To say these past couple of days have been character building is an understatement! I was frustrated with the past couple of months with my efforts to secure my first graduate job but its important to reflect upon what makes you stand out differently from the crowd.
If my memory is correct, I have had under 10 interviews for jobs with telephone and face-to-face interviews. I learned so much about the dos and don’ts of job interviews whilst trying to figure out where I needed to improve on until I obtained some advice from Birmingham City University’s Careers and Employment Team’s Alex Carroll.
Alex explained that it was not the marketing (selling yourself) that I was lacking, it was showing passion for that role in the interview. That gave me a foundation to work on in securing more interviews as I continue the job hunt. The “Tell me about yourself” question is difficult having Asperger’s which can make it hard to give an great answer.
After my second attempt, I showed more passion for the role than the first one which marketed my skills rather than conveying why I am passionate about securing that job. A job interview is a two-way conversation between the interviewee and interviewer, not a tick boxing exercise designed to go from A to B instantly.
The past few days has seen my confidence skyrocket as I reflected on myself as an individual. I embrace my Asperger’s as a part of me rather than hiding it. Whilst I am different to other people, it has never defined who I am and it will never change the way I am as a friend, professional and person. Being ordinary is boring, being different will always be the fun way to live my life to it’s full potential.
With my hobbies and interests, I practice data visualisation regularly through Tableau, R and SQL and listening to a wide range of old and new music such as Ian Dury, Suede and ZZ Top. It’s about how I can diversify those interests and making them a part of me.
This has given me the confidence to achieve my goals and dreams in ways I would have never expected as a child growing up with Asperger’s. It’s even led to me writing my 10 tips for success in my career.
These past few days have shown that you can still be different without following the crowd. I always remind myself that the most successful people thought outside the box to achieve their dreams and that is what I aim to do.
Having positive feedback to improve on always helps as Jem Collins helped immensely as I continue to find that first job in the journalism, media and data analytics industries.
Summing up everything I have written and the advice I can give to young journalists and data analysts is never give up and always seek feedback, you never know how useful it will be in securing your dream job 5, 10, 20 years down the line!