Use the appropriate tenses in a job interview:
Use the present simple tense for current job responsibilities and activities.
For a project, you’re in the middle of, use the present continuous tense.
Use the simple past tense for past positions.
Should you be ready for a new job, it is essential that you learn the required vocabulary for the job interview.
- work environment – is the setting, social features, and physical conditions in which you perform your job
- management style – is the particular way managers go about accomplishing the objectives in the organization
- overqualified – means having better education than what is necessary or required for the position
- recruiter – is somebody sourcing (finding) and attracting candidates for a position
- colleagues – is a co-worker
- industry – is a group of companies that are related based on their primary business activities
- delegate – means the transfer of responsibility for a task from a manager to a subordinate
- attention to detail – refers to your ability to efficiently use your cognitive resources to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when doing tasks
- background – is a person’s work history story or the past facts of a current situation
- self-disciplined – is the ability to make yourself do things you know you should do even when you do not want to
- candidate – is a person who applies for a job
- methodical – to do something according to a systematic or established procedure
- facilitate – to make an action or process easy or easier
- implement – to put a decision, plan, agreement, etc. into effect
- deadline – is the latest time or date by which something should be completed
- salary requirements – is the amount of compensation a person needs in order to accept a position
- HR (human resources) – the department of a business that handles the appointment, administration, and training of staff
Students graduating from UK universities this year will be entering one of the toughest job markets in decades. The financial crisis has meant that the number of graduate jobs on offer has fallen dramatically. (Note by teacher – This refers to the 2008 market crash. We would probably have a similar situation in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.) Companies in the banking, IT, construction, and accountancy sectors have made the most dramatic cuts to graduate positions. Having believed that a university degree was the ticket to a great job, it’s little wonder that many graduates now feel cheated. Not only that, but the latest generation of graduates had to pay top-up fees, so are saddled with a heavier debt burden.
So what advice is being given to students who are about to finish their degrees? John Sturgess, a university Careers Advisor suggests that students need to lower their expectations. “They should take whatever job they can get. Even if that means working in a supermarket, or doing bar work – any job is better than no job. Failing that, voluntary work can be a good idea – anything that will fill a gap on the CV and provide some form of work experience. The days of being able to pick and choose from a wealth of high-salaried graduate positions at top companies are over – competition for the small number of these jobs that still exist is immense.”
Bar work was not what most students had in mind when they began their degrees. Parents and students alike believed that a degree would result in a greater earning potential. Indeed, the government actively encouraged as many young people as possible to go to university. Now the government is aiming to introduce internship schemes to help graduates gain valuable work experience. They are also offering grants to students who want to do post-graduate qualifications. This will keep some off the job market, but will further study actually solve the problem? According to Rebecca Ingram, a leading recruitment expert, it depends on the subject that students choose. “Qualifications in science, engineering, teaching, or law are
likely to be worthwhile, but those who choose the social sciences or arts subjects could be making matters worse for themselves – students with degrees in these subjects are really struggling at the moment.”
The choice of university can also be an issue. With prospective employers able to pick and choose, graduates from less prestigious universities are at a clear disadvantage.
Susan Warwick, 22, graduated in 2009 from Swansea University with a 2:1in History. She initially had a job working in HR for a property development company, but was made redundant two months ago. “I was the newest member of staff – I’d only been there for three months, so it was a ‘last in, first out’ policy. Since then, I’ve applied for loads of different jobs, but I’m getting nowhere. Even tempting agencies aren’t an option. They’ve got so many people on their books that if you haven’t got a year’s experience, they’re not interested.” And it doesn’t look as though the situation is going to improve soon. The number of unemployed in the UK is continuing to grow. It’s soon to reach 3 million, with around a third of those under the age of 25.
Despite the problems faced by graduates, applications to university are at a record high at a time when cuts to government based funding mean that fewer places are available. Robert Berkeley from the National Union of Student’s maintains that young people should still aim to go to university. “A degree is still the best way to improve your life prospects in the long-term. The people facing the biggest problems will be those without any qualifications. If graduates are prepared to relocate or take low-skilled jobs, it will be the unskilled who are left without work.”
So although the current atmosphere on the university campuses is one of panic and pessimism, competition for university places is set to increase.
© Oxford University Press 2010
Reasons for our choice of a title for the article:
Of the possible suggestions given in question 1, number 3 is the best title. It summarizes the main point in the article. Suggestion number 1 does relate to the article, but is only one of the aspects touched upon in the wider debate about graduate jobs. Suggestion number 2 is not at all suitable, as this information is not mentioned in the text.
Exercise 3 – Explanations
Question 2: recent graduates had to pay top-up fees so most owe more money.
Question 3: they are advised to take voluntary work only if they can’t find paid work such as bar work.
Questions 4 & 6: Not mentioned in the text.
Question 5: engineering students have a better chance of finding a job than those that study social sciences or arts.
Exercise 4 – Answers
- It will mean that their CVs will not have any unexplained gaps and they will have gained some form of work experience
- They are introducing internship schemes to give students the opportunity to gain work experience and they are offering funding (grants) to students who want to do post-graduate qualifications.
- She was the newest member of staff – when redundancies had to be made the company chose to lose the newest member of staff first.
- People without qualifications will suffer the most because the jobs they would usually have had a chance of getting will have been taken by better-qualified people.
Exercise 5 – Answers
- the future (note that despite the fact these phrases use the present simple, they are used to refer to the future.)
- a is set to. b is soon to, c is about to
- Answers will vary.
Exercise 5 – Answers
1 d 2 f 3 a 4 g 5 e 6 b 7 c