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THE ASSESSMENT CENTER

Whatever you do, do not underestimate the Assessment Center.

It is by far one of the most nerve wracking experiences: you are basically put in a room full of people just like you, with your same strengths and knowledge. Some are smarter, some are less knowledgeable. And all of you have a great chance to go through.

But there is only one spot.

You need to compete with each other during different kind of tests.

THE STRUCTURE

Usually my assessment centers were built the following way:

  • case study
  • group exercise
  • final interview(s)
CASE STUDY

During the Case Study, you have one hour to read through a bunch of papers with loads of data on a fictional company. You then need to pin point what is the biggest issues of that company, and come up with tangible solutions, based on the data you have read.

Then you need to start writing your presentation and then you need to present to a board of 2 to 5 members of the company, who have all read through the same case study… and impress them.

This was by far my biggest weak point until a year ago when it became my strongest feature. This goes to show that working on your weak points is actually a game changer.

HOW TO GET BETTER

I went from crap to glorious by experience, but also by following the few steps below:

  • identify the 3 main pain points of the fictional company
  • find a solution using the main strengths of the company
  • find data in the info you have.Calculate and create more data to back up your solutions: the more they see you played with the data you were given the more they see that you are using it
  • use your own creative mind to find alternative solutions that are maybe not that obvious or present in the case. Show that you can think outside of the box
  • when reading the case study, do not read it cover to cover extremely attentively. Try your best to skim through it while not losing comprehension. It is ok if not all the information is going in. You will probably just need 20% of it anyway.
PRESENTATION TIPS

Before moving on to the group exercise, I would like to give you a few tips when it comes to presentations:

  • if you are asked to write on big pieces of paper for your presentation, do not prepare them last minute. Always leave 20minutes for it during the case study prep as it takes more time than you can imagine.
  • only write bullet points and the main elements of your answers
  • do not do a lot of slides: on average 5 is ok (for marketing and sales case studies).
  • when you present, smile, focus and move around the room like you own the place. You will come across as more powerful and in control, even when you are at loss of words.
  • before you start the presentation, know what are the 3 main messages you aim to convey
  • if the people judging you go hard on you, it is a test to see how well you react to friction. Imagine this was your actual job and that you didn’t try to convince them. Imagine you were the boss and these little people just needed reassurance.
GROUP EXERCISE

What usually happens is that you are put into a team and you need to solve a problem. You can also be in a team debating with another team about a particular issue. This exercise depends a lot on the kind of role you are going for but here are a few obvious rules:

  • do not try and “lead” by dictating, you will look like an idiot
  • rather than the above, listen a lot and only talk to contribute with some valuable information.
  • if no one mentions the time ticking, mention it half way through
  • if arguments are going all over the place, propose a strategy in order to come to a conclusion. For instance, what I say is “since there seems to be many opinions, I propose that we go round the table and vote, giving our main argument in a fairly quick way since we need to finish soon”.
  • give recognition to a team member that contributed well by acknowledging how good his or her idea was
  • do not interrupt

If you are going for a sales role, show resilience and persistence for the outcome you are looking for. Not in an aggressive way but do argument.

INTERVIEW

Finally you have the interview. This time with slightly bigger bosses.

Since I already went through my main tips in my Interview post, I will not expand on this. I would only add that it is incredibly important to notice that if people are going at you aggressively or teasing you, it is only a test to see if you got what it takes to overcome the pressure that will come in the job. Therefore please don’t take anything personally and bare in mind to react in a politically correct way at all times.

If a comment of theirs throws you off, try your best to answer with a question. For instance, if one of the interviewers says a statement about you that is clearly getting to you, simply respond with “what makes you say that?”.

Always remember, the power is in the hands of who asks the questions.

On this note, good luck for everything and do not hesitate to contact me if you ever need some more tips!

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

If you are struggling to find experience and are interested in Copywriting, Marketing or Entrepreneurship then we are looking for people to become editors of this website. I will form you and teach you everything I know. If you want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  2. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  3. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  4. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

INTERVIEWS

Interviews are by far my favorite part of the Application process.

There is such a misconception around them: everyone who feels interviewed are scared of being judged. Consequently, they often do not react or talk the way they would usually do.

People often forget that the interview is a two way thing: you need to understand if the management and company is right for you just as much as the management needs to understand if you will be a good fit.

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS

With that says, let’s distinguish to types of interviews:

  • phone interview
  • the face to face interview (including Skype ones)
PHONE

The phone interview is my least favorite. I am incapable of reading the other person as I cannot see the way their face is reacting to what I am saying. I need to focus a lot on the tone of voice to see the variations of it when they respond to certain things I say.

However a lot of people prefer the phone interview because it takes away the pressure of being seen and it allows people to have notes of paper in front of them that they can read.

This is a huge advantage however please beware of your voice when you read out your responses. Some people become monotone when reading or express themselves to fluently, too perfectly, without a human hesitation. So make sure to vary the tone of voice when you read and also stop sometimes to fake “searching your words” so that it comes across more natural and human.

Most importantly: smile. It makes a difference!

NOTES

But the real question is: what should you put in your notes?

Start with the absolute basic questions and answers:

  • tell me about yourself
  • why did you choose this role
  • why did you choose this company
  • what is your biggest strength
  • what is your biggest weakness

That same preparation needs to be done for face to face interviews but this time you won’t be able to cheat therefore you need to practice your responses over and over until they start getting more natural when you say them.

Although face to face interviews can be daunting, they have a tremendous impact compared to phone calls. The recruiter can see your face and the enthusiasm you convey. You can come across like a breath of fresh air and communicate so much more energy and passion through your facial expressions rather than just the voice.

I cannot recommend enough trusting the fact that you are worthy of this job and that you should totally relax. The employer will understand if you are nervous but they definitely prefer the confident candidates. This doesn’t mean arrogant.

If you are afraid of not being able to put a sentence together, please rehearse the most common questions. Especially the ones I listed before. If you need more, you can download My Answers To Top Interview Questions (coming soon).

PREPARATION

What I also do is go through their main requirements and characteristics they are looking for. Check out this blog post if you haven’t already. I write a story about how I have experienced that characteristic and clearly am a good fit.

For instance, if the job description keeps repeating “leadership” a lot, or “team work”, I would try and think of what kind of issues or experience a leader would encounter and then have a story about those issues. This way, when the recruiter asks me the following questions, I will have a story clearly indicating that I know what being a leader entails:

  • Tell me about a time someone in your team was not contributing. How did you solve that problem?
  • Tell me about a time where your contribution in a team was valuable to the team.
  • Tell me about a time where you had an issue with a person in your team.

Think about the good and ugly scenarios of your professional life and then turn it so that it looks like you know how to adapt to any sticky situation.

FINAL QUESTIONS

Finally, about 80% of people are clueless of how important the question section is. When the interview comes to an end, a lot of students do not ask questions when they are given the opportunity to ask them.

Asking the interviewers questions is a golden opportunity to take back a bit of power and understand more about the company.

Do not waste your questions on answers you already know. Ask them questions, from human to human. Ask them about their experiences the same way they asked you. Put them on the spot.

It makes a hell of a difference.

If you are successful, you either have the job, or have to go through one more step: the Assessment center.

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

If you are struggling to find experience and are interested in Copywriting, Marketing or Entrepreneurship then we are looking for people to become editors of this website. I will form you and teach you everything I know. If you want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  2. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  3. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  4. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

ONLINE TESTS & GAMES

If you past the initial screening, aka, if your CV and Cover Letter were successful, you are either directed to an Interview directly, or you are asked to perform online tests (like for Procter & Gamble, for example) or games (like for Unilever).

Online tests vary depending on the role you have applied for.

TYPES OF TEST

There are different types of online tests (that I know about):

  • numerical test
  • behavioral test
  • reasoning test
  • logical test
NUMERICAL TEST

The numerical test usually assesses how fast your calculations are and how good your analytical skills are are. It is very popular for financial roles. You usually are racing against time in order to solve 30 to 60 problems which involve charts, diagrams, tables of data and graphs.

It’s meant to calculate how quickly you can filter the elements you need to resolve the question and how effectively you can calculate the answer.

Usually, numerical tests are presented as multiple questions. Moreover, they often require you to tick only one correct answer. Therefore, if you are running out of time, just make sure you give an answer to every question! This said, don’t bank on this method to save you: there are usually 5 answers. This only gives you a 20% chance to get the correct answer every time.

How To Practice

In order to prepare for this kind of test, you need to find as many past papers as possible online. Try a couple every day, for 3 consecutive days before you take the real test and one on the same day. This will help your brain get sharp and ready for whatever is coming.

Please remember that some of the tests you will find online can be either too easy or too hard. Do not freak out if you are being slow or if you are only able to do half of the past papers in the given time. Sometimes, it is made on purpose.

My biggest tip for this test is to never mentally give up during the test. Even you didn’t manage to find the answer for 10 consecutive answers, you need to attack every question with the same energy. That is the main difference between those who pass and those who don’t. Often, very capable individuals do not pass only because they had a lack of faith and gave up. It happened more than once that people with half of their knowledge and speed passed instead of them simply because they did not stop fighting until the very end.

So do not give up. I want to hear you roar at the end of it like you did your best!

BEHAVIOURAL TEST

The behavioural test usually assesses how you think and how you describe yourself. In my experience, you are given a series of statements, around 50 of them) and you get to put on a scale from Very Unlikely to Very Likely  how much you relate to the statement.

For example:

When in a social setting, I usually tend to introduce myself:

Very Unlikely   Unlikely    Neutral   Likely   Very Likely

You are basically measuring how true the statement is for you and how you perceive yourself.

For this one there isn’t really a right or wring answer like in the numerical test. You are the way you are however try and understand what kind of person they are looking for beforehand. However, you need to stay as truthful as yourself as possible: they will test it through contradictions. 

How To Practice

In order to prepare for this kind of test, I would go on the company’s website and look at the core values and beliefs of the organization. Secondly, I would stalk a few of the people who work for the company on LinkedIn  to get an idea of what kind of personality is preferred.

My biggest tip for this test is to contact a few current employees and ask them what are the 3 main characteristics of a great employee.

REASONING TEST

The reasoning test usually assesses how you would react in certain situations.

It is not necessarily limited in time but it gives you a scenario and a few options on how you would act in that situation.

For instance:

Kevin is being bullied at work by Sara. Would you rather:

  1. Ignore the conflict
  2. Tell Kevin to leave with you
  3. Go up to Sara and kick her in the balls
  4. Tell Sara that her behavior is inappropriate

These are my favorites as I always seem to score high in these.

For these kind of tests there isn’t really something to help you train. It should be your innate impulsive reaction to act the correct way in a company. Just do what is right, and look online at a few scenarios in order to understand the reasoning if you ever need clarifications.

LOGICAL TEST

The logical test usually assesses your reaction time to threads of shapes and logical games.

These are tests that vary enormously between each other. The ones I have always been used to were the shapes in a line that were following a logic and you had to pick the next one out of 5 options of shapes.

But I recently had a logical test with P&G… it was the hardest. You looked at dots on the screen, and needed to memorize their position. Then, you were distracted by being shown two shapes: you needed to figure out within 2 seconds if the two shapes were mirrored or different. Straight after that, I was back with the spots and needed to place them where the computer showed them in the first frame…. It is hard to explain, very messy.

How To Practice

I strongly recommend you look online for logical tests with figures and try them out. The weird thing about these tests is that you will never know how well you scored on them. You just do it and hope for the best.

GAMES

Unilever usually asks you to download an app. You are then asked to play a series of 10 games more or less. Each game is around 2 minutes long and you have absolutely no time to strategize or think during them. It is made on purpose to calculate with your reasoning, decisions and speed… and personality, weirdly.

Unilever gives you a PDF document where you can read your top skills and your worst skills. Also it tells you more about your characteristics. All that thanks to 10 little games. It is crazy the amount of data these companies have on each individual!

How To Practice

For these kind of tests, good luck. There little to nothing you can do to practice. They are literally scanning you to see if yay or nay, naturally, you belong to the company or not. So just do what feels right and do not care too much about the outcome. It is better that they figure out now what kind of person you are because, even if you managed to fake it, you will be unhappy if you get the job and have to pretend to have different impulses than the rest of them.

Once the tests have been completed, it is time to face a few of your bosses during interviews. And these are by far the best minutes of my application process!

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

If you are struggling to find experience and are interested in Copywriting, Marketing or Entrepreneurship then we are looking for people to become editors of this website. I will form you and teach you everything I know. If you want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  2. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  3. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  4. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

THE COVER LETTER

Just like with the CV, it is most probably a robot that is looking through your Cover Letter.

Most companies and recruiters use robots and algorithms to go through the main keywords of your text to find a match between their requirements and your experience.

HACK THE SYSTEM

The job description always has keywords and phrases that correspond to the type of person they are looking for. Therefore, most of the requirements are hinted in the job description. Every time you see a keyword or a skill, mark it so that you use it in your Cover Letter. Make sure you use their synonyms as well. Unfortunately, not all the requirements will be hinted in the job description as some of that information is  internal. Therefore you need to make the most with what you are given.

If it is a human reviewing it, then they will probably have a list of requirements too, and will have the same behavior as the robots. However it is a bit more easy to convince a human by showing energy and passion through the choice of words and sentences. Therefore do not forget to sound eloquent as well!

SOFT SKILLS > HARD SKILLS

Most multinationals are now looking for soft skills rather than hard skills. They believe that anyone, with the right training, can learn how to do a certain thing. However, it is the behaviour and the mindset of that employee that is going to determine how well they perform. Are you coachable? Do you welcome feedback easily, even if it’s constructive criticism? Behavior and mindset is harder to teach. Companies would rather attract people who already have the right mindset and values. This will help them make your transition into the company smoother.

MY STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH
  1. Make a list of the keywords & phrases present in the Job Description and representing the requirements
  2. Pick out from your list of achievements, experiences and success stories that match the skills and requirements needed for the job.
  3. Think about the structure of your cover letter, think storytelling. Do not list achievements. Figure out what are the 2 or 3 main behavioral requirements and match them with 2 or 3 experiences proving that you are what they are looking for.
  4. Write the first draft
  5. Aim to shorten it and make is as poignant as possible. You can do that by always ending the paragraphs with a result that you achieved. The more data and percentages you can add the better. The cover letter should not exceed one page. I aim for half a page.
  6. Add in as many keywords and phrases you can. Do not worry if not all of them make the cut. Try at least half.
  7. Take a break. You want to review your cover letter with fresh eyes. Ideally the morning after.
  8. Refine.

This methodology has helped countless of the students I have been working with one-to-one. I hope it helps you and feel free to contact me if you have any further question.

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

If you are struggling to find experience and are interested in Copywriting, Marketing or Entrepreneurship then we are looking for people to become editors of this website. I will form you and teach you everything I know. If you want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  2. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  3. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  4. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

THE CV

Most people write their CV once and then send it to everyone.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, if you do not take the time to tailor your application, it will show and you will considerably lower your chances. You can find my own CVs over the past 7 years here.

THE MEGA CV

Firstly, I usually do is that I write a Mega CV. It’s a CV that contains all of my experiences and my extra curricular activities. I allow myself to write everything on huge document.

Then, I pick the experiences that best suit the company that I am applying for. I show off the skills and experiences that are the most demanded in the job description.

SECTIONS IN MY THE CV

It needs to be to the point and easy to read. I include the sections below:

  • Education: nothing before university is that important. If you have attended a summer school for your languages or something similar, do include it.
  • Certifications & Awards: if you don’t have any, get some. Nowadays on the internet it is so easy to study for some free certificates, no need to spend money. For instance, my university had an award scheme. This is an activity that universities propose to help students with their employability. Indeed, the more employable you are, the more attractive the university. 
  • Languages: I have a dedicated section for this because I have many languages under my belt. You can switch that with whatever other main skill you may have. For instance, you may have very technical knowledge of photoshop, in design and after effects. Therefore, instead of Languages, you’d put Adobe proficiency.
  • Experiences: I put all of my work related experiences (aka paid jobs). If you do not have too many roles, do include volunteering experiences. 
  • Extra-curricular: if the company seems to welcome diversity and well-rounded personalities, I would include sports such as being a choreographer for the Dance Society. If the company is very competitive to get into, and is more business-y, I would switch that with more professional extra-curricular activities such as “building online brands and reaching 40K+ people”.
RESULTS DRIVEN & CONCISE

In your experience section, it is vital to stick to the impact you have had in the company. Highlight any tangible results you worked for. Including data, percentage of growth and even big names in your company (titles) will help you stick out from the crowd.

The experience section is obviously the most important one. The title of the company needs to be there and extravagant. The bigger the company the better. However the advantage of working with smaller companies is that you can have a much higher impact than if in a huge multinational. Have maximum 3 bullet points explaining your role and results. I usually explain my role in 2 bullet points and then the last one I punch the reader in the face by putting cool stats and impact I have made in my role. Any increase of sales or user retention on a website, engagement growth… 

Next we have the Cover Letter.

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

If you are struggling to find experience and are interested in Copywriting, Marketing or Entrepreneurship then we are looking for people to become editors of this website. I will form you and teach you everything I know. If you want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  2. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  3. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  4. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

BEFORE YOU START

No matter how long and soul-breaking it is to be constantly rejected, your application is an investment. You get what you put in. Not all the time, but most of the time.

Recently I spent 5h writing and tailoring my CV and cover letter for a job that I knew I really wanted. It was 6pm when I got back from one of the darkest and most exhausting days at work. My moral was down and my energy was low.

But somehow, that motivated me. Why was I accepting this situation? I needed to get out of this hideous and inhumane “job” I am currently in.

Find your motivation and spend time on this process.

WHAT YOU NEED

YOUR LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS

Firstly, write down every successful thing you achieved. You need a list of achievements. For instance, put in all of the certificates, degrees, experiences and success stories you have collected during your life.

Maybe you managed to raise money for a charity, exceeding the target by 20%. That is a success story. Maybe you have done an online certificate for finance. Mark that one down too. You graduated from university with top marks. Or maybe you helped a student that was not involved in his group work, to actually participate and work harder than anyone in the group! Make a list, be kind to yourself and write everything that pops into your mind. Even if you might find it insignificant, write it down, as it can be an element of a success story.

For instance, when I wrote my list, I was hesitating in putting down the fact that the director of my department in adidas publicly congratulated me in a meeting which included the whole Western Europe team. Although it doesn’t seem much, like, big deal he said “bravo”, I turned it around and added it to another success story and that helped me to make my success story more punchy.

THE JOB DESCRIPTION

Next, you need the job description of the role you are thinking of applying too. Make a list of the keywords and phrases representing the requirements.

Try your best to figure out what exactly is wanted from you. What are the behaviors the company praises? What experience are they looking for? Use all of the keywords and implied skills that you find. This will be a great guide for when you write your Cover Letter and CV.

THEIR CULTURE

Finally, go on the website of the company and read through their core values and beliefs. Every multinational has them. I am pretty sure that smaller companies have a credo as well. Understand what kind of community each of the company you are applying to attracts.

This can also help you figure out if this crowd is for you. When I use to apply, I did not see the application process as me choosing them, more like them choosing me. I couldn’t be more wrong. If you feel a disconnection with what they are saying and your beliefs, then do not be surprised if you get rejected. Most of the employers can sense if you are w right fit for the company. If you are not, they will probably notice. Therefore do not waste your time.

Once you have these three elements you can proceed to the CV section.

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

If you are struggling to find experience and are interested in Copywriting, Marketing or Entrepreneurship then we are looking for people to become editors of this website. I will form you and teach you everything I know. If you want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  2. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  3. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  4. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Welcome to the beginning of a new era: the ACTUAL adulting. You will love it.

This is the part that most of us neglect and underestimate. You have spent your whole life sweating and stressing for good grades. And now it is time to actually see who wants to employ you. We have been fed a fable. Our whole lives we have been told that getting a degree and good grades will open doors for us.

WRONG.

Absolute. Utter. BS.

Firstly, you are the one that will open doors for yourself, independently of your great essay. No one cares about your grades, probably because there are another 10,000 of you saying the same thing. Moreover, I personally believe that we are fed this fat lie to kickstart the process of creative extinction. But that’s just me. Nevertheless, it is now time for you to face all of those cold, plain and hard rejection letters.

YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED

Yes, you will spend hours crafting that perfect CV.

You will spend days thinking about how you can make your cover letter sound poignant and original.

You will sweat and stutter during those phone interviews (if you are lucky enough to be invited to one).

Yes, you will waste months going through the 534 application steps you must go through to have a chance to receive a contract. You will probably not go through the last stage.

And yes, you will still be rejected. No matter how hard you try.

You will have fat NOs thrown at your face without any explanation nor feedback.

You will see your hopes vanish with that short copy-pasted email starting with the word “Unfortunately”.

Finally, you will start doubting your worth and comparing yourself to the 3 people who actually got a “great” job opportunity (lies). Oh, you will also compare yourself to the 10 people who got a job thanks to that lucky contact in their father’s booklet.

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

Does that mean you need to despair and stop trying? Does that mean that you are condemned to have that life, the one you have always dreaded? The kind of desk job that crushes your energy and kills your dreams? The kind of role where you are treated like a number and constantly stressed out? The uninspiring same old routine that you turn up to in exchange of that salary that pays off the rent and the transportation to that same job?

Nah.

Sure you need experience, and sure you can allow yourself to suffer a year or two if that’s what you think is good for you. But DO NOT, for a single millisecond, believe that you are worth that dream job. You know why? 

Because chances are you got rejected by a robot. That’s right: your application doesn’t always get reviewed by an actual human. There are parameters that give algorithms, and these algorithms decide if you are shown to the employer or not.

PERSIST

There are so many opportunities and cool roles in this world. Some who pay more, some who pay less, some in an expensive city, some on a cheap beach somewhere on an island. You just need to keep that energy up. You need enough energy to look around, to open your eyes. Trust that life has many secret passages that are open to those who want to see them.

Now, after this important introduction that I wish you would read daily, let’s be practical.

STRUCTURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS

To apply for a job in the UK or in Ireland, you need to go through these steps:

  1. the screening stage: this is where a robot or a team of HR staff reads your CV and Cover Letter. Do your experiences tick the boxes for the role you are applying to? They better. This is, for most of us, the hardest part as it is not a fair process and you need quite some luck to be actually noticed
  2. the online tests: this can be devastating for many. It’s a methodology that many companies use to box you and cut down the amount of people who get through to the next step. Some tests can be practiced (analytical tests or logical tests). Others can’t be trained for (behavioral tests or the games)
  3. the phone interview: there are known tricks that can really make a difference in your interview. I explain them in detail in my dedicated blog post
  4. the assessment center: a very stressful event where you are invited to compete with other students just like you through a variety of challenges. Some challenges include group work or presentations and the case studies. Others are more subtle such as the networking dinners, drinks and lunches. The assessment centers aims to really get to know you on a personal level. 
  5. the final interview(s): they can go hard on you and challenge you with some weird comment to test your reactions, ego and pride.

Now it’s time to teach you every thing I know on each category.

Click away and dive into my head.

HOW CAN WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER (ONLINE OPPORTUNITY)

I have done my best to keep this website up-to-date. However, not living in Exeter anymore, this can be a challenge. If you are about to move to Exeter and want to get involved with this blog then please do not hesitate to contact me via this Contact Form or via my Instagram account. This is a unique opportunity for anyone who would like to get into blogging, influencer marketing or just generally gain some experience for their CV. Again, you can contact me for more details on how this may help you!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU

Over the years I have created many guides and checklist that aim to help you save time. Here are a list of them just in case you might miss out on a few:

  1. The Essay Decoder: a resource to help international students understand what is asked in an essay. This resource was given to me by one of Exeter’s top Senior Lecturers.
  2. Do’s & Don’ts at University Guide: a resource that gives you 70+ tips about university life. These recommendations range from social life, to love life, to reputation… I wish I had this guide when starting.
  3. The Ultimate Packing Checklist for both Catered students and Self-Catered students. A resource that aims to help you save time when preparing yourself for University.
  4. My 1st E-Book: a resource that has help me become a boss at Time Management. Moreover, it has also helped me create more time for what I love and get to my goals faster. It is lengthy, however it is arguably the best Time Management piece of research out there.
  5. The Time Management Actionable Sheets: a summary of my E-Book. These sheets have conserved the absolute essential actions you need to take to make the most out of your time. Do not skip any steps!
  6. My Before & After CV Transformation: a resource that has collected my CVs for the past 7 years to help you not only craft a great CV, but to also show you that everyone can start mediocre and grow exponentially.
  7. How To Land a Job Faster Guide: a resource that aims to give you all of the tips and recommendations I have used during my career. This will help you avoid some common mistakes students do when starting off with their job applications.
MY OBJECTIVE IS AND WILL FOREVER BE TO HELP YOU

To conclude, the aim of this website is to help you have the best fresh start at University and with your career. There is nothing that gives me more happiness and joy but to hear your positive feedback on how helpful my content has been. Contact me if you have any feedback for me!

BEST OF LUCK WITH IT ALL!!!!

Much affection,

Francesca Michaud

Uncategorized

CRYING IN ACCENTURE GOOGLE

As much as I was fulfilled by my time in adidas, I quickly realized that it was quite hard for me to get into the department that was dealing strictly with the digital marketing activities I was interested in. It came to a point when I realized that I needed to find a job that would teach me purely about Digital Marketing.

With all this said, I was happy in adidas and wasn’t actively looking for a place.

Until the day where a recruiter on LinkedIn pitched me a new role in Accenture.

They explained to me that I was going to be trained and learned about the most used pay per click advertising tool: Google Ads.

Since I had a fair amount of knowledge about Social Media (Instagram and Youtube especially) and SEO (the basics), Google Ads was really what was missing to my top box of knowledge when it came to understanding digital marketing.

After accepting the offer and going through some last minute interviews, I found myself on an airplane to Dublin, where the EU headquarters of Google were.

I was chuffed.

I couldn’t believe that little me who started with no motivation nor experience managed to get into Google offices without even properly applying. I was, and still am, proud of myself, and I reminded myself that absolutely any evolution is possible with a little faith in oneself and an adventurous soul.

Once there, I was given a badge that would allow me to go to any Google office in the city and, although I was not a Google, I was still entitled to a google email and access to many internal information. I definitely had a foot in the door and it was quite insane to see that I had a chance in getting into one of the most desired companies in the world!

6 months in, I can say that I have learned a whole lot about Google Ads, and that I will soon join the team that deals with the 20% of the most paying clients of Google in terms of advertising! VERY exciting times to say the least!

DISCLAIMER: although the learning opportunities are numerous, and incredible, there are MANY, and by many I mean MANY, downsides to this job. This role as an Associate for Google has nothing to do with the rainbow fairytale land Adidas was. I have been going through many breakdowns and weird changes of character. I do not recommend anyone to go for my role unless they have a specific plan to learn and leave in under a year. This job is soul breaking and you will have to go through a lot of absurdities. I will go through all of the details once I am out of it but for now I am enjoying the ride and curious to what other possible kind of crap they can throw at my face. One thing is for sure: I will never advise you to go to Accenture EVER.

Uncategorized

SHINING IN ADIDAS

Adidas… when I got the offer confirmation I just couldn’t believe it.

I still remember the pressure I was feeling: in 4th year, my final year at university, I had everyone around me talking about job applications. Most of them, not getting into the jobs they wanted, ended up settling for jobs that were… mediocre. The perspective of begging for a medium size company in London paying me 20k a year when the living cost would leave me with no profit did not sound like a good choice for me. Yet that’s what everyone did because they were to scared to set the bar higher.

I always had my standards. Heck, a 40h desk job was never my aim but I knew the importance of having a major name backing you up. It definitely helps going straight in a big multinational after graduation because then people generally agree that you are “worth something”. After that you can leave and do your own thing but you gain credibility if you play by the rules for a little while.

Well… I didn’t get into any big multinationals.

I had the opportunity to stay in Exeter 9 months more before finally landing the crazy opportunity to work in Adidas’ Global HQ in Germany.

I was ecstatic.

Finally my choice of not accepting mediocrity paid off and all the whispering around my situation finally ceased and became fake compliments, but truly admiration.

Proving to people that they underestimated me has always been one of my biggest pleasures in life. Luckily for me I am addicted to it and, as I raise the bar higher, I push myself more and realize that the boundaries are only mental constructs we were put in our mind in order to perform 100000 times less well than what we could.

When I received that adidas contract, I could see myself 4 years back in disbelief. If you read my first post, the Francesca from the past would have never guessed what cool outcome I would have won.

So yes, my first experience after graduation was working for a huge multinational which focuses on sport, health and apparel.

I was buzzing.

In hindsight, I can tell you confidently that it was just the beginning of my crazy adidas adventure.

Let’s start from the beginning.

I was asked to work for the Marketing department of Basketball and Heartbeat-sports for Western Europe. That meant I was tightly involved in the marketing stunts adidas was pulling off for Bball as well as 10 other sports including swim, tennis, rugby, weightlifting, handball… What a journey.

At first, I was asked the usual excel stuff. A lot of competitive analysis and help with the merchandising.

Then, I moved into the Brand Activation team, in which I was helping more the Senior Manager of Brand activation to manage adidas’ multi million investment of 3 major events in Berlin, Milan and Paris.

I learned so much about project management through this and the Senior Manager was top notch as he took extra time to explain to me everything in detail and help me learn as much as I could, even though he was 90% of the time stressed.

However I have learned one thing during my career journey: always go the extra mile. Every time I get into a job, I always need to make sure to come out of it with a success story. This meant that what I was asked by the Senior Manager was not enough. I needed to create my own project and do what it took to complete it without compromising my homework given by my line manager, Kashisan, and the Senior Manager of Brand Activation.

Before even entering the WoS campus (adidas’ offices), I already pin pointed what my goal was: there is this stage adidas uses in order to invite huge celebrities and athletes to come talk to the company. It has had Messi, Pharrell, Karl Kloss, Beckam, Harden and all sorts of people stepping on it. I wanted to give a talk on it too. I don’t know how but I would manage.

I did what I did during my placement year at nal von minden: I observed the adidas communication channels and identified what could be done better.

The website was an obvious choice, as well as the paid Facebook ads. The format was just too boring and standard, it hurt my eyes and any eyes of someone born after 1995. I wanted to change, to improve, to upgrade adidas. But how?

First, I researched competitors and other brands from other industries in order to put together a simple and effective presentation.

Then, I stalked everyone in the company who seemed to have a role in that area and asked for a quick coffee date.

I did this until I bumped into the Senior Director of Insights and Data Analysis and he changed the game. He was such a big dog and gave me loads of tips on how to move. He even told me that I could present my idea on the stage if I wanted to, to gain more insight.

And just like that, within a month, I fulfilled my fantasy, my one goal on being on that stage, without actually doing anything.

By accomplishing that fantasy so soon, I was left with nothing.

My dream of changing the adidas website quickly became my new goal and fantasy. Therefore I did not stop there. I did not content myself of making a presentation to “propose” my idea, I wanted to implement it. But how?

I must say I got lucky: around that same time, my department had a new Senior Vice President of Brand for Western Europe (huge deal). As a consequence, certain people from Western Europe were allowed to go on a breakfast with him in order to “talk about issues they may have”. This invitation was obviously not forwarded to me. But I decided to go on one anyway.

But how? By befriending his secretary. For two weeks, I went over to her, was polite, and introduced myself. Little by little she got used to my face and eventually I asked her if it was possible to include me in one of the intimate breakfasts so that I could present my ideas that would definitely help adidas. I had to pitch a bit but I got a yes.

That same week, I was lucky enough not only to have a breakfast with the Senior VP, but it was a breakfast with only one more person, meaning I had extra time to pitch instead of 3min!! Luck was on my side, but you also create your own luck by just going for it.

He loved the idea.

Before you know it, he put me in contact with the right teams in Amsterdam which have access to the back end of the website and boom, I had a deal: they would allow me to add things on some specific pages of the website but I only had 1 week to give them the material.

Mission impossible, but challenge accepted.

As soon as the phone was down, I mobilized as many interns and colleagues as possible to be part of a photoshoot. They needed to invest or borrow some adidas clothes that are present on the website and come for a 3h shooting.

I managed to convince a photographer to take the pictures and edit them for free and eventually boom, I had a whole deck of pics.

Then, I created the PDF explaining how I wanted my pictures and text to be displayed and used, and everything was sent within a week to Amsterdam.

They told me they would test my version and website pages, as well as ads for 2 weeks and get back to me with the results.

3 weeks later, the email came, and here is the screenshot:

Yes, you read right: 127% increase in conversions!!!!!

UNREAL!!!!!

Not only that, but to thank me they put a few on my test pictures on the website and tagged my Instagram!!! UN-FREAKING-REAL!!!! And here was my reaction of course:

Honestly words couldn’t describe how illuminating this experience was.

It is crazy how a little employee like me can make such a difference in the ocean.

It is crazy how the limitations we are given are all fiction and that you literally need to try.

It is crazy how the sentence “freedom relies in discipline” is.

I was congratulated by the Senior VP and by my own Senior Director who said in front of the whole adidas Europe “we will follow your leadership”.

I was congratulated by my line manager Kashisan who said that I made him proud and who put “Excellent” on my final report and was even asked by the CMO of adidas to come for a meeting with him!!!

All in all, this whole experience was crazy.

I am no one special. I have the same capacities as you reading this. We are the same, no IQ difference is.

What makes the real difference is my will to try, my will to fail, my will to persist, my will to put myself out there.

And anyone can. Don’t be the ant.

Uncategorized

THRIVING IN NAL VON MINDEN

Since I never really applied to jobs before, this was going to be my first real experience.

The combination of my trilingual skill and of my PwC summer internship, I was convinced that I was going to have a tsunami of huge multinationals begging for me to work for them.

Since I grew up a bit since the time I got handed the PwC internship by my father, I started to realize that other people were getting into places on their own.

I started to feel so dumb and lesser than everyone else. I started to feel the guilt of my privilege and never ever allowed people to know that I was given the opportunity to be in PwC, instead of working for it. Even if some people reacted so admiration to it, I tried to keep that information under the radar as I was terrified to start getting into the details of an application process I never went through.

I decided that, although I had a great deal of help for my first experience, that I would get this one on my own. And I told my parents that I didn’t want any help and that I wanted to learn how to do this like everyone else, by trial and error.

What a slap in the face it was… All I can say is that the rejection was real!

Every application I sent was followed by the famous “Dear Francesca, Unfortunately…” you are not good enough for us, I would read.

I started with a few of the multinationals, got rejected by all of them. I therefore realized that I was way too picky and applied for all the big names I could find: Disney, LVMH, Colgate, J&J, Deloitte… without much success.

The only ones I managed to go further with was:

  • Unilever who gave me the opportunity of their phone interview which I massively ruined with a lot of piffle, of trembling voice and of “sorry”s (it was my first one to be fair).
  • IBM who also invited me for a phone interview with a hideous woman that I already started despising after the 5ft minute and whom, apparently, was going to be my line manager (no thanks). Needless to say that it didn’t go far…
  • Procter&Gamble Paris (which I’m still quite proud of) with whom I was successful in all the interviews and tests, until I arrived at the assessment center, managed all of it and failed the last interview out of the three. A real disappointment… I actually recorded it and haven’t listened it ever.

After applying to exactly 31 different companies for my Industrial Year, and after being rejected every single time… I was about to quit. It was March and all of these applications took me 6 months to send in total and not having any results after such a long time was quite disheartening.

But after all this, I refused to come back home empty handed… To look in my parents eyes and ask for their help, yet again. My pride was too big, my ego was too wounded and I decided to apply to medium size companies.

I randomly ended up getting into nal von minden, a medium size company in the pharmaceutical industry, based in Germany, who sold all sorts of materials to other entities (B2B). Luckily for me, I got into a very small department there called self-diagnostics who was a sub of nal von minden, and whom sold pregnancy tests, drug tests and alcohol tests to the public (B2C).

They were the only company who offered me a job.

Since it wasn’t one of the big multinationals, I promised myself that I was going to “make the most out of it”, even though I didn’t know how.

(…)