Grad schemes are hyper competitive as they offer a gateway to a high level career with the training and development to match. Once again it’s that time of year when graduates should be sending out their applications and in this age where more candidates than ever are applying. The old wisdom of perfecting your CV’s and getting good grades are no longer sufficient. Exclusively for our readers, here are some unorthodox inside tips to get noticed.
Match the application documents to the work culture of the firm.
Every company, deliberately or not has its own culture. Some firms like traditional, rigid approach and monochrome transitional CVs. Every application should match the culture of the employer as closely as possible. Think company colours, method of application, all the way to the language used. What type of vocabulary is used? What tone does the company strike? What is the corporate font of choice? How do the senior company members refer to themselves? Are they partners? Vice presidents? Senior executive vice presidents?
Use Linkedin to find your ‘targets’
Linkedin is an incredibly powerful modern platform for job applications. It offers a wealth of information on the specific names and identities of the people that will be looking at your application. These people need to be researched. If you really want this graduate scheme then you have to be hungry for it and leave nothing to chance. You should research the name, educational background and work profile of every hiring manager found at your chosen firm. Use this information to match the application style to their personal taste. Also, send them a connection request, let them know that you have applied and write them a passionate and strong, professional message about how much you want this position. Ask for tips for writing your application and if you like something on their profile send them a sincere compliment or comment on their work.
Know all the subtle nuances of the application system
Many companies use their own sophisticated systems on websites to process applications and find the best candidates. Before applying through this system you should use the advice in points 1 and 2 to find out as much as possible about this process. If the system uses short video clips you need to ensure you apply through a device with a high definition web camera. You need to be in a very well lit area dressed in attire complementary to the uniform and work culture of the company. If the process allows 30 seconds for each video clip, then practice answering questions to this time limit. Research everything you can about the system and prepare fully for each point. The more you break the process down the more better the odds of nailing the application.
Apply through multiple methods
Just because the company require candidates to apply through their system it doesn’t mean that the old fashioned CV is redundant. Once you have tailored the CV and a passionate covering letter to the colours, style and work culture of the company you should print it out on high quality paper and mail it to the hiring manager. The CV should ideally be just one page although if you need another page be sure to completely fill it and not go over 2 pages. The covering letter should be around two thirds of one page. When doing this it is important to remember that the image is everything. Use the most expensive postage method that you can afford on high quality stationary. Print the documents with a laser printer to avoid those nasty inkjet streaks. If you don’t have one then you can easily use one at your university or local library. Then, to get attention use a wax seal (can be bought cheaply off of eba such as the one we found here; E.g https://www.nooneliterecruitment.com/seal) A high quality application with something unusual as a wax seal creates novelty and sticks in the memory of the staff at the company. When using a wax seal I recommend getting a stamp made with your initials, ideally, in the company font. These tweaks may seem incremental, however, everything you can do to stand out will increase your likeliness of getting noticed and earning your position at interview. While its possible that all solid candidates will write a good application. Far less will take the initiative for something as unusual of posting a physical copy of their cv with customised stationery.
Don’t compromise. Spend all your time on the schemes you ideally want. Don’t bother with secondary level applications.
Rather than apply for a couple of dream jobs then quickly apply for others, focus all your time and energy on getting your ideal position. Applications are either 100% successful or unsuccessful and as such it is statistically more efficient to put all your effort in a great application than multiple mediocre applications that will automatically get discarded.
Preparing a good application takes a great amount of time and effort. Such is the aim of applying for a job as candidates are being offered an incredible opportunity and it is only reasonable for them to work extremely hard to get it. While there is no substitute for consistent, hard work resulting in a solid skillset and great qualifications, those alone are not enough and combining the tips mentioned above with great substance will maximise your chances of getting that interview.