Job hunting advice from a former stressful searcher
12 December 2016 - By Samantha Elward, alumnus: 'One word to describe my job application process: frustrating. A good start of a story, don’t you agree?'
Most of my blogposts describe what I experience during my job as an ABN AMRO trainee. However, I can imagine that you would like to see some other content for a change. Since it is almost the end of the year, and a part of the Master’s students will be handing in their Master’s theses quite soon, I’ll take this time to reflect with you on my previous year’s journey to find a job as a Communication Science graduate.
One word to describe my job application process: frustrating. A good start of a story, don’t you agree? Well, obviously it needs some more context, because it was certainly not only frustrating.
I always had the ambition to do a traineeship once I finished my Master’s. However, I can understand that a lot of graduate students just don’t know what to do after they graduate. Let me tell you: we’ve all been there and it is okay! So let me just give you three pieces of advice based on my own experiences.
My first piece of advice would be: think. And with thinking I don’t mean a short ten minutes while you are cycling to the Roeterseilandcampus. No, I mean really take your time to think about what you want. I hear you thinking: “Ehm, but that’s the whole problem, Sam. We just don’t know yet what we want.” Obviously, I understand that, therefore I would suggest that you take the time to think about what kind of topics, courses and activities give you a true energy boost and which cause an energy leak. It might sound a bit childish, but I can really recommend it, because it will provide you with a very clear overview of what to focus on, but also what NOT to focus on when you are, for example, reading a job description.
A second piece of advice is to invest in actively visiting Inhouse days and networking drinks as much as you want and can. I personally visited about five to ten Inhouse days, and this really helped me to learn more about the culture of an organisation, the type of jobs they offer and the type of people that work there. You can immediately feel or miss the connection with an organisation. This on its turn can help you to select the organisations or type of sector that you want to apply for jobs at.
My third and final piece of advice would be to train yourself in making cognitive intelligence tests. This is one of the topics that made my job search frustrating. You might think that after receiving a Master’s degree, this would secure your proof of intelligence. To some extent it obviously does, however, especially large corporates frequently ask their job applicants to make a cognitive intelligence test as one of the steps in the application process. I failed a couple of them, which was really stressful, but in the end, it’s really part of the game. So when you fail once, twice or more, please think back about this blogpost and just know that you are not alone. Don’t be discouraged and just practice, practice and practice! It honestly helps a lot and eventually you will pass one of these test, because it is truly trainable.
Well, a blogpost that’s a little different , but hopefully one that helps you or someone you know. I just turned 27 and sharing my experiences with the ‘younger students’ really makes me feel extra old. But that comes with the age, I guess.
Samantha Elward (27) completed the Master’s programme in Communication Science (track Corporate Communication) in 2015. As of March 2016, she holds a position as Marketing and Communication Trainee at ABN AMRO Bank N.V.