School’s out for summer…school’s out…forever?

If applying for jobs have made me feel one thing, it’s that some days I feel like I’m back at school! Who knew that graduate job applications involved so many tests?! I know what you’re thinking: Wait…What? But I’ve graduated, I’m done with tests and answering questions I don’t know the answer to, right? Wrong. Recently I’ve felt like I’m trying to get into University and pass my A Levels all over again.

First there is the dreaded personal statement…

Q: “Tell me about yourself using 500 words minimum.”

A: “Umm? Err? Ahh?” (do these go towards my word count??)

Once you’ve mastered that with just the right balance of self-assuredness without being too boastful, you’re given pages and pages of questions to get your teeth stuck into. Literally, you want to tear the pages apart with your teeth the questions are sometimes that hard to get your head round … Just me?

Here are just a taster of the sort of questions I’ve faced so far;

  • What skills have you acquired that make you the right candidate for this job?
  • What are the company’s main values? (Time to get researching!)
  • And where do you see your career being in 5 years’ time? (With you guys I hope!)

Thankfully I’ve managed to survive these parts on several occasions now and can live to tell the tale.

Normally in the next few days you should receive an email to say whether your application has been successful or not. If you have, congratulations! You’ve got through the first stage of an application process.

Most companies will now ask you to complete a few tests. How hard could they be?

Most will ask you to complete a Verbal Reasoning and Numerical test. FYI the numerical tests are my least favourite part of a job application. How’s a girl who hasn’t done maths since GCSE (a whopping 7 years ago, since I didn’t go to University straight away) supposed to remember how to work out percentages and fractions?! Remember at school you always wondered when you would ever need to use some of the weird maths you were taught? Well, this is it!

The pressure really can feel like you’re taking A-Level Maths all over again. My best advice? Swot up on a few things you’ve not done in a while and check out some graduate websites that can help you prepare so you’ll know what questions to expect.

Tests completed? All you have to do now is deal with the interview stage… Umm? Err? Ahh?

– Jessica Youngs, recent Kent graduate

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