reduce the pressure and if you appear relaxed, confident and friendly the employer will automatically be more likely to believe in your capabilities and warm to your personality too. I’m a naturally shy person but this really took the pressure off so I could concentrate on showcasing my experience and skills.

Another tip is that the questions you’re asked will no doubt relate to the responsibilities and roles mentioned in the job description, so it really is worth breaking each sentence down and analysing what sort of candidate they’re looking for, then having examples for each one to show you’re the right person for the job. It’s also a good idea to research the company and any similar roles so that you not only appear passionate and knowledgeable about the company, but that they know you have realistic expectations of what the role will entail.

If you have to present a portfolio like I did, make sure you have prepared a pitch on each bit highlighting why you did it and how it benefited the company. For example, I had some design work from my previous marketing job in my portfolio. My immediate thought would have been to launch into why I used this colour or this design, or faded this photo or chose a certain text. However the emphasis shouldn’t have been what I did, but why I did it. In this case the design work was to build a recognizable brand and to make the company look professional, which would in turn make the customers more likely to trust the brand. Thinking about why you did something stresses to the employer that you don’t just follow direction, but that you can think independently to produce good ideas and put them in place, a great asset for any company.

I’m two weeks into my new job and so far I’m really enjoying it as I’ve got a lot of creative agency. I hope to complete a few more internships at larger companies before applying for a more permanent graduate position, so fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted with my next plunge into the unemployment pool very soon, watch this space!

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Responses

  1. Brilliant news Emma, and congratulations on your 2:1 – lovely picture too! I’m really glad you are enjoying your placement. And daytime TV is seriously over rated – there’s on so much ‘Cash in the Attic’ one person can take! :-)

    You give some really sensible interview advice – and don’t forget as one of our graduates you can still use the careers service for interview (and other) help for up to three years after graduation if you register with us – at https://internal.ncl.ac.uk/careers/secure/grads/graduates/register

    Anyone else with an interview coming up might also like to check out our interview advice and example questions here http://www.ncl.ac.uk/careers/jobs/applications/interviews.php
    Good luck with the rest of your internship and have a great summer!


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