Graduate job application

After graduating from university, it is natural to want to begin your job search. Graduate positions can offer fantastic opportunities and get you a foot in the door of a company that you would love to work for. But many graduates make mistakes when they apply for these jobs, and often it can cost them a chance at getting the position. Here are six common mistakes that graduate candidates make when they apply for jobs. 

They don’t proofread their application

You might be surprised at just how many graduate applications will spend hours and hours writing out the perfect application – but then failing to proofread it. You might think that a few spelling mistakes here and there won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but this is not the way that employers will see it.

When an employer looks at a graduate application and sees mistakes, it is an indicator that they don’t have strong attention to detail. And when this is something that can be so easily fixed, it should never be a mistake that costs you a job. 

They apply for too many jobs

It is a very common issue that in trying to land a position, graduates will cast their net too wide, and apply for just about every single opportunity they see. The problem with this approach is that you won’t have the time to tailor your application to the role. And generic applications are unlikely to win anyone over.

You need to ensure that you are spending at least a reasonable amount of time customising the application for the role. 

…Or they apply for too few

Of course, the opposite is also a problem. Some graduates will prefer to wait it out for the perfect role and then spend hours crafting the ideal application. And while this will undoubtedly give you a better chance of getting a position, it is also important to note that for any graduate role, competition will be high. Research suggests that only 1% of graduates applying for schemes within finance, advertising, professional services and major retailers were hired in 2018

Spending many hours on your application may not make your application stand out any more than if you were to just make some alterations to a good base application. 

They disregard whole industries (or specialise too much) 

Many graduates focus their search on a specific industry, perhaps believing that it is very important for them to get a position in their dream industry as soon as possible – or wanting to stay close to their subject at university. However, this can lead to them disregarding many other industries that could be a great fit for them.

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) is a dynamic and varied industry that is sometimes overlooked by graduates. And this is just one of many that graduates may be able to find a role that suits them within. 

They don’t learn interview techniques

Graduates much understand how to get the most out of an interview. And there are many techniques that you need to understand in order to do so. The importance of the first impression is certainly something to be aware of – and it is also important that you should show an interest in the role. Have follow-up questions to ask at the end of the interview. 

They don’t know the company well enough

It should be obvious, but it is vital that graduates do plenty of research into the company that they are applying to. This is not only important because it helps you to understand the business and what you are going to be doing, but because it gives you a better understanding of how to interview for the role.

If you know the priorities and vision of the company, you can tailor your application and interview around them. This shows the employer that you have gone the extra mile. 

Final thoughts

These mistakes are common, but they are easy to fix. Take your time to research the company and the position before you apply and remember to ensure that it is proofread!

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