Name Catherina Tiernan
Job Graduate Marketing Executive
Company An Post
Education BA Applied Languages, University of Limerick (2003); MSc Business Management, Dublin City University (2007)
I found out about my employer’s graduate programme via gradireland.com and completed an online application form. A couple of weeks later I was invited to the first round of the selection process, which involved ability testing that assessed my verbal and numerical critical reasoning. The company sent practice questions beforehand which were helpful preparation.
The next stage was an interview with the two heads of marketing; as the interview progressed I found discussing my skills became easier. It’s as important to highlight weaknesses as it is strengths – employers are aware that we all have areas we could develop.
For the final assessment stage I was asked to put together a SWOT analysis of the company which I presented to two marketing managers. On the day, we were also given a marketing scenario and asked to discuss the suitability of three different strategies as part of a group observation exercise. It was nerve-wracking to have five people observing us, but I soon got stuck into the task.
When I first started I completed tasks for a range of managers, gaining a great overview of the company and learning effective time management. My work has since become more project-based and at the moment I’m organising usability testing for a new post office vending machine – I enjoy the buzz around a product launch. I have another year to go on the programme, and I’m waiting to see what opportunities arise.
Make the most of the media to ensure you’re in the know for interviews. Even if you’re not offered the job or decide that it’s not the role for you, each interview will increase your confidence in talking about yourself.