September is prime time for graduate applications, but let’s not fall at the first hurdle right? Your initial graduate scheme application must be perfect before you hit submit. In our latest #TheBasics blog, we’re letting you know some of our best tips to get you through the first stage of the application process.

1. Study the job description

First up, you’ve got to dive into the position’s job description and fully appreciate what the role entails. Use this time to picture yourself in the position, and gauge whether you would be suited for the role. Make sure you match up to the job requirements to save yourself and the company time when looking through your application. Ultimately, if you know the role isn’t appropriate, you might be best served to find a different scheme which is the perfect match for your skill set. 

2. Research the company thoroughly

Not only should you study the job description, it’s equally as important to research the company. Once again you’ll be able to comprehend if you’re the right fit for the job but also whether the company culture is an environment in which you’d feel comfortable. You have to ask yourself if you are someone who likes a laid-back casual approach or a more corporate way of working? These are all factors to think of when getting your graduate scheme application right. 

Once you’ve decided the company is the right fit, you need to delve further into the company’s website and social media pages, read external news articles and find out as much as you possibly can to aid your application. Many graduate scheme applications will immediately put you under pressure to know your stuff about the company, there are the obvious answers which a quick google search can muster up but to really ‘wow’ prospective employers it’s great to see that an applicant has gone the extra mile to uncover extensive information relatable to the role. 

3. Read current graduate testimonials

One of the best ways to nail your application is to hear from the current crop of graduates currently enrolled on the scheme. The easiest and quickest, way to do this (unless you have inside contacts) is to read the graduate testimonials on the careers webpage. It’s a great way to get an impression of the position and what is expected, hearing from individuals who have experienced the application process first-hand. Tapping into the knowledge of existing graduates is an effective way to improve your chances of succeeding in the initial stages of the application process; however, you’d be surprised how many people choose not to read them.

4. Work out what you could bring to the company

Most application questions will be fairly generic, like what motivates you to succeed, and why you would be a good fit for the company. So, keep the mundane answers out of your application. Think about what makes you stand out from fellow applicants; you might have similar academic credentials but what gives you the edge? As soon as you know this, it’s the perfect chance to sell yourself in the application and can be a great starting point of conversation in the final stages of the recruitment process. 

5. Beware of those deadlines

Our last top tip is not to rush your application... Keep your finger on the pulse with deadlines and don’t miss out on your dream role because you had limited time to complete the application. Give yourself ample time before the closing date to fully immerse yourself in the application, and create the perfect pitch for the role. Be vigilant that many recruiters will begin to screen graduates well before the application deadline. Many organisations will close their vacancies early once an application threshold has been reached. Your dream position may not be advertised as long as you expected, so be sure to apply within sufficient time of the closing date.

That’s all from us in the latest of our #TheBasics series. We hope these tips will prove helpful in getting you past the first stage of graduate scheme applications.

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