Thursday, 18 August 2022
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Interview Tips For Graduates

Graduates are similar to school leavers in that they do not necessarily have a great deal of previous work experience, or if they do have work experience, it is usually in non-professional areas such as hospitality or retail.  

The key for graduates, then, is to consider the skills that they have acquired from their previous work, studies or extra curricula activities.  Be creative and consider the skills you have acquired from any of the following areas:

  • Any paid jobs
  • Any voluntary work
  • Sports and hobbies
  • Any achievements – prizes, awards or academic achievements
  • Positions held in student clubs or societies

So it is important for you to consider how your skills gained from these areas are related to sales; that is, your transferable skills or competencies.   

To be able to understand what your transferable skills are, you need to understand sales in general and also specifically the job you have applied for.  Each employer will be looking for slightly different competencies, but some core competencies relevant to sales, and which you should be prepared to address, include:

  • Communication skills
  • Listening skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Planning skills
  • Ability to handle rejections
  • Influencing skills
  • A focus on achieving results

Graduate employers are interested in your potential to develop rather than your existing knowledge.  Even for professional sales jobs, employers will be interested in candidates who can demonstrate the transferable skills needed to succeed, along with clear motivation for the job.

For example, if you have worked as a waiter to pay your way through university, you would have dealt with difficult customers, demonstrating your communication skills and your ability to work with people. These interpersonal skills are important sales skills that are both relevant and transferable. 

Graduates also need to be very clear about why they want a job in professional sales.  You need to convey your enthusiasm and energy for a career in sales.  Be prepared to back up your stated motivation for sales with evidence of how you have applied yourself to achieve difficult goals in the past.

Essentially, you need to convey how your background, skills and personal preferences motivate you to pursue a sales career, above and beyond all other types of graduate employment opportunities which are on offer to you. 

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