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The Golden ‘Do Nots’ of Application Writing

Although the new academic year has only just started, many of the deadlines for vacationer and graduate positions are already looming. Here are our best tips to help you put together a stand out application.

  • Do not use generic and clichéd responses e.g. ‘I want to work for a world class organisation’ – make sure you do your research and honestly reflect on why you’d like to work for that particular organisation. Consider their company brochures, websites and media coverage. You could also reach out to anyone you know who works for that organisation (or one similar) for insight.
  • Do not copy and paste large chunks of text from the company website – as above, do your research! Refer to projects you’ve admired or explain what excites you about their future vision and how your skills and experience would help contribute to that vision.
  • Do not waffle – be concise and cut out unnecessary words and lengthy phrases. Try the CAR technique (challenge, action, results) to focus your responses.
  • Do not attempt to cram 20 points into your cover letter – choose a few solid reasons for applying and expand on each point, highlighting your experience and what you would bring to the team. Doing so will help you demonstrate an awareness of the skills and qualities needed to succeed at the organisation and is much more effective than attempting to cram in 20 points without backing them up.
  • Do not forget to format and proof read your application – this provides evidence of your level of attention to detail (or lack of). A common error is sending an application to one company (e.g. PwC) with references to another company (e.g. KPMG) throughout. If you use an old application as a base for another, make sure you check the final copy comprehensively – click ‘Find word’, ‘replace all’!
Remember to treat each job application process as a learning experience. If appropriate, ask for feedback and use it to prepare for your next one. Stay positive!

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Category: Supporting