Applying for graduate jobs

Finding the right graduate role for you isn’t always easy…

But whether you’re trying to figure out what role would suit you, or you’re still struggling to write a good graduate CV, it’s important to remember that all job applications are not created equally. Finding and applying for graduate roles have some key differences from the norm, which you need to consider every time you search.

To help maximise your chances of success, here’s our advice on how to apply for graduate jobs:


Start searching for graduate schemes

When you dive into the job seeking world as a graduate, figuring out what role you should actually apply for can be the most difficult part of your search.

Instead of blindly firing off applications, check what graduate-specific schemes are available in your industry – which are specially designed to help graduates get started in their career.

Benefits of joining a grad scheme include the opportunity to work in variety of roles, on-the-job training, and a fast-track to management or senior positions.

Remember: getting started is half the battle.


Actually write a graduate CV

Although your current CV may have worked for you in the past, it may not be the best fit when it comes to applying for graduate roles. Especially if your previous positions were jobs unrelated to your preferred field.

So, to give your search a better focus, and to make sure your CV isn’t letting you down, always tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for – and make sure you place extra emphasis on your degree.

Restructuring, for example, will help make the most of your educational experience, something which probably outweighs your work history at this stage.

And don’t forget to properly research the company, as well as the role you’re applying for (the clues are in the job description), before you start writing.

Because CVs are never one-size-fits-all…

Graduate CV template

Graduate cover letter template


Choose occupation over employer

When it comes to graduate employers, size isn’t everything.

In other words, although bigger brands might seem most attractive on the surface, that doesn’t mean that vacancies from smaller companies should be instantly dismissed.

Thousands of lesser-known businesses are looking for graduates to fill roles, and searching harder for these could be the best way to let go of unconscious bias and keep an open mind. They may even offer something that’s a better fit for you.

So, always place your main focus on the job itself, and let the company name come second. After all, your ‘dream’ brand might not be able to offer you your ‘dream’ job…


Focus on values, not tasks

Don’t just talk about what you’ve done, talk about what you’ve achieved.

For example, simply stating that you ‘worked as a barista in a local coffee shop’ is too vague, and doesn’t add value to your application. The same goes for simply listing the tasks you did on a day-to-day basis.

To make it mean more, think about how your work had a positive impact. ‘I increased lunchtime footfall by 20% by implementing a new voucher scheme’, for example, shows the actual results you brought back to the business.

Because the truth is, you probably have more abilities than you realise – and selling yourself accurately is the best way to produce an effective application.

STAR technique: What you need to know


Find your USP

Finally, no matter what stage you’re at with your application, understanding your unique selling point is vital.

Essentially, it all comes down to recognising your biggest, best, and most relevant accomplishment – and understanding how it could help set you apart.

Reference a specific project or assignment, or any situation where you were involved in carrying out a task which produced a positive result. And, ideally, how this skill could benefit your prospective employer.

By doing this, you’ll be able to show the employer what you’re really capable of, and how your USP makes you their perfect fit.


Still searching for your perfect graduate role? View all available positions now