Your degree is an important milestone on the path to a career but unfortunately it is not a passport to the job of your dreams. You will still need to make an impression in your interviews so that you are selected for the position above all the other candidates. So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd after your course?

Practise Your Interview Skills.

Even the most qualified applicant can be moved to the bottom of the list after a poor performance in an interview. Employers do not only use interviews to assess your knowledge and enquire deeper into the skills you have listed in your CV. They also use the interview to assess you as an individual, see whether your personality will mesh well with their team dynamic, and generally get a feel for you as a person. These aspects of your interview are especially important for positions related to media and communications management as forging personal connections and similar people skills are an essential aspect of your role. The only way to know whether your best qualities are coming across in interviews is to receive honest, frank feedback from a friend or professional interview coach.



Know Your CV Inside and Out.

Before your interview, it is essential that you read through your CV and make certain that you can justify and elaborate on all the skills that you have listed. Think through the work and education that you have included and try to assess which elements of that experience are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. Your interviewers will likely question those entries that show excellence as well as those that they may be concerned about, so it is vital that you can explain precisely why you have achieved what you have.



Research the Job and the Company.

You should demonstrate your enthusiasm for this particular role that you have applied for and the company with whom you are interviewing. A general knowledge of the industry will not impress the interviewers. Rather, you should make it clear precisely why you wish to work for this particular company. Researching the company also allows you to show why you are particularly suitable. For example, a company with an environmental ethos may be interested in any environmental advocacy you were involved with at university. This may require a large amount of research, but will really pay off in the interview.



Keep up to Date with Industry Developments.

Your degree is a great foundation for the knowledge you will need in your role, though remember after leaving university practises change and your knowledge will start to become dated. By keeping up to date with new legislative or best-practice advice you show the interviewers that you are self-motivated and potentially ahead of your peers in your current knowledge base. Your peers will all have completed similar degrees, so any individual learning that you have done will help you to stand out as a more qualified applicant and could be the sole reason you are accepted for a job over everyone else.



Volunteer, Intern or Innovate.

Work experience is an important consideration for employers and most companies looking to hire you it is almost seen as a requirement for you to have the experience under your belt. This is something you can gain this experience before your first interview. A great place to start is during out of term time whilst your university course is still on going, the best being during the summer where you will have a few months to really get stuck in to an internship program. Making sure that you are well prepared before the term ends is a must though, as the summer internships can be very popular and become unavailable quickly. Also while you are waiting for interview or applying for jobs you can easily apply to be a volunteer for short internships in the field. This is a great way to show both a willingness to gain additional experience and an added level of ability to show on your CV. If you cannot find an official position as a volunteer or intern, it is still possible to gain experience on your own. Even something as simple as setting up a blog where you discuss current developments in the industry or your own thoughts on your field can make a positive difference.

Guest Post by Media Masters Degree course provider Middlesex University