Chances are that a lot of you will have had one or two interviews. I’d had one before coming to university and thankfully I got the job. It was for a lifeguarding job I did before I started my degree. Having done that interview, and now having done many for postgraduate positions, I can tell you they are very different! I suppose it’s to be expected though – employers are going to want to know a lot more about someone and why they want the job if they’re going to be doing it full-time.
My first ‘tip’ isn’t so much a tip but more of an observation. If you have no working, placement, or volunteering experience, you’re not going to have much to talk about. For lots of jobs, experience will be a necessary requirement for the job, and to begin with this confused me – how am I meant to have any experience if I have been studying for three years? That is partly how an employer will choose who to hire, as a student who has bothered to find some experience is a much more valuable employee. Although talking about your experiences at university are valid, an employer is likely to be unimpressed if that’s all you can reference. Placements and internships are easy to find, hired@UCB will help you if you need it, but even getting a short, three-week placement with a company will give you so many more relevant experiences to talk about.
The next tip I have is try not to get too nervous before an interview. I’m a massive hypocrite for saying this because I get unbelievably nervous before an interview. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I feel sick – it’s a nightmare. But I always leave the interview thinking that it wasn’t that bad. One thing that a friend once told me, which really helped me, is that an interview is as much about you interviewing them as it is them interviewing you. I now remind myself that I should take the time in an interview to assess whether they are people/a company that I would want to work with. Also remember that they are just people too and that, chances are, one day you’ll be interviewing someone!