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More lessons from the Times graduate job challenge

Chris Davies, founder of Graduate Coach, the UK’s No. 1 job interview skills training website for graduates and second-jobbers, shares some vital lessons from the Times initiative to help six graduates find a job.

So, what have I learnt as CV coach on the Times newspaper challenge to follow six grads as they search for a job?

Firstly, it has been a very stimulating experience. I think the candidates and I have learnt much from each other and certainly I have been impressed by their determination to try to get on the job ladder.

Why has there been no career help for these graduates?

The depressing insight is once again to be so forcefully reminded that nobody seems to have given them any really worthwhile career advice as to what is wrong with their CVs (too bland, mainly just a recitation of the academic achievements and the jobs they have held).

None of them had been told to try to figure out and emphasise their work based achievements so that employers could get a handle on them as potential employees, rather than just reading a page or more of very forgettable jobs and academic achievements.

Once taught to start thinking as a potential employer though, light bulbs began lighting up above everybody’s head!

Everyone has had to hire somebody sometime or at least has a very good idea of what personal qualities employers look for (Can they work in a team? Can they cope under pressure? etc).

Job interview skills coaching helps uncover achievements

Suddenly people who thought they had no achievements realised that actually they had achieved a lot of very useful insights and experience and, even better, they could frame these in such a way that it would make sense to a potential employer.

Job interview skills coaching helps increase confidence

Looking for a job and getting lots of poor responses – or none at all – can be a daunting experience, leaving graduates feeling discouraged. Interview skills coaching has a very positive effect of improving a person’s confidence and motivation so they can put this across during the actual interview. Employers can easily pick up whether or not you are enthusiastic and lack of enthusiasm sadly translates as not really interested.

Over the course of the coaching experience with graduates on the Times challenge to help them find a job I noticed a great improvement in their ability to focus, think and remain positive.

All I am doing is coaching them on what is largely common sense. It’s all they need to develop the confidence to step into a job.

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