How to submit a great graduate job application

Kylie Cook

Kylie Cook is a Senior Consultant at Gradconsult. She runs recruitment and development initiatives for students and graduates with universities and employers up and down the country.

There are a few steps you can take to make your applications stronger.

1. Research

Before you apply for a graduate role, investigate the employer as much as you can.

Most candidates will review a company’s website, so it’s important to go further than this. Other places you could look include:

  • Social media: do their employees publish content about their work on LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter?
  • National or regional press
  • Annual reports and public strategy documents.

2. Describe your strengths

Pay close attention to the skills and experience that the employer lists in their job advert. Address as many of the skills in the advert as you can. Using your research, explain how your skills and experience relate to the employer’s plans.

Give clear evidence of how you’ve developed each skill, and how it relates to the employer’s plans.

Your examples might come from your degree, particular responsibilities in a part-time position, volunteering or Students’ Union society roles.

3. Tailor your application

Employers will expect you to research their business, and understand what they do and how your skills might fit in with their work.

It’s important that you write your graduate job application based on the research you’ve done. If you’re submitting very similar applications for multiple jobs, chances are you haven’t spent enough time researching and tailoring your applications.

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4. Get support from your careers service

There are experts at your university careers service who can support you with every stage of the application process. If you haven’t already sought advice, then get in touch with your careers service and see how they could help you.

Don’t worry if you’ve graduated already – most careers services will support you for up to three years after graduation.

It is also completely fine to not have a clue what you want to do, but I found that focusing on my skills and talking with the career services helped me consider options I didn’t even know existed.

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Page last reviewed: October 2022