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How to Differentiate in a Competitive Environment

 

As a recent graduate, it’s fair to say that I’ve become a bit of an expert in applying for graduate jobs. While the process is exciting, at times it can feel overwhelming. You’re in your final year, juggling your dissertation with job applications and coming to terms with the fact that in a few months, the university bubble will burst and will be replaced with a full-time job. And of course, you want to kick-start your career with a great company. To increase my prospects, I knew it was crucial to apply early and so I began my hunt in September. The minute I heard graduate schemes were open, I applied.

After sifting through endless lists of job postings and checking job board after job board, I had submitted around 30 applications by March. Nearly, all my university’s careers service knew me by name as I attended as many workshops, mock interviews and employer-led events as possible. I also began to network with recent graduates at careers fairs.

But the more applications I submitted, the harder I found it to stay motivated. Having spent hours completing application forms, practicing online tests and polishing cover letters only to hear nothing from the company – or worse still, finding that they had scrapped their graduate scheme – made the process far more difficult.

Thankfully, I did apply to some great companies that were extremely supportive. Here are a couple of things that I found made a real difference during the application process.

 

Communication

While a vast number of companies offer graduate schemes, there are only so many that you can apply for. When you’ve narrowed down the list and applied for a role, it’s reassuring to know that your application has been received and is appreciated. What happens after is just as important. As well as being told what the next steps are, it’s far more helpful when employers give you meaningful feedback so that you can improve your next application rather than, being completely put off from applying again!

 

Connecting recent grads to prospective candidates

Although the careers section of a company’s website can provide some useful information, let’s face it, they can be pretty dull. Having a Q&A session with some recent graduates during one of my assessment centres allowed me to talk to someone who had already experienced the process, find out more about the company culture and learn other nuggets of information like where the best places were for lunch.

 

Support during the application process

It was extremely frustrating when I had a query about my application or needed some clarification but had no way to contact the company. Even when they did, they often took several days to respond. Having a dedicated Facebook page for graduates, an email address or a live chat were often the best ways to ask questions throughout the application process, no matter how big or small.

 

Content/Resources

Company resources such as blog posts, social media and Youtube videos played a central role in my applications. They not only allowed me to tailor my application and understand a company’s core values but provided a real insight into projects graduates had been involved in. This encouraged me to preserve with my applications as I wanted to experience the same exciting opportunities previous graduates had received.

It’s interesting to share my experiences of applying for jobs as a recent graduate as it’s not often we’re given the choice to provide feedback. I’ve been sharing more of my experiences in a few short videos on the Meet & Engage Linkedin Page so be sure to give them a watch if you found this interesting!

 

To find out more about how Meet & Engage can support you with your recruitment processes, feel free to email info@meetandengage.

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