So you’ve got 10 A*’s at GCSE, three A’s at A-Level and a first degree from University, that’s great. In fact, that is a fantastic academic record and a wonderful start to any application that you make to a graduate employer, however it is only the start. With the competitive graduate employment market it is important to be able to demonstrate more than a sound academic record, and at Grant Thornton we have recognised this.
For those of you thinking of applying (I’d imagine that most people reading this blog are at least considering making an application) you may have noticed that our entry requirements are spread across four key areas, namely your personal, professional and academic achievements, along with your connection with the Grant Thornton brand and values. In order to be successful it is imperative that all of the four areas are covered, think of it like baking a cake; if you need eggs, flour, sugar and butter, having ten eggs will not make up for the fact that you have no butter, the cake won’t work out (and you’ll be left with a sweet, eggy mess).
In order to cover all four bases, it is important to engage in activities outside of just academics. Doing interesting things will allow you to give unique examples to competency questions and help you stand out from the other applicants through all stages of the recruitment process. We pride ourselves on holding a unique place in the accountancy market, and with that we have a diverse and interesting mix of people who uphold the firm’s core values. In order to be able to attract people of this unique nature we have removed the strict academic requirement a 2:1 or above at degree level (for graduates), as long as you can demonstrate outstanding capabilities or experiences in another area (think of it as adding sprinkles to the cake).
Consider some of the qualities that may make you attractive to employers; confidence, integrity and experience, to name a few. These are not characteristics that can be learnt through sitting in a classroom and in order to gain these a step from your comfort zone is often required. By taking the leap into unknown territories there comes the opportunity to identify talents that you didn’t even know you had and meet people from whom you can build business relationships and who you can learn from.
In order to enhance your skills and learning it is important to be constantly curious and willing to both listen to others, and share your own insights. It can be helpful to write a list of things you are good at, and things that perhaps could be improved. By taking the time to identify areas for development about yourself, you are showing a willingness to enhance your skills. Then you can make small changes in order to progress. For example, if you lacked confidence speaking in public, you could make the effort to speak to a stranger on the bus/train to town. It doesn’t really matter what you talk about, or if they give you a funny look, what matters is that you will soon see that it’s not that bad and in time you could take another small step. After a series of these little victories you could be making a presentation to your class at uni/school about an area you are passionate about, something you wouldn’t have even considered a few months back.
You’ll never surprise yourself if you never try anything new, that’s why my advice this week in the #WWYAB series is to take the step , feel uncomfortable and enhance your skills through unique experiences. Tweet me @GT_Megan to let me know the little steps you are taking in order to achieve those larger goals.