Securing a job after graduation is something that matters to a great extent to most of students I have met during my time at LSE. Some start their search as early as in their first year of undergraduate studies. Applying for jobs feels like taking up an extra course just because of the commitment, amount of discipline and organisation involved. Interviews and assessment centres line up one after the other and are just inevitable. I have personally dedicated a lot of time preparing for the latter.
The first part of applications is researching the industry and companies you are interested in. Something I learnt form SADL is how to find the right search results by changing key words on Google search, or by making use of more specialised database. To keep track of progress on various applications, Trello can be very useful. I had ‘lists’ for each application with each ‘card’ on the list either telling me whether I had completed a stage or that I had to get something done (online test, prepare for interview…). Not only had I a clear idea of where I stood, but it was morally encouraging to be able to tick off a task and feel in control of the situation to a certain degree.
During Workshop 2 this year, we focused on reading strategies. Students were given a reading pack and 5 minutes to read it. Impossible of course, but the point was that you don’t have to read everything on your weekly reading list, you can just focus on the bits that matter to you. I made use of this strategy each time I had to write a report for an assessment centre. I decided on the structure of my report, on the questions it would answer, found the information I needed (from a given booklet explaining a certain situation) by following headings and basta! No time lost on going through the whole material and not remembering half of it.
I started finding interviews enjoyable when I realised that it boils down to talking about yourself (for competency based interviews at least). I would talk about things I am passionate about, whether it’s learning a new language or climate change. But mostly, I found myself talking about my experience as a Senior Ambassador and all the things that I learnt from this project. On one occasion, I convinced the Director who interviewed me to try Trello out by telling her how I have been making use of this platform to solve problems.
With hindsight, I can tell that being a Student Ambassador helps you build the confidence and leadership skills required to become employable, but to me, it also meant differentiating myself from other candidates because of the set of skills that I gradually picked up from the SADL programme.