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The Turn Ons & Turn Offs of Placement Applications

By Beth Williams on Wed 03 February 2021 in Placement Blog

Follow Beth's tips to ensure your prospective employer falls madly in love with your placement application! 

Hi there! My name’s Beth and I’m one of ProspectSoft’s new Marketing Placements. Since starting my new role back in November, I’ve been involved in lots of exciting projects - one of which is managing the recruitment process for ProspectSoft’s next intake of placements - alongside our Head of Marketing, Jess! 

Having been involved in this aspect of the role for around 2 months now, I’ve really been able to understand the recruitment process from the employer’s perspective - something which I wasn’t previously exposed to during my time at University.

It’s been both an exciting and rewarding experience. One of the most enjoyable parts of my time as a recruiter has got to be seeing candidates progress from the initial application stage right through to getting that dream placement offer! The process of applying to placements can be tough, so seeing an applicant go from strength to strength during the process is extremely rewarding. 

Having screened 100s of applications and conducted plenty of telephone interviews, it’s safe to say that I’ve learnt a lot over the past 2 months. Now that our recruitment process is coming to an end (just 2 days to go until applications close!) - and with Valentine’s Day fast approaching – I can’t think of a better time to share what are, in my opinion, the ultimate Placement Application Turn Ons and Turn Offs…

So – if you’re currently in the process of applying for placements, make sure you follow these tips to ensure your prospective employer falls madly in love with your application!

Get Ready, Get Set – Research! 

Creating a stand-out placement application is by no means light work. You’ve got to be willing put in the time and effort required to make your application shine. But trust me – it’s without a doubt time well spent. Think about it – the time spent crafting the perfect placement application could be the difference between a year in industry vs. a year without that invaluable work experience.

Whether you’ve just started applying for placements or you’ve applied to way too many to count, the importance of tailoring your application to the company you’re hoping to secure a placement with can’t be reiterated enough. In my opinion, a well-tailored application is most definitely the #1 placement application turn on…so – don’t underestimate the power of research. 

You know the drill - you’re scrolling through the RMP website viewing their incredible range of life-changing placements, and BAM – you’ve found your perfect placement. You click Apply Here and submit the same CV & cover letter you’ve sent to 40 other companies – that should do it, right? Wrong!

Expecting a recruiter not to see through a generic application is like expecting compliments from a sibling – it’s just not happening. So, it’s safe to say that the #1 placement application turn off is generic applications. But don’t worry – I’ve got more than a few tips to help you avoid this major application turn off.

First and foremost, one of the best ways to tailor your application is to get digging – that’s right, dust off that keyboard and put those detective skills to good use. Start with the company website and pick out key details that you can include in your cover letter. Has the company you’re applying to recently won a series of awards? Having won RMP’s NUE Awards a staggering 8 times now, it’s surprising if this isn’t mentioned in a standout cover letter addressed to us!

Secondly, find information about the company’s mission, who their core target market is and their key values. Including this information in your application, alongside describing your key skills, is sure to wow any recruiter. It’s very impressive when an applicant has clearly gone above and beyond to find out extra details about the company. And this isn’t a hard task…you’d be hard pushed to find a company these days who don’t have a blog, YouTube channel or even a TikTok account (ok maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the gist!). Utilise these channels to find out all you can about your prospective employer, and you’ll be well on your way to featuring in, or even writing, their future blogs!

And don’t stop there! Feeling brave? You could even connect with current employees on LinkedIn, drop them a message – keeping it short and sweet – asking about the role or even the recruitment process in general. I did this during my own placement search - once I saw ProspectSoft’s Marketing Placement I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss! Determined to secure my ideal placement, I connected with the current Marketing Placement at the time, Abi, and asked for any advice she had regarding the recruitment process. Reaching out to a recruiter really helps showcase your interest in the company and can also highlight your ability to network effectively.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it… 

Now, let’s talk about skills. Articulating that you’ve got the essential skills required for the role you’re applying for is extremely important. Organised, friendly, and hard working? Make sure you can prove it! Placement application turn on #2 has got to be when an applicant makes clear links between the skills required and the skills they possess. Ensuring you can back up your points is key - be sure to succinctly describe how you’ve gained certain skills and what they’ve helped you achieve both at University and in the working world.

So, you won’t be surprised to hear that turn off #2 has to be when applicants don’t mention the skills or attributes we’re looking for at all, or – arguably worse, claim to have certain skills but give no evidence to back this up. Not mentioning the skills required for the role also shows a lack of attention to detail; it’ll leave the recruiter wondering whether you even read the job description! 

The Icing on the Cover Letter...

So now we’ve established just how important doing your research and tailoring your application is, let’s move on to the finer details that’ll make your application stand out. To give yourself the best chance possible in getting to the next stage of the recruitment process, you’ve got to include all the necessary components in your application. Much like making a Victoria Sponge, forget the all-important icing sugar or strawberries, and what you’re left with is fairly bland, average cake – or in this case, a really boring application. 

The same goes for CVs & cover letters as with making a cake, don’t forget the finishing touches! With this in mind, application turn on #3 is when applicants address their cover letter to someone in the company, or even more impressively - the recruitment manager. This may sound like a small detail, but it really shows that you’ve gone above and beyond to convey your interest in the company. As you may be beginning to realise, it all links back to the key task; research. 

In terms of attention to detail, turn on #4 is good spelling and grammar throughout your application. Make sure you double and triple check your application, as overlooking these things will often lead to a straight rejection. 

And last but certainly not least, application turn on #5 is definitely a well laid out CV/cover letter. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-presented application! It’s better to space out your CV onto two pages rather than cram everything onto one. This not only makes it difficult for the recruiter to read, but is also a major turn off - especially if you’re applying for a marketing or design-based role. 

So, now that you’re aware of the major placement application turn ons/turn offs, you should be more than equipped to create a show-stopping placement application!

Better yet - take a look at our awesome roles available in Tech & Dev here and craft the perfect application…our Technical recruitment manager, Tim Bebbington, will likely find it difficult not to fall in love with your application!

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