Fast Track: How to Make Yourself Stand out from the Pack Academic Achievement Is Not the Only Thing to Catch an Employer's Eye - but It Is Still Important. by Hugo Foxwood

By Foxwood, Hugo | The Independent (London, England), October 1, 1998 | Go to article overview
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Fast Track: How to Make Yourself Stand out from the Pack Academic Achievement Is Not the Only Thing to Catch an Employer's Eye - but It Is Still Important. by Hugo Foxwood


Foxwood, Hugo, The Independent (London, England)


BRIGHT SPARKS always find some way of impressing potential employers: usually, they're the ones with job offers piling up around them as fast as revision notes pile up around their third-year contemporaries.

Anecdotal evidence abounds on how to get ahead in the employment game. One Edinburgh student reputedly telephoned a top investment bank and asked to speak to the chairman's secretary. The student ordered the secretary to put him through to the chairman, stressing that he had very urgent business which could not wait. Being duly put through, he informed the chairman that he had a very important proposition for his bank. No, he couldn't discuss it over the phone; it would have to be in person.

The chairman cancelled several appointments and invited the mystery caller to lunch where he peremptorily demanded to hear about the important proposition. "Well it's quite simple," the cheeky undergraduate said. "You give me a job." The deal, according to legend, was struck there and then. All right for some, you may think, but what about the thousands of less daring students who haven't the confidence to pull off such a stunt? What can you do to make your CV stand out among the thousands that land on the desks of graduate recruitment co-ordinators? "Initiative is one of the qualities that makes a graduate stand out," says Clare Walton, recruitment manager at City solicitors Lovell White Durrant. While Bob Beauchamp was an undergraduate at St Andrew's University, he bought a half-share in a small business. When it came to the selection process, he says, his small business was a major theme in almost every interview. Lovell White Durrant offered him a position and then sponsored him through law school. Jessica Hudson graduated from Bristol University in 1997 to take up a position at Schroder, the investment bank. "What made me stand out was that I had done so many unusual things," she says. "I had worked for a headhunter in Hong Kong and taught English to handicapped children in India." Kate Bromfield, graduate recruitment co-ordinator at Goldman Sachs, looks carefully at an applicant's outside activities because they can indicate an "ability to organise oneself and get on with others".

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Fast Track: How to Make Yourself Stand out from the Pack Academic Achievement Is Not the Only Thing to Catch an Employer's Eye - but It Is Still Important. by Hugo Foxwood
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