Bridging the gap. Lessons learned by a graduate

Updated: Aug 5

Ivan Zhelev is a recent graduate from the University of Westminster. He was an excellent student but someone who worried about bridging the gap from student to working in media. We recently discussed the process, and Ivan described some of his key learnings. We cover many of this during our mentoring sessions and so asked Ivan to share his lessons. If you're looking to bridge that gap, then read on. This is very useful. Thank you Ivan!

My palms are sweaty. I haven't eaten any spaghetti, but the peculiar feeling in my stomach is distracting. My heart rate is rising, and my breathing gets shallower. I am desperately trying to remember some bullet points and nervously check the time. In five minutes, I am going to be on the hot seat, answering questions and endeavouring to convince a panel of evaluators I am the right candidate for the job. I remember my mentor saying: "This too shall pass," while pressing the join button. Over twenty interviews, numerous hours of preparing for interviews, and some hours of crying, I got the desired job. And learned a couple of things about job interviews.

You most likely have enough experience but don't know how to talk about it

At university, we are taught the skills required to perform well at a job and are reassured that the academic adroitness we obtain is transferable. However, we don't entirely comprehend the concept of transferable skills. Some grasp the fundamental definition of the phrase: it's the ability to utilise universal skills in various environments. The challenging part is not to identify transferable skills, but to talk about them. For instance, if you had written an 8 thousand word dissertation, you should be able to express your ideas in a written format, work to deadlines, be organised and have problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in the employer's shoes

After recognising the abilities that cross disciplines, one needs to consider what an employer wants. The ultimate reason a company is hiring is that they need someone to help them enhance the business. They require you to have particular knowledge and prowess because it will ameliorate the business's productivity. Hence, you need to approach an interview with one question in mind: How the skills I have will be beneficial for the company? A quick Google search of the key skills employers look for will reveal a dozen that could apply to you. The temptation might be to use an collection of buzzwords during a job interview. Don't!

You should stick to a couple of essential skills that will enable you to perform well in your potential workplace.

Don't forget to link

You know your core skills and familiarised yourself with the job description. The next step is to illustrate to the interviewer that you are the right applicant. There are numerous tools and models, but I relish the PEE rule. This isn't pertaining to bladder control, although it's helpful to empty it prior to an interview. PEE refers to a writing method we have been taught at school: Point, Evidence, Explanation.

Never mention a transferable skill without providing evidence that you possess it and referencing it back to the role you're interviewing for. For example, I am an exemplary copywriter, as shown by the 1st class I received for my X module, and I wrote Z number of pieces. It enables me to write product and solution-based conversion copy for various platforms. (Read the job description and match your skills to the bullet points).

Eminem asked the wrong question. We never have only one opportunity to seize everything we ever wanted. We have a million shots, and I promise you one of them will hit the target. You must persevere. Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent won't - nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Unrecognised genius is practically a cliche. The world is full of educated fools. Perseverance and determination alone are all powerful.

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