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December 7, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

Practice Makes Perfect. Applications Are No Different!

By Anna Scrivener, Careers Adviser

I’m lucky enough in my job to meet some amazing students, who are proactive members of SU societies, balancing part-time jobs and conscious to complete internships and do volunteering. People with a mind on their futures. I certainly wasn’t that kind of student when I was at university!

However, despite all of this awareness around their employability skills, they seem to be completely surprised when they aren’t immediate experts at recruitment processes. Floored when they get rejections, and hard on themselves if an employer doesn’t immediately respond. I’m always a bit surprised. Why do these people that work so hard at all that they do, expect to be an expert at something they’ve never done before?

Imagine… You’re playing football for the first time and are surprised you’re not the best player. You tackle every match with exactly the same strategy, despite the fact that the opposing side has changed. You lose a match and decide to give up, rather than putting yourself through that again.

That’s not what we would expect anyone to do. No, instead we would reflect on our performance and approach it differently next time. Yes, you have every right to feel disappointed, we’re human and it might be a huge blow. But you would also keep honing your skills, knowing that getting better takes time.

“Being good at applications and interviews is a skill like any other.”

So, if you get a rejection don’t give up! Try not to take it too personally, if you got anywhere in the recruitment process you have done well, because you were probably competing with hundreds of other applicants.

Here’s some useful things you can do:

1. Reflect and learn from the experience. Book an appointment with a careers adviser through MyCareer who can help you do that.

2. Attend workshops on the process. There are lots of options during term time, both online and face-to-face. Hone your skills and remember practice makes perfect. Explore upcoming events.

3. Use the tools available to you as a student. Things like the ECareersGrad Portal are great for interview prep, and GraduatesFirst, for practicing those dreaded psychometric tests.

Also, remember that a rejection is a no for now, not a no forever. Maybe you need to go away and work on something, then re-apply later. If it’s a company you really want to work for do some background research. Who are the people that are working there now and what did they do before? That might shape your own career path. You can make it your mission to be the person they want next time around. Going through the process at all will have taught you something, about their recruitment process, and yourself, which will make you more prepared next time.

We learn from all experiences and next time you’ll know what to expect and be more prepared. Good luck!

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers Advice