Graduate job applications, transferable skills, job interview, identify transferable skills, student skills, Jobs application, job interview, difficult interview questions, preparing for an interview
Best Jobs applications Tips
Getting into the labor market after school or college is a daunting prospect and that’s without the minefield of jargon, overnight advances in technology, and discriminatory attitudes.
OK – Let’s bust a bit of that jargon! What exactly are transferable skills?
Quite simply, they are things you can do in one area of your life which can be used somewhere else.
Let’s take an example. As a student, did you get all your assignments in on time? Were you able to set up extensions if your work was late? Did you learn how to type quickly and use a number of computer programmes effectively? Did you hold down a part-time job and manage to juggle work with study and your social life?
If you answered yes to all or at least some of the above, you have demonstrated an extensive range of skills, such as effective time management, negotiating and good communication skills. Now, you may not give them such grand titles, but if you were filling in a job application form, that’s exactly what you’d call them.
You’ve been picking up skills from the moment you were born. The problem is that you take most of your skills for granted. That’s something we’ve got to change! So grab a pen and paper, get yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s get started your job application.
Choose any role you’ve had in your life.
As a graduate, you’ll have spent a large part of your life so far as a student and so we’ll use that in our example. Have a go at brainstorming the skills you developed in your school or student days.
What did you come up with?
You had no chance of surviving as a student – and even less chance of passing your exams – if you couldn’t communicate the knowledge and skills that you are at college to learn.
How did you communicate this information? By writing essays, giving presentations or talks, delivering a lesson to other students, answering questions, writing a thesis? You may have devised questionnaires and interviewed members of the public, written articles for on or offline publication or for a college newsletter. You’ll have taken notes and summarised information from books and lectures. Think about each subject you studied and write a list of the methods of communication you used, both oral and written and write examples of each.
As a student you will have been exposed to group work of some sort – I know, I’m a teacher! You may have had to research a subject to make a group presentation or for a written assignment, or perhaps you produced a class newsletter or were involved in a community project with classmates. If you have played any team sports in your spare time, you will know a lot about what it takes to work as a member of a team.
Ability to work alone and on your own initiative
Much of the work you did at college was not group work, but stuff you had to do alone and you probably had to motivate yourself to get on with it. So, how good were you at getting all the work done? You may not have liked it, but if it had to be done, chances are you did it. How did you use your own initiative? Did you devise ways in which to make remembering information easier? Did you come up with creative ideas to make your work different and interesting? Did you find a job applications in which you were able to fit in with your studies and which solved some of your financial problems?
Ability to meet deadlines
Deadlines – You certainly had a few of these in your student days. Did you meet them? You may have learned the hard way, sitting up all night at the last minute, but most people manage to get things in on time. And if you didn’t, how well did you negotiate an alternative solution?
As a student, you will have used, at the very least, the internet, email, and word processing packages. Your college will probably have provided free tuition in these and possibly also in programs like Powerpoint and Excel. You may also have developed other skills in your own time or when you were at schools, such as web design or programming. Add all these to your list of job applications.
You will have had to do some form of research for your assignments and for your thesis or dissertation if you went to university. Write down the methods you used – internet, specialist libraries, journals, interviewing, using questionnaires, doing case studies.
Communication skills, teamwork, ability to work on your own and to use your own initiative, ability to meet deadlines, IT and research skills are all high on employers’ lists of essential attributes in a graduate employee. Your job is to provide examples which prove that you have these skills. So, using the information in this article, make your own list of specific examples. They will help you shine both on paper and at the interview.
Job Applications – Common Interview Questions
Before going to an interview, you need to consider some of the questions you may be asked, such as why are you leaving your present job and why do you want this one? Use these tips to help you deal with potentially difficult questions in a positive way.
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Questions about your present, or most recent, the job can be tricky and if you aren’t careful you can ruin your chances by making negative or undiplomatic comments. So make sure you are prepared.
In an ideal world, we’d all get on brilliantly with the boss and our colleagues – and we’d love every minute of the job. If this were the case, it’s very unlikely we’d ever look for another post. In the real world, the reason you want to leave a job may well be that you don’t get on with the boss or your immediate supervisor, or that the routine has become mind-numbingly boring.
However terrible your present job, the interview is not the time to discuss it. You must be professional and don’t forget, if you are offered the position, the people interviewing you will be your boss and colleagues and they don’t want to work with someone who will complain about them at the first opportunity.
What questions might you be asked about your recent work history? How do you get on with your boss? And how about your colleagues? Why do you want to leave? What do you dislike about your job?
Let’s start with the first two.
How do you get on with your boss or your colleagues?
Whatever the reality, you must give a positive answer. You could say, for example, that you have a good working relationship and that you have always found your boss helpful and supportive; there is a good team spirit and you get on well with your colleagues or that you work together effectively. If you are asked for specific faults in your boss or co-workers, don’t be tempted to run anyone down. This question is not about them, it’s about you and your loyalty. So never say anything against anyone you work with or have worked with in the past. If you feel you can’t honestly give any of the above answers, really think about the people you work with and find something positive that you could say about them.
Why do you want to leave your present job?
You need to think carefully about this one, as employers don’t want to think that you hop from job to job, get bored quickly or are more interested in your after-work activities. If there is an obvious reason, such as the end of your contract, redundancy, or you are moving to a different area, say so. Many people are reluctant to say that they have been made redundant, but remember that it’s the post which has been redundant, not you.
What do you say if the truth is that you are bored to death in your present post?
Think carefully about why you are applying for the job in question. What do you think it will give you that your present job does not? Money and longer holidays are the wrong answers. If these are the real reasons, you may well end up just as bored in this job. Take a close look at what the company has to offer. Will it give you an opportunity which is lacking in your present post, for example, to develop existing skills or learn new ones? Or will you have the chance to use specific qualifications or abilities, such as foreign languages, which aren’t needed in your present post? Is there the possibility of advancement, receiving mentoring or taking on new responsibilities which you are unable to do now?
What do you dislike about your job?
Again, caution is needed. If you say that you specifically dislike something, it may be a part of the new job, which would indicate you didn’t read the job description properly and that you’ll dislike this job just as much. job applications and interview
You could say that you enjoy your job but feel ready for something more challenging or that you have learned a great deal but are now ready to move to a post in which you will have more responsibility.
The bottom line – before applying for a new job, make sure you can give positive reasons for leaving the old one and clear motivation for choosing the new one – and never criticize any of your co-workers.
Job Applications – Identify Your Transferable Skills
If you recently left college or university and have little work experience, you may be unaware of the vast number of transferable skills you’ll be bringing to the workplace. As a student, you developed many of the top skills needed to get a foothold in the job market. Discover how to highlight these skills when applying for jobs.
Job application, job interview, difficult interview questions, preparing for an interview
What, would you say, is your greatest weakness?
Job applications and interview Tips
No one likes admitting to weaknesses, but this is a favorite interview question and one you need to be prepared for.
This is not the time to confess your deepest secrets or expose embarrassing mistakes you have made in previous jobs. You should choose an area in which you don’t have quite as much experience or confidence as you’d like – something which you will have the opportunity to work on in the job for which you are applying.
It should not be something which you are expected to have already mastered, but something which will be useful for the post and can be developed over time. If you will be expected to give regular presentations, for example, saying that you find this difficult won’t go down well. However, if this isn’t expected at your level, but would be once you’ve moved up the ladder, you might say that you find it a bit nerve-wracking and could do with more practice.
Check the job description and person specification for essential and desirable skills and be sure to choose something which is non-essential. It could be that you are unfamiliar with a particular software package which only plays a small part in the job.
Once you have decided on your weakness, be sure to emphasize your willingness to improve and your awareness that you will have the opportunity to do so in the job.
And your greatest strength?
Many people have much more difficulty finding a strength than admitting to a weakness, but if you are asked to supply the latter, there is a good chance you’ll be asked for strength as well. So be sure to prepare something.
Which aspects of your present your Job application are you naturally good at? Is there anything about your work that has been praised by managers or commented on by co-workers?
If you are just leaving college, which skills did you develop as a student or in other activities such as voluntary work – being a team player, researching information, communication skills?
You should also relate your chosen strength to the job you’re applying for. What is it that the interviewers want and that you know you can deliver?
Your strength needs to be based on reality and should be strong. This is your chance to shine, to bring your best qualities and abilities to the attention of the interviewers. Saying you’re quite good at working in a team won’t cut any ice. You must illustrate your team-working skills with an impressive example, something the panel will remember when they come to make their decision.
Preparation is the key to answering interview questions – make sure you do it for job applications.
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