31 March 2017

Top 10 tips to secure a graduate placement

It’s peak graduate season, and you are probably wondering how you’re going to secure a spot in the perfect graduate program. In case you missed our Insider Tips event, we asked our recent graduates to share their top tips on getting a placement after you graduate.

Christine Ma, ANZ Early Professional Seller (EPS) Hub Manager
IBM Digital Business Group

1. Start applying early: use GradConnection to find out the application open/close dates (mid year intakes are available at some companies) and start drafting your application early so that you have plenty of time to review and refine.

2. Leverage the Business School’s Careers and Employability Office: During uni, I would make time between my scheduled classes to attend their careers workshops, professional networking events and ask for resume feedback.

3. Consider what is important to you: There is an abundance of choice when it comes to graduate programs. You need to be able to clearly articulate why you want to work for that particular company or industry, not just what you will get from the company, but also how you believe you can add value.

4. Do your research and practice: I used IBM's Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube channel and website to learn more about the company's values and strategy. This gave me a lot of knowledge which I could use to practice answering interview questions. Also, prepare questions which you can ask the interviewer e.g. what the interviewer enjoys about working at the company, or what the culture is like.

5. Once you've secured your role...Congratulations! Make the most of the learning and networking opportunities in your graduate program. As they say: success is a journey, not a destination, so expect to work hard and eventually good things will come. 

Thomas Holmstrom, Consultant 
Financial Services, EY

1. Practice psychometric testing as much as possible. Psychometric testing is always required prior to any phone conversation or in-person interview, and is where the highest proportion of candidates are culled. So being familiar with all the different forms of psychometric testing is vital. 

Two of my favourites where CEB Global and Grad Tests.

2. Utilise the STAR technique in one-on-one interviews when describing an experience that demonstrates a value that is well regarded by the firm. However, ensure that you can also relate the experience specifically to a concept/issue that the division you are applying to is involved with, e.g. Investment Bank: Shown interest in financial markets and investing via being involved with University Competitions whereby you demonstrated collaboration with team members and collective decision making.

3. Research the company that you are applying for. Each other candidate will know the corporate structure and the business’ product/services. Focus on the industry trends, corporate strategy, main competitors, what differentiates the company from its competitors and the values by which the organisation defines its culture.

4. Practice interviewing with a family member or friend, without knowing any of the questions beforehand. Not practicing will leave you unable to articulate your answers clearly and find it difficult to adapt to different interview styles.

5. Relax. If you have prepared thoroughly, become used to interviewing, know the company inside and out, there is no reason to stress or worry as you’ve done the best you can.

By the Careers and Employability Office, at the University of Sydney Business School.

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