How to Make the Best of your Masters Degree at a Job Interview
Now that your Masters is completed, it is time to hit the real world and search for a job. Preparing for the first job interview after university may make you feel jittery and unsure of how to present yourself in order to stand out, but there are several viable solutions. Review your CV, gather your documents, and perfect your look, because you are about to read five things you definitely don’t want to forget to mention at your post-Masters job interview.
The Will to Improve
Now that you are a Masters graduate, it is best you started acting like one! Part of that includes knowing exactly what your Masters represents and why you pursued it. Make sure you emphasise the fact that pursuing a Masters degree shows a will to improve, whether that means building upon existing knowledge, or acquiring brand new skills.
Highlight the vigour to improve your skills and knowledge and argue that this is representative of a general will for betterment, and how that will translate into the new job.
Ambition. Any employer would appreciate it.
Emphasise Specialised Skills
Obtaining a Masters degree has equipped you with numerous practical and theoretical skills, which have turned you into a specialist in your chosen field. Ensure that you mention the skills you have acquired during your job interview and focus on specialised skills such as a certain model, analysis, product or service particular to your profession. Finally, argue that you would be able to make use of these specialised skills "from day one". For instance, if you know how to use particular software, and very few people in the company do, then you can use this as your competitive advantage.
Exemplifying skills that are not found in many candidates can overrun the competition and make you nail the job.
Mention Relevant Courses
It is essential to underscore some of the courses you've undertaken in university and link them to practical job-ready skills. You must be particular in mentioning what you've learnt in each relevant course of your Masters and associate that knowledge with the company's core business or your department's efforts. For example, if the job you are applying for involves cross-cultural interaction and you're applying for an International Sales position, you may mention the skills you learnt in a course in management or communication across cultures. If the job is in Marketing and involves managing social media and online content, you may want to mention the things you learnt in Global Online Entrepreneurship or Social Media Communications, for example.
Be precise and mention everything that is relevant to give the interviewer a thorough idea of your skills.
Talk about the Final Project
Now that you've covered the critical subject matter of specialist skills, it is the time to discuss the highlight of your Masters degree programme, your final project! As you have probably spent a substantial amount of time on your Masters final project, which is most likely a dissertation or research paper, you should be well-versed in explaining the research process and findings. Explain how going about your final project has instilled the skills of scrutinizing information and drawing appropriate conclusions in order to reach well-informed conclusions. This process of analytical problem-solving is key to many jobs, and is the embodiment of what you'll often see listed as "analytical skills" in job ads.
Emphasise the importance of your research experience and how it represents a combination of everything you have learnt in your Masters. Finally, mention why you chose that particular topic and what types of sub-fields you were interested in during your studies.
Highlight Interpersonal Skills
If your Masters was an international Masters, argue that this has equipped you with intercultural skills and exposed you to diversity, which will be highly beneficial when working effectively in a team. Highlight how overcoming cultural and personal barriers has helped you work towards a common goal with your peers and how you are going to use this in your career.
If your Masters is a home country Masters, emphasise how meeting people from different walks of life and some cross-cultural exposure have provided you with an enlightening experience and how it has transformed you, personally, into becoming a better communicator.
Last but not the least, sleep well the night before, eat a good breakfast, and dress well for the job interview. Make sure you have all your documents, aim for an early start, and relax! You made it through the Masters and you will make it through this!
Another great way to make your Masters count is to go for an internship during your studies. See why that's so important here: How and Why to Get an Internship During Your Masters
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