Huge congratulations to Estella for securing a role as an executive officer on the Brexit Committee. After studying law at the University of Manchester Estella decided to apply for this off-cycle internship with the Cabinet Office. We recently caught up with her to discuss her application experience and motivations for applying.
Why the Civil Service?
After studying law at university, I realised that I wanted my work to impact as many people as possible. I felt I could make a bigger difference to people’s lives by working in the Cabinet Office than I could at a legal firm. Therefore, I decided to apply to work with the Civil Service and to the Cabinet Office in particular rather than apply for a training contract. I also liked that the Civil Service promoted a healthy work-life balance.
Why this role?
My job title is that of executive officer and it was a role only available to recent graduates as an off-cycle internship. I got matched with a role on the Brexit Committee because of my history of studying EU laws at university and because in one of my interviews my interviewer and I spoke at length about Brexit. I find this role particularly exciting because, as an off-cycle internship, I will be surrounded by a fantastic support network, offered plenty of networking and also have the chance to meet a whole host of other people my age.
What was the application process like?
First, I had to register an account on the Cabinet Office’s own careers portal. To do this applicant had to have a 2.1 and have already graduated. Following this was an application form consisting of 5 different questions, each was 250 words long and based on the Civil Service’s competencies. Following this I had to undertake a situational judgement test. Finally, I was invited to an interview at the Westminster Office with two senior civil servants.
What three tips would you give to your fellow Bright Network members?
- Tailor your applications, being successful is a matter of submitting quality applications, not a huge quantity.
- Have patience, it can be disheartening having to wait a long time to hear back but just because you haven’t heard yet doesn’t mean you won’t!
- Build a good rapport with the interviewer instantly. You can do this through smiling and eye contact and knowing the interview starts as soon as you arrive so feel free to make small talk with your assessors before and after!
What was the hardest question you faced?
When have you worked with a group of people you don’t know and what actions have you taken to accommodate everyone in the group?