A common mistake that students (including myself) make is sending out too many applications at the same time. You may think that this is a good way to ensure that you get some calls back for interviews and it is, you are definitely increasing your chances of success. But applications can be extremely long and tedious to fill out so it would be of much benefit to find more efficient ways of completing them to a high standard.
My first piece of advice is to send out applications in batches. Make a list of the roles you want to apply for and rank them in order of those you like best. You may wish to start with about two or three applications to companies that aren’t too high in your ranking as a ‘trial’ and wait for feedback. If you are getting responses, then you know that your applications are good and you can enhance them even further before sending them out for the roles you desperately want- you wouldn’t want to send an application for your dream job without being sure that it was good enough. Of course different firms will like and require different things, but if you are sending out five applications a week and not receiving any feedback, the chances are something has gone wrong, you wouldn’t want to exhaust all of your options before figuring out what the issue was.
Also make sure to get it checked by a recruitment professional, most likely from your university’s careers centre, this should really be the first thing you do, but because so many applications differ in their formats it can be time consuming to get every single one checked. If, however you have found yourself in the scenario where you have sent out dozens of applications and received nothing, this is definitely something I would advise, they might be able to point out something that you missed. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and course mates too, when you write these things over and over it can be very easy to miss something that would be obvious to someone else.
Similar to the ‘long CV’ I discussed in the last post, it might be helpful to have set answers for set scenarios ready to be adapted and used. Obviously applications vary, but quite a large majority contain skills/situation based questions that you are required to answer. Having a document that has some pre-written examples can make the application form a lot easier and quicker for you to fill out. Websites such as Gradcracker have sections where you can store such pre-written examples to help you when answering questions. Also remember to use these sections to highlight your strengths and the key skills the company is looking for.
An application diary is also a great idea- Gradcracker also provides a tool for this. Keep track of the companies you want to apply for, the ones you have already applied for, the interviews you’ve had and the responses. If you reach the stage where you have gone a long period without securing a placement, by keeping track of your progress you may be able to more easily identify which stages you aren’t doing so well in or the type of firms you probably aren’t suited to. In addition, sometimes it could be that you just haven’t heard back at all, or maybe an email has got lost in your junk, by keeping a diary who know who you should be looking out for.
A good application is a lot more than just a good CV, in some cases tests are also involved, so ensure that you are prepared for each aspect- you should put just as much effort into constructing your answers as you did writing your CV, they are equally important!
All the best!