Are students lazy when applying for jobs?

Recent feedback from employers is that many students are performing poorly at the application stage. Why is this?

Employers say

There is generally a lack of interest and care and attention.

  • Poor spelling.
  • Bad grammar.
  • Entire questions left blank.
  • Answers inappropriately cut and pasted from other applications.

They put it down to lazyness!

Students say

  • The forms are too long – we don’t have the time to fill them in.
  • The questions are too difficult.
  • Why isn’t there a standard application form that can be used for all companies so we can do it once and sent it off to all of them?

The reality is

No one wants to spend hours (days!) filling in applications, but employers have the jobs and if you want one you have to jump through their hoops.

Employers are picky about little things like following instructions, spelling and grammar for a reason.  Who wants an employee that can’t do what they are told and has to have all their work checked?

Employers have different needs and like to focus on these in their application forms. Although many are similar they want you to make the effort to convince them that you REALLY want to work for them not their competitors or any old job that comes along.

Applications for placements tend to be of a higher standard than those submitted for graduate jobs. One possible reason is the timing. If you try to cram all your career planning, jobsearch and applications into first semester in your final year its pretty certain that you are going to be pushed for time.

Job applications simply take time and energy that sometimes you just don’t have, so here are a few things you can do to make life a little easier.

If you are not in your final year yet get started in 2nd semester – it’s usually much quieter.  You can ask questions, get advice, start researching employers and generally get prepared for the graduate job market.  If you are reading this blog then you are obviously ahead of the game – do your mates a favour and get them up to speed with the facts!

Be realistic. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs you are not really interested in – it will show in your application.

Spell and grammar check your work – it really does matter.

There are techniques you can learn to help you answer application questions. Why not attend one of our talks and workshops on CVs and applications or find out more online.

If you are struggling with an application – get some help.

  • Talk to a friend who knows you well – they may be able to help you identify a good example ‘of a time when….’
  • Use the Careers Service – information staff may be able to answer a quick question or if you need someone to look at a full application or CV then use the Quick Query drop in sessions.

Tempted to cut and paste from old applications?

Keep a copy of all your past applications together with the job descriptions so that you remember exactly what it was you were applying for.

  • Consider carefully if an example you have used on a previous application can be used again – is the context of the question exactly the same?
  • If you are recycling an application question and have mentioned the company name make sure you put the right one in!
  • Think about applications that were not successful – consider why, don’t make the same mistakes again.

There are enough reasons an employer can find not to give you a job based on your grades and experience so don’t give them an easy ride  – get the basics right.


One Response to Are students lazy when applying for jobs?

  1. Nic says:

    It beggars belief that people would be so lax with their applications, especially now! Finding graduate opportunities can be quite the challenge, the least you owe yourself is to take the application seriously.

    It can help you can get someone else to spell-check your application after you’ve done it. Fresh eyes can spot all sorts that you may have missed.

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