How To Get The Job When You Know You’re Under-qualified

An interesting article written by a former head hunter, I can see parallels here on how  to prepare for a graduate interview:

If you don’t have the exact skills or experience that an employer is looking for, you still may have a chance if you do adequate research.

Andrea Sobel,  a headhunter for more than twenty years who’s now a hiring manager at Parsons Corp., said that since you only have a limited amount of time to impress the interviewer, you need to market yourself strategically.

The key to this is doing your homework.

“You’re not completely ruled out if you don’t have what they’re looking for, but come in prepared with a strategy,” she says. “Don’t just sit there, and act like ‘Oh, I’ve never worked with that, so I’m not going to talk about it.’ ”

It’s acceptable to admit that you don’t have exactly what the interviewer is looking for, but it’s also vital to make the connection between what experience and skills you do have to what the company needs.

Sobel detailed that, if you can make the connection sufficiently, the manager might be persuaded to thinking they can train you on the rest of the skills needed since you already have experience that’s similar.

The bottom line is that you need to appeal to the person interviewing you, and if your experience falls short, you need to show that you’ve come close enough. Whether you can adequately make that argument or not, you’ll still get credit for doing research ahead of time, and the interviewer notices that.

And don’t waste your time discussing irrelevant skills or experiences, which Sobel says happens often and that she’s had several experiences of wasting valuable time trying to get interviewees back on track when they “go on these tangents.”

“You want to make sure you’re talking about the topics that they want to hear. If you have five skills in your current job, but the company that you’re interviewing for is only focusing on three of those skills, don’t waste too much of your time discussing the other two.”

“It’s being conscious of what the company wants, what you bring to the table and making sure you don’t waste too much time talking about what they don’t care to hear about.

Courtesy of Business Insider.

Don’t for get that you can book a mock interview with a Careers Advisor to help with your interview preparation. We generally need 3 days notice and at time of booking need to receive the Job Description and Personal Specification for the advertised role, along with your CV/Application Form as this helps with question preparation.

Tips for New Graduates

Car hire giant Enterprise Rent-A-Car, one of the UK’s ten biggest graduate recruiters, has set out some hints and tips for graduates looking to make themselves more appealing to potential employers.

1. Experience matters

Work experience and internships will often make you stand out. Employers know that a taste of the commercial world will sharply reduce the learning curve when you join the workforce full-time.

2. Volunteering

Unpaid volunteering highlights graduates with a social conscience and proactive work ethic.

3. On-campus activities

Make the most of clubs, sports teams and social groups on your CV, particularly in positions of responsibility. Remember to show how they  helped build teamwork and leadership skills.

4. The academics isn’t everything!

Unless you’re going down a route where you need explicit technical skills, it’s often good to position yourself as a well-rounded individual. A good degree matters but so does everything else you did at university.

5. Confidence shows

Some people are great at writing CVs but lack interpersonal skills. How well do you communicate what’s on your CV? How well do you sell yourself? Do you say “I’m afraid I’ve only done this…” or “Actually, I’ve achieved this…”?

6. Have you done your research?

Ensure you know at least something about the business where you’re applying for a job. A question that begins “I was looking at your website and wondered…” is a good sign to employers. Also, it’s often worth calling the company up before the interview to ask for more details about the job on offer.

7. Professionalism

It’s amazing how many new graduates don’t turn up on time for their interview or dress appropriately. Not every company expects a suit, but you should at least make the effort to find out about its dress code.

8. Using your initiative

For employers, the most promising recruits are usually those who really made an effort. That can mean everything from entering undergraduate awards and competitions while at university, to making the best use of your contacts afterwards.

9. Networking skills

Business is a social environment, so you will often have to demonstrate your skills at listening, making small talk and putting other people at their ease.

10. Motivation

If you get asked “Why do you want to work here?” you should have a real answer and not just a pat response. You might not yet be thinking in terms of a lifelong career, but you should at least know why you’ve chosen that company.

With thanks to Enterprise Rent-a-car

For more detailed information on the graduate application process, check out the CDC webpages