We regularly run a range of skills sessions for job hunting including CV workshops, mock interviews and understanding assessment centres and psychometric testing

CVs, applications, interviews

In this section you can find practical advice, skills training and resources to help you apply for jobs:

Researching the job and commercial awareness

Being commercially aware is incredibly important if you want to be successful in securing a good graduate level job.

We run a regular skills session on Commercial Awareness, which you can search for in My Career Zone.

Watch our video on commercial awareness:

Researching the job

When you’ve found a job or internship to apply for, it’s essential that you do your research. This is an area that you may be tempted to rush but lack of background knowledge is one of the main reasons why recruiters will reject an application.

  • Research the job. What is involved? Is it right for me? Am I right for it? Talk to contacts in your chosen area or try to track down an alumnus willing to help using The Exepert Scheme. Also don’t forget that you may have family or friends in that profession who may be able to give you an insight into the area you are interested in.
  • Research the company. You will find most up-to-date information on the company website. Try to meet Employers on campus, at careers fairs or see if they are holding any events. Companies will be looking for you to demonstrate knowledge of what the company does as a whole and your reasons for choosing them over their competitors. It is important therefore to really understand the company and its culture as much as possible as this also helps you decide if it is the right environment for you.
  • Research the sector. This is where you can develop your commercial awareness. What challenges might the sector be facing at present? Who has been in the news recently? Are there any recent trends or product developments that you should know about? Who is taking over whom? Who are the competitors?

Having done your research you will be in a better position to make a well informed application and sell your skills and qualities to match the job. The application stage is the biggest hurdle in the whole recruitment process and it is important to get it right. Recruiters are able to spot blanket applications a mile away so don’t be tempted to hope that submitting lots of generic applications will give you more chance of being successful. The more time and effort you put in to an application the better it is likely to be.

How to apply

Job advertisements will state how they want you to apply – most large organisations now use an online application process and you will need just as much time and care to complete this as you will for a paper version.

Smaller companies may use application forms or ask for a CV and covering letter. In some sectors you will rarely see a job advertisement but there could well be openings – and these will go to those who are proactive and send a speculative CV and letter. One third of graduate vacancies are not advertised publicly so be proactive.

Remember to check the deadline for submitting application forms as you do not want to spend hours completing a form only to find out that you have missed the deadline. Some applications close as early as November/December whilst others can be ongoing until the vacancies are filled.

Need some extra help?

We can help you with any of the topics covered in the section, and can give you general advice or one-to-one help. If you would like to speak to somebody, follow the links above to the topic you're interested in for more information.