So this step sounds like it would be the most simple. Wrong, The highest quality graduate schemes start their hiring process in the October before you graduate. This means you need to be organised and prompt to apply even though the job won't start for another year yet. A great website to help with finding these jobs is Milkround. You can register for email alerts to always stay on-top of new graduate schemes coming available. Another thing to note is that it's well worth applying to a job even if you don't have all of the available skills they're after. Most graduate employers will spend lots of time training you up, so you just need to prove your willing to learn.
Right so you've found a job at your dream company. Now the hard work begins, Proving to them that your better than all the other hundreds of others that may have applied. Now most companies will only require a CV at the start to get you through to the next stage. For this you've got to make yours stand out from the crowd. Here's some things you can do to help boost your chances.
- Take a placement year during your degree. This is the single most important thing you can do to help your chances as having a year more experience over everybody else is massive. It also gives you opportunities to speak about what you've achieved while on placement and the impact you had on the company.
- Program in your spare time. Just programming for your degree is not enough, you need to be building things you enjoy in your spare time while playing around with the latest technologies.
- Add a section about your hobbies and other interests outside of programming. Companies like to see that your sociable and have a life outside of programming.
Great so the company like your CV, well done! You've probably beaten loads of people to get to this point. Now the company will likely want to you to fill in a detailed set of questions based on the role and your technical skills and experience. The main thing with these type of questions is that you have plenty of time (usually a week or two). This means there is no need to rush. Take your time and if you're not sure on a particular technical project then go educate yourself on Google or go help you... bing. When you're confident that you've answered the questions well then submit and hope for the best. Usually companies will allow you to come back to your answers later so it may be worth leaving them overnight and coming back to them later.
So you've been invited to an interview. That's great you've probably made it down to the last 20 at most now so well done! So it's the day before the interview and you're probably nervous which is totally normal. I always found the best way to relax my nerves was to read over my achievements and experience the night before. So the day has arrived, first things first arrive to the location with plenty of time. Theres nothing worse than rushing and being worked up when you arrive. Before the interviews start you'll likely be in the same room as other applicants. My advice is to not think of these people as your competition but to be friendly and kind towards them. Having these conversations before the day starts helps relax you as well as builds relationships with others which will come across in the interviews.
Tips For The Day
You've worked hard to get to this point, your probably at a huge companies head quarters by now which nobody gets to see so think of it as an exclusive tour.
If the interviewers see you keep smiling then it's infectious and will rub off on them and they'll remember you as a happy person and a friendly person they want at their company.
Keep Eye Contact
Combine this with the smiling and it will seem like your an engaged person who is willing to listen.
Using these tips and just enjoying the application process and not expecting too much landed me graduate opportunities at great UK companies such as the BBC, McLaren Racing and Bet 365. All of these opportunities were unexpected and it was a pleasure to receive them. Any questions about the application processes please leave them below and i'll be happy to answer them :)