guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST
Go one step further in your company research and you'll really impress: Inevitably, you will be asked at some stage during the interview why you want to work for the organisation you are applying to. This is a great chance to demonstrate your commercial awareness - an area lots of students struggle with at interview - but it will take a bit of preparation. Prior to the interview, contact one of the organisation's customers - you can most likely identify some through a simple internet search - and ask them questions such as: "What it's like to do business with company X?", "What makes them stand out?", "What do you think it would be like to work for them?", "What makes them successful (or not)?". And then at interview, by explaining the research that you've done and including their customer's responses in your answer, you're almost guaranteed to stand out from the crowd; not only will you be able to give evidence of your personal enterprise, your research skills and your genuine interest in the organisation, but also a strong sense of business acumen.
Nick Keeley is director of the Careers Service at Newcastle University
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