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Application Lessons

It’s that time of year again; the nights are getting longer, the leaves are falling from the trees, everything’s a bit colder and the graduate ‘milkround’ is in full swing. You’d be surprised how a few simple tweaks can make your application so much stronger, so I thought I’d share the most common mistakes to avoid in your campaign to find your ideal graduate job. (These are all real examples I’ve seen in the past few weeks).

  • Check your spelling and grammar. In a world where you can’t move for spellcheckers and red squiggly lines, there’s no excuse for poor spelling or grammar in your applications. The devil’s in the details, so get them right.
  • Don’t cut and paste. Last week I read an application for a graduate programme where the candidate had enthusiastically stated how much they wanted to work for this client’s key competitor (oh dear...)
  • Be humble...  It’s often tempting to be overly effusive about your skills and whilst it’s important to make the most of what you’ve got, be careful that you don’t come across as over confident or arrogant.
  • But be judicious in how you talk about your weaknesses. When asked about your areas of improvement or your weaknesses, be honest but make sure your answer shows you in the best light. Some candidates put too much focus on the area of development and not enough on how they’ve improved.
  • Don’t make false claims on your CV. It’s just not worth it, you’ll be found out. Better to make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Try to be a bit different. When asked about a time you’ve achieved something, don’t talk about your academic performance (almost everybody does this!) so think up something new, it’ll make you stand out.
  • Don’t use SHOUTY capitals. See above on spelling and grammar.
  • Be genuinely excited about the opportunity. If you’re not, then apply for something that does interest you instead, your application will be stronger.

Good luck, and, as ever, get in touch if we can help with anything, we’d be happy to talk it through.