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Posted Nov. 14, 2012

7 Ways to WOW at Your First Postgraduate Interview

Getting ready for your first Postgraduate interview?


However you’re feeling, just remember this interview will bring you one step closer to your dreams.

If you’ve sent out your masters degree applications and received an offer for interview from one of your prospective graduate schools, you’re already half way there. All you need to do now is WOW them.

So how do you WOW at your first postgraduate interview?

Follow our top tips to boost your chances of being admitted.

Make Your CV Stand Out

Can you imagine how many applications an admissions board has to look through each year? Those endless stacks of paper would be enough to drive anyone crazy! Design your CV right and it could be the breath of fresh air they’re looking for. Whether you simply change the format around, have a professional designer plan it out for you, or even opt for something totally out there like an infographic, it’s sure to make them do a double take.

Do Your Homework

Learn the program inside and out. Find out as much information as possible from the school’s website, course catalogue and student handbook. It’s essential to brush up on your knowledge of the institute you are applying to, and in this day and age, when all the information you could ever need to know is literally a keystroke away, there is no excuse not to do your homework before walking into an interview.

Dress to Impress

Although a masters degree interview is likely to be less formal than a job interview, you’ll still want to dress to impress. Looks aren’t everything, but they sure can help. Consider the course you are applying for and try to dress accordingly. For example, business departments will expect more formality than art and design departments. If in doubt, err on the side of smart but don’t be afraid to add your own personal twist to the look with a signature piece such as a funky tie, quirky glasses or some statement jewellery.

Get to Grips with Common Questions

Before diving in, always be well prepared for the kind of questions you will be asked. Here’s the sort of thing you can expect to hear:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why have you applied for this program?
  • What is your experience in this field?
  • What do you know about this program?
  • What other schools are you considering?
  • What are your long term career goals?
  • What are your interests outside of an academic environment?

A great way to get to grips with these common questions is role play. Grab anyone with a spare 15 minutes, and practice, practice, practice!

Expect the Unexpected

There are occasions where you’ll turn up for an interview and be completely thrown off by the situation you’re presented with. These days more and more interviewers are getting creative with the interview process and shaking things up a bit. From on-the-spot improv to unannounced presentations, it’s best to be prepared for anything they throw your way!

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

If you took note of the most commonly asked questions we talked about earlier, you’ll know that ‘tell me about yourself’ is one request you’re almost guaranteed to hear. The truth is it can also be one of the hardest to answer. When preparing for the interview write down your key qualities and accomplishments, along with what makes you unique. Be confident in the way you deliver this information and before you walk out that door, make sure they understand exactly what you can bring to the table.

It’s the Special Touches that Count

When the interview draws to a close and they ask if you have any questions, make sure you have at least one. This shows that you have both initiative and genuine interest in the program. Another special touch, and one that will be greatly appreciated, is to send a thank you email to everyone who interviewed you. If you want to go one step further, take notes and write down something unique to the interview, then slip this into the thank you. Trust us, it will work wonders!

How are you feeling about your first post graduate interview?

Let us know in the comments below.

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