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Grad Diaries: from forms to interviews in 20 days

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You join me quite late in my adventure, and at quite an agonising moment as I’m waiting to hear whether I have a reason to get up in September. To fill you in, I’m a third year Mechanical Engineering1 student at Warwick University (or was, in fact). I was keen, went to all the great graduate fairs put on at our uni2 and got (what I thought would be) all my applications in last September/October for jobs this year. Slowly but surely, rejection after rejection rolled in among assurances from family, friends and all in between that “it’ll be fine, something will come up”.

Then exams appeared.

I then decided to resume my hunt post-exams and stumbled across a job via an email from ‘Milkround’ (sign up for them, they drop brilliant jobs I wouldn’t have even thought of on my inbox like confetti3). The job in question was a graduate role, something I hadn’t even considered would still be available in late May (hooray for early exams in final year).

The following three weeks were an absolute rollercoaster of a ride:
28th May – fill in all the forms (except harder questions4)
29th May – fill in harder questions4 (the ones where you use your brain, sort of)
2nd June – email asking me to complete online tests (deadline 7th June)
6th June – complete online tests (finished about half 10 at night)
8th June – email about telephone interview
10th June – telephone interview
12th June – email about assessment centre
16th June – assessment centre

I will go through each stage in more detail over the next couple of weeks but as you can see, there wasn’t much time to breathe in between. I’d therefore reassure all of you worrying about jobs, applications and schemes not to sweat it in September and October; not to say you shouldn’t apply then, just that it won’t be the last you’ll see of job opportunities until the following September. I also preferred a rapid process taking three weeks rather than a rejection that took six months5.

Tips for everything from form filling to assessment centre do’s and don’ts will be included in each diary entry – this will be as much a journey for me as it will be for you as I revisit every step I took.

I’ll also let you know if I get a job.

Also known as the socialites of the University experience
If you don’t have any at yours – don’t worry! You can go to most other external ones; given notice and friendly emails.

Not an example of one of the jobs from ‘Milkround’.
Why did you apply/examples where you’ve shown skills/what can you bring to (company) etc.

Not to name names, but a lot of bigger companies made the preconception of you being one in a faceless, nameless crowd a reality
This company has been the exception!
Let us know what you think of the Grad Diaries in the comments below!
Photo: stuartpilbrow / Flickr

Recently graduated from the University of Warwick with a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering – I got a Desmond!

Along with blogging I’m a singer/songwriter and (for now) a job hunter.

Alex HayslerGrad Diaries: from forms to interviews in 20 days

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