How to make the most out of job-hunting

21 October, 2014

Ever tried to fake interest?  In my experience it is difficult, exhausting and unsatisfying.  Sometimes it is unavoidable.  Christmas Day is not the time to tell your great-Uncle who you only see once a year that you don’t care about his caravan.

However, when job-hunting, applying for things in which you have little or no interest is a big no-no.

I appreciate the pressure on school-leavers and graduates to get a job, ANY job, is immense and for those with vocational qualifications, e.g. accountancy, you know the sector you want to be in (or think you do) and believe you could and would do anything within it.

Notwithstanding these pressures and drivers, a scatter-gun approach to job applications carries two dangers.

First, your application success rate is likely to be lower because the less interested you are, the less effort you will put into applications, and faking interest at interview means you’ll have to work harder, which the recruiter may notice.
Second, if you get the job you will be less incentivised to learn, impairing your progress and limiting your enjoyment; a vicious cycle.

So, as you look for jobs in the coming weeks and months, focus on your strengths and genuine interests, and if you are confident in these and work hard on tailoring your job search and application accordingly, it should shine through on paper and at interview. 

Be honest with yourself.  If you hated the tax modules of your accountancy degree, don’t apply for that graduate programme.  On the other hand, if you can’t cook, no matter how much you love food, don’t apply for that chef job.

Knowing what you’re good at, and what makes you work hard and succeed is an invaluable tool of self-awareness, which if you master it now will help you get the job you want (if not now, then in the future) and, once you’ve got it, succeed and enjoy yourself.

Abigail Parton is an ifs University College Alumni Ambassador and Mentor, who started working for HSBC following her English degree. She blogs about what it is like working in financial services and provides tips for anyone embarking on the first steps in their career or thinking of entering the finance industry.