I’ve Employed Over 550 UTS Students, and Here’s Where Applicants Go Wrong

By Georgina Barratt-See

I employ 116 people. 116 student leaders. Yes, that’s 116 this semester. And yes, they all report to me.

Hi, I’m the Manager of the U:PASS program at UTS, which supports 60 early stage subjects with study sessions, run by trained student leaders, typically in upper years of university.

Since I started at UTS in 2008, I’ve hired over 550 students and interviewed over 1200, if not more (crazy, I know!). That means I’ve done a lot of recruitment. These are some of the things I’ve learnt from interviewing UTS students:


The vast majority of resumes I read need work.  Most uni students seem to think that their resume is good enough, because I advise them to go to UTS:Careers and get it checked out before the interview, and most don’t.

Read more: Looking for a Job? Here’s Where to Look

Most resumes are not good enough. They don’t showcase talent well, they aren’t written in an engaging way that creates a good impression, they aren’t formatted professionally, and they often contain typos – some of which are pretty bad.  Don’t be the person that turns up with a badly prepared resume that doesn’t showcase you.


If you haven’t got any formal work experience, then tell me about the other things you’ve been doing. I get it: you’re (often) 18 or 19, you may not have been able to work casually in high school. Don’t dismiss your skills that you’ve gained at school, at university, in the community, in your extra-curricular activities.

For most student leaders straight out of high school, I’m looking as much for potential as for actual employment. Don’t sell yourself short – you have value and worth and you can consult UTS:Careers to help showcase it.


Most leaders are nervous in the interview. No, actually, ALL leaders are nervous. Interviewing is an innately stressful situation – and I get that.  In our interviews, we ask potential leaders to speak in front of other candidates and the panel, and we ask them to prepare something. The ones that are successful don’t have to be the most confident, the most articulate – they just need to show they care about U:PASS, they care about the students and they want to give back.  And they need to be able to show us that through the way they talk and their behaviour in the interview.

Read more: No Experience? No Problem! 3 Tips to Boost Your Job Search When You’re Just Starting Out


Being unprepared is a massive no-no. Be really careful to read the requirements for the interview. I ask potential leaders to bring their resume, but it’s amazing how many don’t, or only have it electronically. Make sure you prepare what the interviewer requests. Write yourself notes if you think you won’t remember.


Be on time. I know it’s a cliché, but I can’t possibly trust that you’ll be on time to your class if you can’t be on time to the interview. Don’t be late: just don’t.  I remember when I came for my interview at UTS I got here an hour early and sat in the carpark.  This is not the time to be held to ransom by the vagaries of the public transport system.


So there you have it – some of my top tips!


Georgina Barratt-See has over 18 years’ experience in student support in higher education, and is coming up to her 9th anniversary of working at UTS. She loves working with UTS students to develop their potential to be active, engaged, well-rounded future professionals and leaders.


Featured image courtesy of Pexels.


Author: Guest Contributor

Share This Post On