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Application Do's and Don'ts

By Jessica Marshall on Fri 02 March 2018 in Placement Blog

To round off my recruitment experience, I thought it’s only right to impart my pearls of wisdom when it comes to applying for placements! So, here are my top do’s and don’ts when submitting placement applications…

ProspectSoft have been repeatedly recognised as a leading employer, being awarded numerous times for its placement scheme, and have been recruiting placement students since 2003! Since implementing the scheme, they’ve realised the fresh, positive impact students have on the company. Placements who’ve returned show just how important a placement year with ProspectSoft can be, with 8 now being in management or director positions. 

With this being said, it’s been a massive privilege to manage the recruitment process this year as a placement student myself. It’s strange to be on the ‘other side’ of the application process, as I’ve been through it all before from the student’s perspective. This process has not only opened my eyes to the competitive world of applications, but to a whole range of skills which I can take forward with me in my personal development. I’ve read hundreds of CVs and Cover Letters, and completed many telephone interviews. I’ve also organised the Assessment Centre for this years’ candidates, and I’m looking forward to organising a Familiarisation Day at the office for the successful candidates!

To round off my recruitment experience, I thought it’s only right to impart my pearls of wisdom when it comes to applying for placements! I’ve seen so many different applications – from the good, to the not so good, to the ugly! So, here are my top do’s and don’ts when submitting placement applications…

Do personalise your covering letter! It’s great in your application when you show your interest in the company and why you want to work for that company in particular.

Don’t include another company name! This is a big no-no and you definitely won’t get a second look if you leave in another company name in your application. Attention to detail is key, and leaving obvious errors in your application is just careless!

Do include any sports, interests, hobbies and awards/certifications in your application. This will help you demonstrate qualities and skills you’ve gained outside of your studies, ultimately helping you stand out from the crowd.

Don’t put things in your application which aren’t applicable to the job role you’re applying for. You need the most relevant experience, skills and interests to make it valuable in your CV or covering letter.

Do include as much detail as possible which adds value to your application. If you're worried about being unexperience, a skill based CV might be perfect for you. It can demonstrate skills you've learned over the years from your hobbies, interests, sports and education. 

Don’t tell a story about your life! Employers are looking for you to sell yourself in a short, concise manner. It’s great to see where your passion for the industry came from, but keep it brief and link back to the job role and company.

Do use a simplistic layout for your CV and Covering Letter. Make it easy for the employer to read by using appropriate titles, sectioning and a clear font with appropriate sizing.

Don’t bullet point too much in your CV or covering letter. You may think this method will get to the point, however sometimes it can be more difficult to interpret your skills and how you applied them. It’s better to use full yet concise sentences explaining your experiences and skills and linking to the job role. For example, ‘Serving customers’ as a bullet point on its own doesn’t tell us much. Instead, show the employer what you gained from this. It could be along the lines of ‘from this role, I gained excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to work in teams successfully due to continuously working with colleagues to provide a good service, understand customer needs and hit sales targets’.

Do name your files accordingly. If the employer requires you to upload a file or attach a document such as your CV, you should name it correctly so it can be linked to your application. I’ve seen many different names for files such as ‘CV main’ or ‘Final copy of CV’, or even files with the wrong company name in – make sure you get this right and including your name gives it a professional touch.

Don’t forget to remove any colours in your CV and Covering Letter. This shows the employer that you just replaced fields with the company name and job role title. In doing this, the employer can see your application is not personalised, and may realise that what you’re actually saying is very generic and can be applied to any company. The message is simple – keep it creative if you wish, but check those finer details before you submit.

Do provide names of your references. It’s fine to put ‘available on request’, but detailing a couple of names and titles of people will help the employer get in contact with them more easily. It also shows that you’ve prepared well, as you’ll have needed their permission in the first place to put them on your CV.

Don’t lie in your application. You will likely be caught out anyway as an employer will undoubtedly question experiences and skills within your application at different points within their application process.

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