Hot Tips to get you to the Top! – Keep the Big Picture in Mind

On the night of Wednesday 20 March 2013, QUT’s School of Economics and Finance held its very own ‘Town and Gown’ event, which brings together economics and finance students to network with Brisbane-based professionals from these two discipline areas.

The presenters were asked, “What is your best piece of advice for job-seekers?” Their answers were insightful and we thought worth sharing. If you have some further tips you’d like to share, please join the discussion.

  • Do not underestimate the importance of communication, written as well as verbal. A good academic transcripts says you have the skill-set, but do have have great writing and speaking skills to complement it?
  • Do lots of research about the position you are applying for. Know the company before you start to answer the job advertisement.
  • Work on developing something that differentiates yourself from others; whether it be extra-curricular, charity, or further study.
  • Find something you are passionate about that make you stand out in an interview. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Ask a lot of intelligent questions so people remember you.
  • Visit your careers services at QUT. They talk to us and understand what is expected from you. Use the resources available, attend their courses and look at their website for tip sheets.
  • Look at how you can use your skills, not just your degree. Preference is given to forward-looking, movitated, committed and passionate candidates.
  • Get involved in organisations at University or volunteer your time for charities or sporting clubs. It all helps differentate yourself from the crowds applying for the same graduate roles.
  • Look for some business experience in an office environment. Do practise writing professional emails – it is more difficult than you think!
  • Get yourself connected on Linked In. This is very important in the Business Community, but do not use it like Facebook!
  • Do not forget where you studied – push the QBS Triple Accreditation part of your qualification – it’s an internationally-recognised standard for excellence.
  • Display your attitude, be positive and driven, find an organisation that matches your personality.
  • Allow your CV to be unique, not only focussed on academic success but your other experiences, for example, travel, internships, vacation programs.
  • Be able to talk about yourself in an interview – compose a narrative in advance that summarise you as an individual.
  • Ask how you can challenge yourself. Learn from your defeats and aim for continuous improvement.
  • Value the importance of networking and make the most of opportunities as they are presented to you.
  • When posed the question “What would be most beneficial to add onto your degree – experience or an honours degree?” the responses varied.

  • Experience counts – whether it be paid or voluntary. People that can communicate well always come to the front. Experience also assists with being able to handle yourself in a organisational setting, shows teamwork and moulds appropriate behaviour – these are skills that rate highly, but not skills typically taught.
  • Honours can be a point of difference for you and it shows a strong work ethic. Some organisations consider an Honours qualification a minimum. Get you know what is required for the role/workplace you are seeking.
  • Finally, the guest speakers were asked, “Do you have any tips about making contact for the first time?” Their response were:

  • CVs are important – make sure they have been spell-checked, look at attention to detail, make it relevant to the role, and remember to send the final version of your CV when applying for the job!
  • Your voicemail and email addresses are also important – make them business appropriate and easy to access. If you don’t have voicemail – get it!
  • Be persistent. Ask if you can meet people before or after work as this shows eagerness and an excellent work ethic. And follow up on your application – it may have been overlooked the first time. This does happen, especially for prime graduate roles.
  • In an interview you may be looked at as a potential colleague – how you come across is incredibly important. Remember you spend more time with your colleagues than you do your family!
  • The organisations that contributed to the discussions were: Department of Transport and Main Roads, Reserve Bank of Australia, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Queensland Competition Authority, Green Leaf Engineers, Suncorp, Canstar, ANZ, Queensland Treasury Corporation, KPMG and QIC. The School of Economics and Finance appreciates their support of this annual networking event.

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