Contrary to popular belief, there is no single ‘right way’ to graduate. You may be the sort of student who settles into university very quickly and soaks up the atmosphere, or like myself, you may take a while to adjust and find direction. If I was asked to give only one piece of advice it would be to do something that scares you every day, whether that is taking a risk on a university assignment or joining that society you have in mind. Scary can be good, and being petrified for almost my whole three years at university is what has got me to where I am today.
The journey from A-Levels to University to Graduation may seem like a long time, but the experience itself seems to only last a few days; I still have times where I look back and wonder how on earth I survived first year, but nothing is more satisfactory than to look back and see how far you’ve come as a professional and as a person.
Whilst I don’t encourage you to fail, do not let that failure affect your drive and passion for your degree – remember you’re here for a reason and the admissions board and lecturers saw a light in you that you may not currently see in yourself.
I didn’t pass every module first time, yet here I am today with a 2:1, starting my career at one of the leading PR agencies in the UK, having applied for a graduate role shortly after leaving BCU.
This ultimately came down to my determination to succeed in my final year of my degree; I pushed myself to breaking points and I have survived to tell the tale and reap the benefits of this hard work.
My tips for graduate interviews:
Do not get disheartened if you do not get a graduate job straight out of university – use this time to develop yourself as an individual and create an identity for yourself.
Intern at agencies, make new contacts, keep on learning after you submit your dissertation and don’t give up. Find your expert area and take full advantage of this, own your knowledge, skills and experience and let your personality shine through in any interviews you may have.
Apply for graduate jobs you may not necessarily want just for the interview experience and use each of these situations to help build yourself and your confidence for when you finally get an interview in a company you want to work for.
Listen, learn and develop
My secret weapon comes towards the end of the interview, use your question time wisely and make the hiring managers think about you as an individual. My top question to ask is:
“In what way could you best utilise my skillset?”
This question will make that interviewer think about you as a person and will help to highlight your strengths.
I cannot thank my lecturers, Philip and Kelly, enough for their advice and knowledge and I would not be the professional I am today without their assistance. They are there to help you so make sure you take full advantage of their experience and expertise as it will assist you in your journey from graduate to executive.
If you have any further questions then do not hesitate to ask for my contact information and I will be more than happy to assist in any way that I can. I was in your position less than 12 months ago and I understand where you’re coming from – and where you could go.
Post by Dean Taylor, 2016-17 graduate of Birmingham School of Media, Social Media Executive at WPR Agency