Career Consultant Aled Williams talks to Craig Gonzalez, Cardiff Alumni, about Career Tips for International students …
The leaves may be falling thick and fast, but have you noticed the career events and fairs that have descended upon Cardiff recently? It’s mid-way through the Autumn semester and we are well into another graduate recruitment season. As an international student, you may be wondering how you can best take advantage of everything that is presented to you. You may be seeking tips and insights to help position yourself for the UK and global job markets.
Craig Gonzalez who hails from the USA, graduated from the MSc in Computer Science and secured three job offers from UK companies before taking up a position in Technology & Business with BT.
I wanted to know what key factors led to this successful outcome. Here is what he said:
The key factors in my experience were:
- Full disclosure: I’m a bit older than most graduates and quite hard working. I earned scholarships for both my Masters’ degrees. So to be clear, applying for things and performing well come a bit easy. But despite that:
- I knew a lot about the business. Before each interview I immersed myself in the business. I read the annual reports, watched their videos, listened to interviews by management and read all about their products and services. I spent hours just learning about the business. I used Wikijobs forum to get insight into the interview questions and structure of the assessment centre. This was VERY useful throughout the entire process. I didn’t use Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter for the application, though I did spend time researching the company via social media ahead of my interviews. This was instrumental throughout the entire process. I could answer questions, but I also understood the company ethos and personality, plus was able to ask my own pointed questions.
- I had a very strong reason why. That is, I thought long and hard about providing a legitimate reason why they should hire me and I articulated that throughout the process.
- I prepared for the entire process. I purchased practice tests, writing samples, assessment centre training and CV reviewing. Then I made sure I could do those things well.
- I started applying for jobs in October. I found about 10 jobs I wasn’t interested in but that had similar application processes. I practised filling out applications, customizing CVs and taking their Psychology Tests. If invited to an interview I would decline. I practiced. By mid-November I went full on for my dream companies. I attended open houses and emailed the people I met. I was entirely pro-active.
- After I found those I wanted, I prepared for each step… Application, competency based questions, tests, interview, second interview, assessment.
- I treated each one uniquely
By May 2014, I had job offers from BT, Capital One & PwC before accepting the position with BT which I started in Oct 2014.
Exactly a year ago, Craig started his graduate job search and he has now been working for a month. Some of the factors and methods he mentions are unique to his job search experience and the timescale for securing a job offer will differ from individual to individual. That said the core ingredients of applying early, targeting companies and creating a compelling CV are universal.
Ensure they are the core ingredients in your own job search strategy.
Watch Craig’s presentation ‘How to get hired’.
To help you position yourself for the graduate job market, book a careers appointment via the Careers & Employability website www.cardiff.ac.uk/careers
Come and explore the range of professional and FREE career services on offer and add value to your UK study experience.
Aled, Career Consultant
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Careers & Employability, The Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place, Student High Street