letters on a laptop

Back to basics

A friend of mine sent me a copy of a recent article in The Sunday Times, UK (1 August 2010) where top firms were quoted as being forced to reject ‘barely literate’ graduates.  This, despite receiving thousands of applications!  Only a month ago, I was having a similar conversation with one of our own graduate recruiters.  The complaint was that many candidates, even those with high academic grades, fail to fill in forms properly and rush through the application with scant regard for spelling, punctuation or grammar. 

The UK article stated that many applicants were unable to spell company names, answer simple questions or provide information instead of vacuous buzzwords.  Many candidates appear to be firing off as many forms as they can, often carelessly filled out, in a panicked attempt to find work.  People are simply not paying the attention they could.  Even students completing master’s degrees are sending in applications with bad grammar, bad spelling and tend to be very, very verbose and saying very little.

Real example:  Question – Why do you want to work for our organisation?  Answer – I don’t know much about your organisation but the website looks good.

If this is the best response you can muster, do not apply for any more positions until you have done your homework!  At the minimum you must know what the organisation does, what are some of the key issues/challenges facing the organisation, what interests you about the organisation and how your skills and knowledge fit in with their requirements.  Above all, your application must be free of spelling errors, grammatically correct and addressed to the appropriate person.  You would be surprised how often organisations receive applications addressed to a different company! 

The job market is picking up and we are seeing an increase in graduate vacancies.  If you are serious about finding work, be serious about your application.  Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read… and then get someone else to proof-read as well!

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Advice, CVs, Graduate jobs, Job application, Looking for work


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