Top Tips to GCSE/A Level Me
Last week I went back to my secondary school to talk to students in years 11-13 about life after school, and provide some advice for entering the world of university and work. A lot of what we discussed surrounded giving yourself the best chance when applying for university, internships and jobs.
Now, being a management student I’ve been surrounded by students frantically applying for internships over the last few months, with varying degrees of success. The fact of the matter is, the top internships (especially the well paying ones) are massively over subscribed, attracting thousands of applications. Not only this, but the people who you’re competing with for these positions are all just as well educated as you, will no doubt have work experience of some sort, and will also have some good references – so what can you do to give yourself a better chance? The answer, in my opinion, is to do something different.
Given the top employers have the enviable option of choosing from thousands of well educated, well rounded graduates, having a differentiator is important, not just to stand out on paper, but to be able to hold interesting conversations at interviews. Having spoken with numerous employers, attended countless careers events and given talks on these things, I’m sure that having a differentiator is key.
So, what makes you more employable or more valuable than the next person? How can you show this? How can you show this in a way which provides you will skills/experience which is valuable to the employer?
To give you an example, I think my key differentiator is entrepreneurialism and communication (I love public speaking). Just saying this on a CV or in an interview is all well and good, but showing it is quite another (and significantly more valuable). My solution has been to get myself involved with numerous businesses and startups over the last 5 years to demonstrate entrepreneurialism, and I’m now looking to get involved with more public speaking related roles to demonstrate that differentiator – which would, in theory, give me interesting topics to discuss during an interview, make me stand out a bit and give some weight to my claims.
Don’t just say you’re a ‘determined individual’ or ‘love new challenges’, show it. Cycle across a desert, start a charity, invent something, run a marathon – prove it! As soon as you have, you’ll have something to talk about, something to make you different from the rest, and give yourself the best chance of getting that internship or that graduate job.
That’s all for now,