MSc Business Analytics ambassador, Adriana, delves into how WBS’s exclusive CareersPlus service has given her the guidance needed to navigate the job application process in her area of interest.
In the first year of my undergraduate degree, I had a reality check about how competitive the labour market is and the many stages between wanting a job and getting a job. I’m sure now that this experience is more common than most of us realise, but at the time I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information I was getting about job applications, and it often seemed like I was absolutely the last one to catch the train to Career-Land. I’ve come a long way from having no idea what an assessment centre even is, to today when I’m creating job applications essentially as a part-time job. But even today I find myself in need of guidance when it comes to finding jobs, fine-tuning applications, and improving my interview skills.
Introducing WBS’s exclusive career consultation service
Thankfully, as a WBS student that sort of guidance is very easy to get – as long as you ask for it. The Business School provides an exclusive career consultation service – CareersPlus, a very comprehensive, easily available, and multi-faceted system that is entirely dedicated to helping students out with all-things-career. And all of it completely free. From the very first stage of the job search process – i.e., the stage of “what on Earth do I want to do after I graduate?”, all the way to preparing you for your final round interview, CareersPlus is here to hold your hand through it all.
The range of services they offer is very wide. Let me be explicit: dear generic career consulting service, I see your usual careers fairs, CV clinics and mock interviews, and I raise you: personalised 1:1 consultation sessions that can regard any one of your job-related concerns, access to a myriad of third-party services to help you tailor your applications to particular jobs, a mentoring programme between WBS students and alumni, exclusive access to company events and competitions, and – my personal favourite – a monthly newsletter summarizing all those key episodes of the previous financial month so that you really ace that commercial awareness part of interviews.
Proactively and mindfully engaging with CareersPlus
I don’t want to sound too much like a sales pitch (though trust me, it’s all true) so here’s the catch: you need to be proactive about it. Otherwise, if you don’t make use of these things mindfully and intentionally, you won’t get any of the benefits. So let me elaborate on that for a bit.
To make the most of CareersPlus you will first want to get familiar with everything they have to offer. That won’t be very hard to do since most courses have introductory sessions with them as part of the curriculum. Once you’ve done that, there are two main stages of the process of getting that dream job, often intertwined.
- Stage 1 is finding those jobs.
- Stage 2 is creating awesome applications.
In each of these stages you need to engage with yourself, with employers, and with CareersPlus. Engaging with employers and CareersPlus is easy – once you’ve done the hard part of engaging with yourself. Here’s what I mean: you need to ask yourself (and potentially use some tools to figure out the answers – yes, you can also get those from CareersPlus): What do you want? What are you good at? What should you get better at? And once you’ve got an idea about those, head to the CareersPlus webpage and search for events that meet your needs – and use the checklist they provide to help you prepare for those events so that you get some value out of them instead of just spending an hour mindlessly listening to an employer talk about how cool their company is (we’ve all been there). You’ll find countless opportunities this way. Then, when you start doing applications, start wherever you are and ask for feedback from a CareersPlus consultant when you feel stuck. But again, do it mindfully. Be specific with your questions – a consultant will be most helpful when they know what to be helpful with. Don’t ask them how to answer interview questions – ask them about your weak points when answering these questions.
My most recent consultation
My most recent encounter with them was a brief consultation session where one of their lovely consultants spent half an hour with me trying to get to the bottom of a particular interview question I didn’t seem to get quite right. It was a question about diversity, conflict and getting out of your comfort zone when working in a team – special offer, three questions for one, don’t miss out! I talked them through my answer and then we had a conversation – and I DO MEAN conversation, not monologue – about the strengths of my answer, how to make it better and then we talked a little more about the A part of the infamous STAR scheme of answering experience-based questions (if you don’t know what that is, keep calm and visit CareersPlus). Result: I now know how to answer that sort of question.
Another thing that they helped me with was identifying a handful of key skills for the type of job I’m currently interested in, which I couldn’t do by myself by skimming through job posts (the go-to strategy) – I needed a more experienced and more generalised view of the industry from someone who is familiar with what employers usually want. And I got it. So, you know what I can do now? Search through my past for experiences that showcase those skills so that I’m as prepared as possible for the next interview.
A Business Analytics student’s dream
And I have a final bomb to drop on you. I now have another tool to help me with the more technical side of interviews – which, believe me, for a Business Analytics student, is practically God-sent. They’ve recently managed to acquire for us complete premium access to StrataScratch – an online platform that lets you practice the most up-to-date technical interview questions, in various programming languages, from various employers (yes, that includes Meta, Google, Netflix and the rest of the gang) and guides you through the perils of doing a Data Science project. Listen, maybe I’m being a nerd here, but how cool is that??
Perhaps a few years from now, as an experienced professional, I’ll find myself in need of improving my negotiation skills. But hey, lucky for me (and for all of us WBS fellows) the CareersPlus service is a life-long promise. Yeah, you read that right. As a WBS graduate, you’ll keep having access to this amazing service – for good. Until then, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment in half an hour and I need to make a list of points I want to go through.