Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Looking for a way to get ahead of the crowd when applying for grad schemes and internships next year? Senior Project Manager, Katy Phillips, has offers some key advice to stand out from the competition in a positive way when putting together applications.

As a team, we view thousands of applications each year from students looking to attend our events. Because spaces are limited and demand high, we ask each candidate to submit a CV and a 200 word paragraph on why they want to attend. This is a great opportunity to practice the key skills needed when applying for jobs and placements later in the year and also gives us an insight into the applicant and whether they’re a good fit.  

 Here are my top five tips on how to put together an application that’s memorable for the right reasons!

1. Spelling
     This is number 1 for a reason! I simply cannot put enough emphasis on how important spelling, punctuation and grammar are. An application is a first introduction to you and first impressions count! Make sure you proofread in addition to using spell check to look for any auto-correct errors such as ‘from’ being auto-corrected to ‘form’.

2. Attention to detail
Most application forms will ask for key information, and you can be sure this is for a good reason! All our events ask for a CV which is 2 sides of A4 and contains details of your latest grades. When you’re competition is high, attention to detail about seemingly small matters like this can go a long way!

3. Check the criteria
You wouldn’t believe how many boys tried their luck at applying for our female only events last year, or those who spent time on tests and questions for the Undergraduate of the year awards only to be told that they didn’t fit the criteria outlined on the initial website. Reading this through before you apply could save you a lot of time, and also tell you exactly what the recruiters are looking for, allowing you to really tailor your application. This brings us nicely to…

4. Sell yourself
I’m yet to come across an application that doesn’t offer an opportunity to write a little about yourself and why you wish to apply. This is your opportunity to display passion, knowledge and drive to the reviewer. Your text should always be tailored to the opportunity you’re applying to. If it’s a job, write why the company and the role interests you, if it’s an event, look at which companies are attending and explain a little about what it was which sparked your interest. Try to use as much of the word count (if given) as possible and avoid one sentence answers like ‘I want to apply because it looks like a good opportunity’, we know it’s a great opportunity, but why do you think so?

5.Ask the experts
Websites like TARGETjobs are great for gaining ideas and advice on what to include on your CV, and perfecting more complicated employer application forms. There’s a plethora of information available if you take the time to look for it, for example here:

Applications for our autumn series of events are open now and I’m sure if you follow the advice above you’ll be well on your way to the next stage, which for us involves a telephone interview - but that’s another blog…