At about this time of year many students will be nearing the end of their studies or finishing the taught components of their course and, I imagine, many will be beginning to think about job applications. For my first blog post, I thought it would be nice to share some of the useful advice I received when I first began looking for post-university jobs.
Don’t be the only person to read your CV
No matter how many times you read your CV and think it’s perfect, a fresh pair of eyes might be able to spot something you missed. Ask a careers advisor, colleagues, or your personal tutor to have a look at your CV with a critical eye and be prepared to make changes. If possible, try and find someone in a similar role to your would-be line manager because they may know what your potential employer is looking for.
If you are applying for a job in a particular research lab or with a particular researcher, start reading their recent papers so you will be able to ask and answer questions about them in an interview.
Sell your skills!
Even if you have limited formal experience directly related to the job, consider the skills you have gained during your studies and how they would relate to the work. For example, if you worked whilst studying, you will probably have gained some valuable time management skills. Group work for assignments will have enhanced teamwork skills. Managing those last-minute computer errors when you were collecting data for projects will have no doubt helped you build some problem-solving skills!
Show willingness to learn new skills or techniques for a position if you don’t have them already. For example, I knew that my programming skills were basic when I applied for my job, but I made it clear that I was willing to improve them and worked hard to make them better.