This week we’re discussing some simple steps you can take to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate jobs/internships.
If you’re a soon-to-be graduate looking to give yourself nightmares, Stephen King has nothing on job hunting statistics. To snag any given graduate role, you’re going to have to fight off thirty-eight other applicants, and that number only rises if you’re applying for a particularly competitive industry or particularly prestigious employer.
Of course, some of these competitors may quickly rule themselves out of the running with low grades, sloppy professionalism or general incompetence. But many won’t. And while polishing your CV and honing your interview technique will certainly put you ahead of less dedicated job-seekers, it won’t elevate you above people as prepared as yourself.
Luckily, there are ways to stand out from even the most experienced, conscientious and competent crowd. Using the methods below won’t guarantee you a job, but it’ll definitely up your chances.
Business student, Hsiang-Hao Chen, offers some insight (and tips) into his experience of this year’s China Fair
The China Fair is a great opportunity for you to get exposed to potential employers and acquire experience interacting with them. Effectively and efficiently visiting booths and communicating with employer representatives is key to making the best use of the event. Here are some tactics for your reference. If you find them convincing enough, I would recommend you selectively using them, mixed with your own nature, and showing the unique aspects of you. Of course you want to behave properly but you also need to be different to stand out. When using these tactics, don’t forget to be yourself as well. Continue reading
This week Beth Leslie from Inspiring Interns is talking about why you should target your CV to the job and company you’re applying for and gives some useful tips on how to go about this.
Let’s be honest, job hunting is not fun. The path to that fulfilling and high-paying career of your dreams is strewn with obstacles, from all the other applicants you have to compete against, to the fact that some job openings never get advertised.
With opportunities scarce and competition fierce, many graduates are trying to up the odds by applying to every role they come across. They bung across the same CV and cover letter, cross their fingers… and get rejected 99% of the time.
In part two of our ‘Tackling the Application Process & Being Open about Disabilities’ series, we are continuing the discussion on whether applicants should be open about their disability and what makes an application stand out.
Should I be open about my disability at the application stage?
It is your decision whether and when to be open about a disability and a careers adviser can help you to explore the pros and cons, so that you can make that decision. There are some exceptions, for example, if you have a condition like epilepsy that has health and safety implications – beyond these exceptions it is up to you.
A graduate I saw recently was advised by her friend not to be open about her disability on application forms. After numerous unsuccessful applications she decided to ignore this advice and successfully applied and got a great graduate job!
Take time to write a quality application
Research complete, you can now start writing your application. Written applications come in different formats, generally it is a covering letter and CV or an application form. Here are some general pointers:
- Application form questions are generally based on your interest in the role and organisation (commitment), competencies (skills) and personal strengths (behaviours).
- Have you researched the organisation thoroughly enough to address your interest in them and the role?
- Examine the job description: what specific skills and attributes are they looking for?
- Select recent and relevant competency examples from your university life and degree, extra-curricular activities and work experience. The ‘STAR’ approach here is an ideal way of articulating your skills.
- Quality check your letter writing etiquette – how to structure and avoid minor mistakes that will put your application in the ‘no’ pile e.g. ending your letter ‘Yours faithfully’ when writing to a named person, grammar and spelling errors. Structure, format and write your CV succinctly. You can also check our website for more information and resources on applications.
Checking before pressing send is a must! If you have a disability that affects your written communication skills (spelling and grammar) have your application checked by someone else before sending and use all the resources at your disposal.
This is now a commonly used term associated with being successful in the workplace and you will need more of this than other applicants (add link to resilience article). Legislation will support your path to employment but you cannot rely solely on it. Be persistent, curious and learn how to articulate your added value, abilities and diversity. In addition, make good use of disability services, your careers service and other support available to you.
Need further advice/guidance? Make sure to check out the resources available on our website and book an appointment to talk to us.
Careers Fairs provide a fantastic opportunity for you to meet – and learn more about – a whole range of employers, and further study opportunities, all in one place.
Our Spring Graduate Jobs & Internships Fair is taking place on 3rd May. Full details available on the fair website.
This post provides tips to help you get the most from the fair.
Before the fair
Consider what you want from the fair: This should form the foundations of your planning and will shape how you approach the fair. Giving this some consideration beforehand means you are much more likely to find the fair useful. For example, are you hoping to
- Get answers to specific questions about a particular organisation?
- Get advice on their selection processes?
- Learn more about the organisation’s culture, or what their different opportunities involve?
- Find out more about potential opportunities for the future?
- Meet people doing the job roles in which you’re interested to get further insights?
- Get inspiration about different types of opportunities or companies in which you may be interested (either now or in the future)?
- Or something else?
Find out which organisations are going to be there: And plan which you want to Continue reading
This week, Susanna from Inspiring Interns gives some useful tips for students and grads on how to prepare for the world of work, and demonstrate this to employers.
We’re in the middle of a graduate shortage. That’s right: while grads complain about how hard it is to find a job, employers are moaning about the lack of good candidates. Seems weird, right? But the problem isn’t necessarily the quality of graduates; it’s their readiness to enter the world of work.
The reality is that most students have never known real employment – a fact that many recruiters can tell from fifty paces. From STEM to arts subjects, from Russell Group to poly, graduates find the real world hard. These days, the movement from childhood to adulthood occurs not at sixteen or eighteen but with the end of university. As a result, many employers think of graduates, however much they claim otherwise, as too immature to be trusted with a job.
Here’s how you can assuage an employer’s fears and prove you’re ready to enter their world. Continue reading
Steve Bone is a Careers Consultant at Leeds University, he supports students applying for graduate opportunities and advises his careers colleagues on inclusivity. In this blog, he highlights observations of the additional challenges faced by students with disabilities and shares advice on how to overcome these. This blogpost was originally published on Myplus Students Club.
Remember, you have something extra!
When supporting students with a variety of disabilities (both physical and unseen), what strikes me is that a positive approach to the application process is key. Successful applicants reflect on their ABILITIES and articulate these positively, alongside disabilities that the employer can make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for in the workplace.
Getting through to the application stage is a challenge; have I understated this? For prospective undergraduates who are unaware of their dyslexia, it is even tougher! So when I heard that an undergraduate, unaware of his dyslexia, had managed a successful application for an internship, I wanted to know how. Continue reading