Job applications: the good, the bad and the ugly

18 October 2021

Application season is now in ‘full swing’ and whether you are applying for Spring weeks, internships, placement years or graduate jobs, we thought you might welcome some advice from some of our employer partners on how to avoid the ‘reject’ pile and stand out against sometimes the thousands of applications they receive.

So, don’t write another application until you read this…

Make it personal and individual, don’t be ‘generic’ and tell your story

Luis Piacenza, COO – Crowe Spain recommends that you catch the attention of the reader by telling your story, make it relevant though - what you do in your spare time can tell the employer about your personality and interests, but talking about your latest holiday is not what they are looking for.  Make your application visually appealing, do not overload your documents with information, so an eye-catching story in a proper format is crucial to be read in detail.

Know your industry

David Brandman, Marketing Director – Bel UK Ltd says that when preparing to write your application, it is important to be able to answer clearly why you want to work in that industry specifically. Prepare some thoughts on what you see as being the key opportunities and challenges to work on in the event that you were to be successfully recruited into that role.

‘Tailor’ your application to that specific role/function

According to one of our major employer partners in the Healthcare sector, make sure that everything you talk about in your application shows evidence of the essential skills and requirements for the role, as you need to show you have what they are looking for. Avoid ‘empty’ claims, always make sure you have an example from your experience to prove it. Also, do your research and know what you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for the Consumer Goods division, don’t talk about COVID treatments.

Show curiosity, willingness to learn, and passion for the work/sector

At this early stage in your career, you are unlikely to have a huge amount of work experience and your skills may need some development, but for many of our employer partners, attitude is so important. Demonstrating a passion for the sector, along with the enthusiasm to learn and develop your knowledge will be attractive to employers. Show how you are already developing yourself, perhaps through online courses, wider reading, or networking with relevant professionals in the sector to find out more.  

Make sure you are remembered for the right reasons

Finally, make sure that your application is remembered for the right reasons because it is relevant, personal, targeted, and concise! Luis from Crowe, Spain told us about one great intern they recruited who wrote in his application about his experience working at a hotel and that he was ‘in charge of mini-bar management’ so, in reality, he restocked the mini-bars, his profile was ‘excellent’ so they hired him but his nickname was ‘minibar’ for many years!  

We wish you every success with your applications! Remember that for current WBS students, we in the WBS Careers team are here to support you – from deciding your career options to making applications to mock interviews and assessment centre practice to help you get the right career for you. If you’d like to book an appointment with us you can do so here.