If you’re a recent graduate, here’s some free advice…
I’m not a professional recruiter or careers adviser, but here is some free advice for graduates looking to enter the workforce when applying for jobs:
Personalize your application.
You may be applying for 100 jobs, but do your best to make the cover letter not read that way. If you spend a little time crafting two or three sentences to show that you understand the nature of the firm you are applying to, it can do wonders. Alternatively, if you are too lazy to customize your approach, what does that say about your suitability or work ethic?
Avoid grammatical and spelling errors.
One of the biggest turn-offs, especially in areas such as communication, are application letters, resumes and portfolio websites that are riddled with errors. When I think of it, even one error is troublesome. Read your materials once, and then again. With spellcheck, it amazes me that it is even possible but so many of the resumes we are sent end up dismissed due to the lack of attention to detail.
Exaggerating the breadth and depth of your background is a common issue. If you’re a recent graduate, no employer is going to hire you because of your extensive experience, so please don’t suggest that you have years of senior-level workplace miles under your feet. And no one is going to believe you if you say you worked as a “marketing manager” as a sophomore. Note: if you did not complete your bachelor’s degree or never started a bachelor’s program, don’t call the certificate programs you have taken your post graduate work.
Your college days don’t count as experience (for a job application).
If you graduated six months ago, unless you worked full-time before college, you essentially shouldn’t be talking about more than six months’ experience. Internships are great but you shouldn’t add up the time and claim that you accumulated a year or two’s experience while you were studying.
Keep it brief and avoid long, ‘flowery’ sentences. Be specific about what you genuinely want and why you are a good candidate, even if all you are seeking is a job to get your foot on the career ladder. At college, extraneous language might be rewarded, but in business, especially in marketing, every word counts and the fewer the better.
If you want to test out your application skills, send us an email at email@example.com, and we’ll give you feedback if you specifically request it, as long as the cover letter is less than 200 words long!