21 April 2000


The end of college days is

nearly here. The big wide

world is looming. Which

means getting a job. A JOB.

Dont panic. Farmlife gets

some what-to-do-now tips

from recruitment consultant

Nick Gauntlett

DONT put it off any longer. If youre leaving college this summer and havent already got a job, then finding one should be as much a priority now as exam revision, says Nick Gauntlett of Andersons Chamberlain.

"A lot of people still dont think job huntings the priority – but remember, businesses are planning months or even years ahead – not weeks."

Be honest about who you are and what you are good at when choosing a career path. "People dont often take that long, hard look at themselves. When they do, they usually find some surprises – pleasant or otherwise."

Find out as much as possible about your favoured career option – including the remuneration package. "There is a vast information gap between the student community and the business world."

For a graduate going into an agriculturally-related job, a package between £13,000-15,000 would be the average this year, says Mr Gauntlett. But there are plenty of people taking good jobs both above and below this.

So, how then do you get that perfect job? "The trick is simply to be at the top of the pile being considered. You will be ranked against the rest of the applicants. A graduate is an unknown – an unproven commodity. Anything that gives comfort to the employer will help."

Previous work experience is a big selling point – especially if its in the sector in which you are applying. "Even if it was only a few weeks, unpaid, it will give the employer confidence and give you something to focus on at the interview."

&#42 CV essentials

Your cv must show numeracy, literacy and demonstrate that you can be both a self-starter and a team player. This can be shown through your extra-curricular activities, as well as work experience and academic pursuits. "Its good to show youve done something "different" with your life."

The next stage, then, is the interview itself. "The golden rule," says Mr Gauntlett, "is to see things from the employers point of view as well as your own. Sitting on the other side of the table is someone who actually wants to appoint someone to the post. Its just a case of convincing them youre that person. You have to try to tick all the boxes on their "must-have" list."

And dont be tempted to lie. "A degree of polish is acceptable. Beyond that its a porkie."

Research is vital and anything you can find out about the firm will help. Get a set of accounts from Companies House, find out where the offices are and who the key personnel are. Dont forget to look on the Internet, too. "Too many people are surprised at interviews."

Nerves will be a factor however well prepared you are. "Even the most seasoned actors and actresses have some nerves when they walk on stage."

Preparing well, however, should limit nerves. "But be aware how nerves manifest themselves in your mannerisms and body language. Do mock interviews with the college. And ask your friends what your mannerisms are. You may not recognise them, but your pals will.

&#42 Not an interrogation

"View the interview as a discussion rather than an interrogation. It should really be a conversation between equals – although the interviewee should probably do about three-quarters of the talking. Remember, they are not there to catch you out."

Dont be late – or too early. Stay overnight nearby if its a long way from home and make a dummy run if you dont know the area.

Appearance is also important – and first impressions count. Avoid extremes, be comfortable and dress appropriately. "Ask yourself how, if you got the job, you would dress if you had an important client meeting to attend."

Follow these guidelines, says Mr Gauntlett, and you should be well on your way to landing that all-important first job.

If youre not successful, seek feedback. "Its important to get some pointers as to what you can improve upon for the next interview. It could help ensure you dont go into it worrying unnecessarily about what you mistakenly think didnt get you the previous job."


&#8226 Prepare thoroughly.

&#8226 Dress smartly.

&#8226 Glance over your CV and letters immediately beforehand.

&#8226 Be on time.

&#8226 Remember first impressions count.

&#8226 Try to treat it as a conversation between equals.

&#8226 Be honest.

&#8226 Ask for feedback.

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