guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST
Ask a hundred recruiters what disappoints them most about the people they interview and I can safely predict the top answer - lack of knowledge of their organisation. And for lack of knowledge, they read lack of interest. Interview over.
Any degree develops research skills, so apply them to your job hunting and don't forget the social networks that provide so much inside information. Find out how the organisation you are applying for has developed in recent years, how its products or services and markets have changed, who its competitors are, what its ethos is and what the future holds. Then use that information intelligently. Interviews are not like Mastermind – regurgitating facts won't win any prizes. Instead, you need to demonstrate an understanding of what it all means for you as a prospective employee, what the challenges would be and the skills and attributes you'll need to make a positive contribution.
Jane Standley is director of careers and student employability at Brunel University
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