Grad Scheme Application Tips

In General

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For many third year students the time has come in which many of you will be researching and applying for, and hopefully receiving an offer for, graduate jobs! Getting any job is a tough call, but as students from the University of Southampton you’ve got a lot going for you, and hopefully after reading this you will have all the tips to help you earn a place on a great graduate scheme.

What have you studied and how does it relate to the role?

The first time echoes what has just been said – you are students at a Russell Group university, so make the most of that! When applying for any graduate scheme give the employer details about what you studied. Just saying your degree is not normally enough, be specific about the modules that you studied, what you learn, and how this will come in useful at the company you want to work for. Employers can also learn about you as a person this way; you can explain why you selected the modules that you did.

What can  you offer as a person that will help with the role?

This brings us on to the next point, which is showing the employer that you are actually a person and not just a set of grades. Show them that you have interests and hobbies, whether it’s a popular one like going to the gym or something a little more niche like cake decorating. Most importantly, make sure you link the qualities you need for the hobbies back to the skills required for the job. It’s good to make clear that these hobbies will not take up any time whilst you are at work, but by showing your potential employers that you will be doing outside of work gives you some character. It will also give you something to talk about should you get interviewed, and you can almost certainly relate skills from your hobbies to the workplace.

Make it personal

Next, you need to know your employer! Having a generic covering letter is fine, but companies get so many of them! Try to personalise your correspondence as much as possible and explain why you would fit in with that company. Doing some research will go a long way, even basic details such as a few key figures in the company or any other sites they have is useful. Knowing about their competitors is also crucial; you are likely to be asked about their position in the market place.

What sets you apart from other applicants?

When applying for a graduate scheme, it’s also important to know that you’ll be up against hundreds of other candidates, many of whom would be equally deserving of the graduate job. Because of this, you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. This can be achieved by listing all of the different experience you have in the sector. Employers love knowing that you’ve been active in the same sector, it shows you are genuinely interested in it and have a good work ethic. Say what you did there, what you gained from it and how it is relevant to the role –  not just what your role was.

The Union can also provide an invaluable resource for those of you who are applying for jobs. Our very own in-house recruitment agency SURecruit can provide lots of help in looking for short term work while you study. This will give you excellent experience and shows you have great time management. Moreover, the University offer some excellent career services, from regular drop in sessions with Careers Advisers to internship opportunities both throughout term and in the holidays, so be sure to check those out via SUSSED. Now you’ve got a list of hints and tips, go back to that CV and see if you can change anything to show these things off, hopefully the end result will be you having a job offer!

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