Top tips for graduate job applications

Kimberley Watson

Kimberley Watson

Head of Early Careers

18 August 2023

So, you’ve finished university, and you’re ready for your next chapter – a graduate job!

Finding the right graduate scheme and securing a place can feel challenging. Luckily, we’re here to help with advice from the experts themselves: our very own graduate students. So, read on for our top tips for graduate scheme success.

Keep all relevant documents and personal information that you will need for each application, in one folder. 

Alistair Buist, Audit Senior, suggests:

Fill out your answers to application forms in Word first, rather than in the form given, and then copy and paste your answers when you're happy. Word will give you a spellcheck, word count and backup if the form crashes (which happened to me more times than I would like on some websites!).

Also, keep all the relevant documents and personal information you will need for each application in one folder on your laptop/phone. It saves a lot of time having things scanned and written down to be easily copy/pasted into a form or email to the recruiter when the time comes, and will potentially result in your application being submitted more quickly. Time is key too, as application windows can open and close quickly, so make sure you keep your eye on the ball.

Lastly, stay positive – applying for your first position can involve a lot of forms, questionnaires, online assessments and interviews, which can feel endless. However, if you see each step as a learning process, the next will feel easier and easier.

Emphasise your skills and experience that are relevant to the job description.

Grant Joss, Tax Assistant, says:

Keep it relevant. It’s very easy when completing a job application to churn out every little bit of experience you’ve ever had but this isn’t an effective use of your time.

When competing alongside hundreds of other candidates it’s important to grab the employer’s attention. This means emphasising the skills and experience that are relevant to the job description. Most vacancies will typically include a blurb detailing what the employer is asking for and within this there will be specific words and phrases that are used to describe their ideal candidate. When completing your application make a conscious effort to reference these and tie them back to your previous experiences.

This can feel difficult for those who are applying for jobs in sectors they have not studied in before. Even if you don’t have an accountancy or finance background, you’ll still have numerous skills which are transferrable into that profession. Being able to identify these and link them with the job description is important. One specific, well thought-out application is likely to stand out much more than 10 generic applications.

 Take time to research the organisation and role which you are applying for.

Michelle Waugh, Restructuring Case Administrator, states:

When applying for graduate jobs it’s tempting just to cut and paste generic information from one application to the next and apply for as many roles as possible, but I’d recommend taking the time to research the organisation and role you are applying for. Use this information to firstly hone in on which roles actually interest you, and secondly to tailor your application to both the organisation and role.

Our graduate programme

Ready to put these top tips to good use? Applications for our 2024 graduate programme are now open.

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