“You better check yo self before you wreck yo application”

I was planning on writing a whole blog post changing the lyrics to Ice Cube’s ‘Check Yo Self’ to focus on application techniques, but I realised after the first line that I’d probably get sacked…

However as I’ve been on my travels lately around London meeting organisations coming onto campus in 2013-14 and people who are recruiting right now the same old stuff about applications I’ve heard every year since I started in this role is coming up again.

Spelling it out…

A major International Law Firm I met yesterday told me their hiring partners would like to veto any application that has a single spelling mistake. The recruiter I spoke to said they advised against this as they wouldn’t hire anyone, but they would rather see someone with a 2.1 degree and perfect spelling than someone with a First Class degree who litters their application with spelling errors. Perfect spelling and accuracy show not only a skill, but also that you want the job enough to give a damn about the application.

It isn’t only suits that need tailoring…

A small tech start up I met on the same day (I’ve been busy!), said the biggest thing they’ve seen when recruiting for interns this summer is the CV or covering letter bearing no relation to the job advertised.  The recruiter I spoke to said she had seen a huge number of ‘blanket’ applications – e.g. ones that have little about what is being applied for.

The blanket application is the best way to go if you are looking to help a recruiter make a quick decision about your future at their company, so if you want to make it harder for them spend some time tailoring your application form.

Not answering the question…

Another thing I’ve heard lately, and this again is a problem with the blanket approach, is the amount of Covering Letters and Supporting Statements which are just a few lines saying “I believe I am the best candidate for this role” or something equally lame. The covering letter/statement is your chance to showcase some of the great experiences you have and how they relate to the job description. It doesn’t have to be a huge essay, but you have to hit the marks in the job description and demonstrate how you would be an ideal fit.

Next steps…

Careers & Enterprise have a team of people who can check your application (with enough notice!) so call up on 020 7882 8533 to book an appointment.

If you aren’t quite ready for some scrutiny and want some simple tips we have a huge section of resources on our website: spend some time looking at them and absorbing, and then get on and write your application.

Good luck.

James Weaver
Employer Engagement Manager

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