A smile can get a job interview off to the right start and help recruiters discover a graduate’s positive personality, says accountant Caitlin McKeough.

She applied for William Buck’s 2014 graduate program intake at the start of 2013 as she began her final year of her Bachelor of Commerce degree. She researched her employment prospects by attending a CA Employment Evening to get an insight into the culture of William Buck and read up on the company on its website. But she says graduates do need to show off the skills in demand during the job interview. “This can be as simple as smiling and giving the interviewees a good handshake when they welcome you to the interview,” she says.

Being positive and friendly helps engage and foster good working relationships, while empathy is also sought-after in many workplaces, she says. “I also believe discussing personal interests such as sport, music and other activities shows you have qualities such as a strong team ethos which aligns you to the values of the workplace,” she says.

Her efforts paid off, as she is now employed in William Buck’s business advisory division and is completing the final module of the Chartered Accountants Program. “Having strong interpersonal skills was just as significant, if not more important, than technical knowledge and skills developed through university,” she says. “In my job application itself I included a paragraph of interpersonal and communications skills which I believe would have assisted in me being successful in being offered a graduate role.”

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