Struggling to put together a killer application for a school leaver programme? These eight tips might be just what the doctor ordered…
1. Research, research, research.
You should have a good idea about what the company does and who they are. Read as much as you can about their school leaver programme. From all this research, you should have an idea about what they are expecting from applicants. Draw up a list of competencies they are looking for and make sure you demonstrate them through your application form, cover letter or CV. Think about what you can offer them, not just what they can offer you.
2. Tailor your school leaver application
Snip out any parts of your application that aren’t relevant to the company and the programme - don't just send out a generic application to every school leaver programme you're appying for! Find out what is different about the scheme and the employer and make sure you convey an appreciation of that in your application. Recruiters want to know that you’d be a good fit for their company and their school leaver programme, not that you just want a job with anyone (even if that is the case).
3. Check your application thoroughly.
Read it through out loud to make sure it makes sense, cutting out any unnecessary words to ensure it isn’t too long. Go through it with a (metaphorical) fine-tooth comb to tease out any typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Don't trust a spell checker alone to do the work for you - there are errors that slip through!
4. Pay attention to your writing style.
Odds on, they’ll be looking for good communicators; something you can show through your writing. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little: sticking to formulaic, boring sentences and phrases in your application form will hardly grab their attention. Keep it formal, but don’t be afraid to inject a little bit of your personality.
5. Commercial Awareness
No one’s expecting you to have a business brain to rival Sir Alan Sugar’s, but being able to demonstrate basic commercial awareness in your application is a huge advantage. By commercial awareness, we mean having an understanding of the business world and being able to look at things from a commercial perspective.
Try using buzzwords in your school leaver programme application. Buzzwords mean two things: one is using positive verbs that showcase various skills and qualities; the other is the words that recruiters will type into job application scanning software to find suitable people for a role. Don't use so many that your application starts to sound unnatural, but a healthy smattering here and there is likely to boost your chances of impressing.
7. Read the questions thoroughly
When completing a job application form, make sure you read the questions thoroughly and provide answers that are relevant to the questions. Answer the question fully, but try to keep your responses succinct and concise. Cut out any superfluous phrases and words and try and keep your answers interesting.
8. Avoid last minute applications
Apply a firm hand to your inner procrastinator and try and get your application in as early as possible. Places do fill up fast and recruiters won’t be impressed by a slapdash, five-minutes-from-the-deadline application!
So there you have it. Follow these tips and your application is bound to impress!