In September 2016, I was accepted onto the ‘IT and Business Change’ graduate scheme at E.ON UK, I am now working in E.ON Sweden.
So, how did I get here?
Through this mini-series of articles, I will try and share my journey! I will highlight any tips and tricks and hopefully offer some support and guidance… let’s see!
The job market is a tough one. My background is in Renewable Technology. Due to this, I originally looked for purely environmental situated roles, before looking at roles within larger energy companies. I knew that I wanted to work in this industry, I just didn’t know how. Be willing to take risks with the jobs you are looking for, but don’t drop your values and morals. Over the course of a year, I must have applied to over 50 different roles, some I knew I wanted and others I applied for both because I could, but also because they pushed me out my comfort zone. This is exactly what happened with my graduate role.
Accepting an offer from a large company was exciting, there are a lot of opportunities that come with being part of an established organisation. I am not saying that working for a large company is the only way to go, there is a lot of bureaucracy and it can feel at times that you are well and truly out of the loop when it comes to work.
The Interview and Assessment Stage
The job market is both complicated and competitive. Whether you want to work free-lance or for a company, first impressions are important.
Within the job market, your degree, CV and whatever tests may have done got you through the door, but the next stage is equally difficult and important- The interview process is this point at which your personality is being assessed.
It’s fair say that interviews are not a natural process. They are a time boxed event to understand and get to know you better and if you ‘fit’ what they are after. There are some great blogs on this page highlighting the techniques and skills required when it comes to really ‘shining’ at the interview, this linked article is great! Obviously, it is important to research the company that you are going to, to really understand what it is that they are doing, but the interview process is more than this.
The best advice that I have, is that the interview is a two-way activity.
They don’t know anything about you as a person, a CV only goes so far to explain your personality.
Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewers questions and see what they are doing. Listen carefully to what they are asking you and plan out the response accordingly. Having interviewed people in the past, one of the key points that we are looking for is the personal additions to the answer.
Do they have any specific examples to tie into their response, either personally or just some research that they know about? Something that turns the answer from just being a generic one to an interesting one. You can argue that it’s not overly professional, but we’re all human, it is refreshing to hear something out of the ordinary for an answer!
I had worked for the National Health Service (NHS) for almost 4 years by the time I applied for my graduate scheme, this was quite an unexpected talking point in my interview!
A lot of companies and graduate roles expect a certain level of flexibility with these areas, that is something to keep in mind when applying, if the job states that travel is expected, feel free to ask the questions around what that means, but don’t flat out say you don’t want to do this in the interview… interviewing is a costly process, the company has invited you for a reason! I have seen some great candidates being dropped because they didn’t meet these basic criteria for the job, it sounds harsh, but there are a lot of people being interviewed for these roles.
So, what can you expect when you’re in the job?
By Alexander Cook.
Alex is an NTU Alumni Fellow. You can find out more about how to get involved with the Alumni Fellowship Programme here