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PwC Canada's Campus Recruiting blog: Discover the opportunity of a lifetime

17/09/2015

You got an interview!!! – What next?

JamesFirstly, a massive congratulations! Securing an interview is incredibly competitive. You’re over one of the biggest hurdles, but how do you ensure you do well and get a good feeling of our culture as you come through?

Be yourself

It’s critical that you’re yourself. On paper you look awesome, so now we want to spend more time getting to know you better. This is also your opportunity to get to know us even better too.

Cultural fit is key and if you pretend to be something you’re not, that won’t be an authentic interview or a good fit for you. We don’t look for one specific type of person, so embrace who you are and be passionate in articulating that to us.

Try to smile and enjoy the experience, this will help you project confidence – as will dressing the part.

Be prepared

Behavioural questions:

As I mentioned, there’s no one ‘fit’ for PwC. However, we will look for your strengths against the PwC Professional dimensions, against which everyone at PwC demonstrates and develops. You should spend some time reviewing this on our website and think about which examples you can use from your university, work experiences, sports, societies and volunteering experiences.

Remember to pick from a range of examples so you’re not constantly using the same experience to answer questions.

Are you a STAR?:

For behavioural interview questions, answer these questions as fully as you can:

  • Tell us about the Situation first.
  • Then tell us about the Task.
  • Follow this with the Actions you took.
  • Finally, tell us about the Result of your actions.

Technical questions:

We’ll also be looking for you to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the area of our business to which you applied and your knowledge of what you’d do on a day-to-day basis with us. Our ‘What we do pages ’ are great for this, as is the job description and your prior interactions with us.

If the role includes completing the CPA either immediately or at a later date, you should know your pathway and what this looks like.

Ask us questions

One of the worst things you can do in an interview is not ask any questions.

First and foremost, it’s your opportunity to gain more detailed information from your interviewer’s personal experience. This helps you further assess us and our culture.

Secondly, asking some pertinent questions targeted to things you’ve read lets you demonstrate additional research and passion for us, whilst gaining your interviewer's point of view on this too.

Good luck from everyone at PwC.

James

@voiceofjamesd

14/09/2015

Get your resume and cover letter past the first stage of the application process

James natasha and nidhi at talent academy
@voiceofjamesd, @natasha_campus, @NidhiBhasin_1

It’s a tough fact, but the majority of applications never make it past the first stage of a process, the resume/application review. Having a well-structured, clear and focused resume will help you emphasize your achievements and unique promise of value to an organization.

 

Will your CV put the recruiter to sleep or stand up and take notice?

Your resume and cover letter should make compelling reading. 

Your cover letter should have a clear narrative that demonstrates your knowledge and research on the organization you’re applying to. It should also highlight some of your key experiences. And here’s the critical thing: these experiences should tie back to the role to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the organization/role that you’re applying for.

If you can swap out one organization name with another organization, your cover letter does not demonstrate sufficient research and insight into your potential employer. This will likely land you in the ‘no pile’.

You should adopt a consistent tone and tense throughout your documents. There should be no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. These documents should demonstrate your best piece of work to an employer; one riddled with errors leads a recruiter to believe that your work would be too. 

Your cover letter should be no more than a page and your resume should be no more than two.

A checklist for what should be in your resume

Your resume should include: 

  • Contact details (name, mobile number, an email address, website or LinkedIn profile URL)
  • A statement/objective (tailored to the role you’re applying to)
  • Education and any additional training
  • Career history (name of the employer, job title, dates of employment, responsibilities and your achievements in the role)
  • Extra-curricular involvement, including sports teams, clubs and societies, and volunteering experience (much like your employment, this should detail dates, responsibilities and achievements)

 Focus on the impact you’ve made in a role or a project

All too often, I see resumes that list facts and responsibilities without a focus on an individual’s achievements. It’s a focus on achievements that will help you stand apart at this stage. 

Consider your work experience and extra-curricular activities, what did you achieve in these roles?

  • How did you add value?
  • Did you exceed targets?
  • How much revenue did you generate?
  • How effective were you at budgetary management?
  • How many new members joined?
  • How much money did you raise?

Ultimately, many students have similar experiences, whether it be customer service-type roles and sports and society involvement. Simply listing these is not sufficient to make you stand out. What will make you stand out is a focus on your achievements, in a clearly structured and well written cover letter and resume.

Good luck. Leave a comment below and @mention me your views or suggestions for future blog posts at @voiceofjamesd.

04/09/2015

What types of decisions do you need to make to secure your future?

Your decisions and approach to life will determine your future. As a campus recruiter, I see this day in and day out in the way we approach resume reviews and decide if a student will interview with us or not.

The benefits of a post-secondary education are too many to mention. Not just thanks to the intellectual stimulation and challenge of higher education study, but also the diverse people you meet and experiences you gain all in one place, while having fun along the way. By balancing all of these elements at university, you’ll also be helping your future-self secure a role, in a competitive environment.

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Get involved and become a leader while you’re at it

One of the worst things you can do at school is not get involved and only focus on your studies. Join clubs, societies, sports teams and volunteer. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, try new things and push yourself, these experiences and achievements are the essential when job hunting.

Focus on getting into positions of responsibility with these groups. Set some goals and look to deliver against these. Want to do something and there isn’t a society or sports team that offers it? Set one up. There really are no excuses for not making the most of these elements of university life.

Make the most of your summers by taking on roles in different industries

Summer is an awesome time of year.  As a student, it’s a great opportunity to make some money and furnish your resume for after graduation. Over your first two summers of university, consider roles in customer service, youth camps, administration, sales etc. Learning to deal with the public provides great skills you can add to your resume. 

If you’re fortunate enough not to have to focus on earning money over the summer months, don’t waste this time only hanging out at the cottage or with friends. Consider volunteering or structured travelling to add more weight to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Consider a co-op program or internship to test your interview and networking skills

Most internship programs are aimed at students going into their final year of study over that summer and students are recruited for these early in their third year of university. Applying for internships lets you test your networking and interview skills before your final year and, if you’re lucky, will help secure you a role a year ahead of the competition. Don’t get caught out, recruiting for internships can happen as soon as you head back to school, so be prepared.

One of the very best ways to beat the no experience/no job dilemma is to add a co-op element to your degree program. Co-operative education ensures you develop critical skills and insight that can really help accelerate your career. Taking a co-op program may be one of the best life decisions you ever make.

Study hard

Finally, study hard. In a competitive field, you should aim for a minimum GPA of a B or higher, in addition to balancing all of the above. Your grades help demonstrate your intellectual agility and curiosity and they help determine entry into many companies campus programs or future post-grad study.

Good luck. As always, feel free to respond to this post with any questions @mention me with your views or suggestions for future blog posts at @voiceofjamesd.

- James

20/08/2015

Networking 2.0: Social media networking tools

James casual shot
James Davidson, Senior Manager,
Campus Talent Acquisition

As you work toward building your network and making yourself stand out to a potential employer, it’s important to know what social media tools are your best choice and how can you get the most from them. Here are some of my top tips:

Use Twitter.
If the employer is using Twitter well, most of their tweets will not be about how awesome they, or the organisation they work for, are. Instead, they’ll be sharing vital insights, tips, articles and hints that are relevant to helping you do well. Don’t just favourite or re-tweet their tweets, comment on them. This will highlight you and help them remember you.

Start a blog. To really make yourself stand out, you could consider blogging. A good blog will demonstrate your ability to communicate with impact, lead yourself and your knowledge and insight around a subject you’re passionate about.

Use LinkedIn. Remember, LinkedIn represents that person’s professional network. Be cautious about sending a connection to someone you haven’t met or don’t have something in common with. Always tailor the message and make it personal. Fully complete your profile, including a picture, and keep it up-to-date and relevant.

A picture speaks a thousand words. A great way to get a feel for an organisation's culture is by following them on Instragram and Facebook. It’s also relatively hassle free.

Taken together, social and traditional face to face networking can make a formidable duo in helping you achieve job hunting success.Good luck.

Let me know what you’d like to see me blog about in the future @voiceofjamesd

-         James

13/08/2015

Networking 2.0: Advice for the digital age

James blog
James Davidson, Senior Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition

My last blog focused on traditional networking at face-to-face events and some tips for how to do it well. Whilst traditional networking is key, today’s campus job hunters have access to campus recruiters, reps and information in a way other generations couldn’t have dreamed of.

Utilising digital networking tools alongside traditional face-to-face channels will help you build your profile and have a brand that stands out ahead of your peers. Digital networking will also enhance your knowledge and understanding of the organisations you’re targeting and if their opportunities and culture are right for you.

To be successful, it’s critical you do it right. So here are some of my top tips:

Review your privacy settings. The internet is your friend. But it may also contain pictures and postings you don’t want a potential employer to see (that night out with the commerce society when things got all hazy and someone thought it’d be great idea to post pictures of it all over Facebook). Review your privacy settings and posting history. Ensure the online you is as fabulous as the real-world you that you’re portraying to employers.

Keep things professional and authentic. Use an appropriate picture (and background image) across all of your key social channels. It doesn’t need to be super corporate, but it should be of a good quality. Also ensure your handles/profile names are appropriate and your tweets/postings are aligned to the impression you’re creating, whilst being authentic.

Follow the right people. Yes, yes, following the Kardashians on Twitter or Instagram may make for great entertainment, but it won’t help you get a job. Follow the right people/organisations and you’ll gain expert insights and learn about the culture of the organization they work for. You may even be amongst the first to hear of a new job opportunity.

Create a nexus of communication. Think like a marketer. Your communication channels need to reinforce each other, with yourself as the ‘product’ at the centre. Cross pollinate across your channels. e.g. Tweet a link to a post you wrote on LinkedIn, ask people to follow your blog via Facebook etc. Consider highlighting your social media channels on your resume and business card.

Keep things regular. Ensure you leverage your social media tools through regular posts and updates, particularly if you’re drawing attention to them on your resume or business card

Stay tuned for my next blog post outlining what tools should you use and how can you get the most from them. As always, please comment or suggest future topics of discussion by tweeting me @voiceofjamesd

-          James