// The Secret to Making Your Application Stand Out
by Linjie, 23rd June 2017
Securing a graduate job in the UK is easier said than done, especially if you’re an international student. With ever stricter immigration measures and the 4 month period it takes to process a Tier 2 visa, the odds are not in your favour. But you can get ahead and make the tables turn with the right strategy.
The first thing you need to do is apply early; and by early, it means that you need to send your applications a year before the intake of your desired graduate scheme. Secondly, make sure that the roles you’re applying for are within industries that sponsor Tier 2 visas. The biggest Tier 2 sponsors are the Professional Services, Investment Banking, Consulting and Law. Thirdly, you need to have a killer CV, Cover Letter and Application Form if you want to get noticed.
So how do you stand out? Here are some pointers to remember.
To Have A Killer CV, You Must:
- Keep it short and tailored to the job you’re applying for. One page (A4 size) is the standard length. Remember that recruiters browse through hundreds of CVs. As such, they spend about 10 seconds on scanning each CV. You don’t want them to skip yours if it’s too long.
- For your educational background, only provide information from up to the last three educational facilities you have attended including your secondary school. (Maximum of 3 Universities or 2 Universities and 1 Secondary School)
- For your work experience, only provide information from the last 3 or 4 jobs that you have had. Remember, doing something for less than three weeks does not constitute a job and may give the impression of you being unreliable to the employer.
- For your extracurricular activities, only provide information from the last 3 or 4 clubs/voluntary positions that you have had. Try to include activities you feel employers will be interested in and demonstrate key skills that they will require.
- Include your IT skills (Microsoft Office, Excel, etc), Languages spoken and Personal Interests so that the employer will get a glimpse of who you are outside of work.
To Have A Winning Cover Letter, You Must Follow This Format:
- The first paragraph should introduce who you are, what and where you studied and why you want to apply to the company you’re seeking employment from. Mention some key figures and research an important project they have done and how it inspired you to want to become part of their team.
- The second paragraph should talk about why you want to apply for the role you’ve chosen. Go over the job description and demonstrate your knowledge of their requirements by giving examples of situations from your work experience or extracurricular activities.
- The third paragraph should explain why you are the ideal candidate for the job. This is your chance to highlight the key skills you have that will make you an asset to the company.
To Have A Standout Application Form, You Must:
- Answer as honestly as possible. Don’t exaggerate credentials and achievements because employers will figure this out. Nobody wants to hire someone who cannot be trusted.
- Frame your answers according to the job requirements, company culture and core values. You must exert effort in showing the employers that you know the company well and what you will be doing, should they hire you.
- Keep your answers clear and concise. Lengthy answers that don’t go straight to the point will put you at a disadvantage. Main points can be done in bullet points.
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