Application tips from graduate recruiters…

An event last week for careers advisers focused on careers that Humanities graduates go into.  The clear message is that 70 per cent of graduate vacancies are open to any degree subject so there are lots of opportunities to apply for.   While those with a Humanities degree may need to dig a little deeper to make the connection between what they’ve studied and what they’re applying for, it can be done.  For instance, critical awareness and the ability to assimilate a lot of information quickly are just two of relevant skills you’re likely to have developed during your degree.  A particularly sought after skill, particularly in the current economic climate, is the ability to problem solve. 

Representatives from Aldi and the Co-operative Group, both big graduate recruiters, gave some  great tips on making a winning application.  They stressed that there’s no point making lots of applications if they aren’t of a high quality and tailored to the position applied for.

An essential starting point is to find out about the employer and study what they are looking for in an applicant – you’d be surprised at the number of applicants who don’t do this.  Look closely at your experience – in and outside of university – and see what connections you can make between what you’ve done and what you’re applying for.  If you do this exercise soon enough and you may be able to address any gaps.

Check for spelling and grammar.  If this isn’t your strong point, get a trusted friend to look over your application for you.  For general feedback you can use our ‘quick query’ service (call into the Careers Resource Centre on Booth Street East or phone 0161 275 2829 on the day you want to be seen).

Demonstrating commercial awareness in an application is important.   This means showing an understanding that businesses don’t operate in a vacuum but are affected by economic and industry developments.  You can do this by keeping up with business news, reading company reports and sector up-dates.

Look out for internships, increasingly employers use them as a  way of recruiting people into graduate positions.  If  you don’t get a chance to do an internship, don’t overlook the importance of drawing on experience with student societies, part-time and voluntary work, gap year experience and so on, to evidence your skills and experience.  For ideas, see our website.

When you’ve done all this, don’t delay sending off your application.   Because of the high volume of applications, some graduate recruiters are bringing forward their closing dates and assessing applications as they come in.

This autumn there will be lots of employers coming into the university to give presentations.  This is a great way to meet them face to face and find out what they’re looking for.  Check the Careers Service website for details at the start of the new semester.


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