5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For Graduate Jobs

Graduate jobs

April 13, 2021

Applying for graduate jobs can be incredibly daunting for students. Graduate roles are often extremely competitive and since students generally have little experience with job applications, they often make mistakes that hinder their chances of securing the perfect role. However, these mistakes can be easily rectified. Here is a handy guide of mistakes to avoid when applying for graduate jobs:


Applying for loads of jobs at the last minute

As the prospect of leaving university and entering the world of work looms closer, many students begin to panic and apply for an abundance of jobs in a frenzy, giving little care to what is actually going into their applications. This is an incredibly exhausting process and will, in most cases, be a waste of time. This can especially be a problem with international students, who have the added stress of needing to secure a job before their visas expire. Even if you decide to apply under the new Graduate Route, it would still mean that you need to decide while still in the UK.

Take your time to search for roles that you are really interested in and have the relevant skills for. It is much better to spend a long time working on a few applications than firing off hundreds of CVs to companies you don’t really want to work for or applying for roles that you are not qualified for. 


Using the same generic CV/Cover letter in every application

A common misconception held by recent graduates is that you just need one generic CV, which you can use in every application. Tailoring your CV and cover letter to every specific role you apply for may seem time-consuming but it will let employers know that you have taken the time to research the role and are familiar with the company. This will also allow you to present yourself as exactly the candidate the employer is looking for as you will be able to tweak your CV to show off the skills you have that are most important for the role.

If you don’t read the job listing properly and fail to submit the right things, your CV will automatically be taken off the pile. The same goes for if the listing asks you to state your availability for an interview or to indicate your salary expectations - always follow any instructions carefully.

Not using career services effectively 

Students and recent graduates often overlook their University’s career services and many people forget that these services are still available for the first few years after graduation. University careers services are specifically tailored to help those who are at the beginning of their careers and have an abundance of great resources such as CV and cover letter workshops and even mock interviews to help build your confidence. Moreover, all of these great resources are free so it would be ludicrous not to take advantage of them.

As international students, seeking support from the University Careers service is even more important because the UK job market can be very different from your home country — you should take all the information from trusted sources that you can adapt faster. 


Imperfect spelling and grammar 

Imperfections in spelling and grammar are incredibly easy to make and can negatively impact the outcome of your application. Spelling mistakes suggest that you have rushed your application or that you do not really care about its outcome. This can especially be a problem for international speakers who may not be completely fluent in English. Make sure you proofread your work at least twice and ask friends and relatives to read through everything you write before you send it off. For non-native speakers make sure you get at least two native English speakers to proofread your application to ensure that it is written in perfect English. 


Limiting your job search to your local area

Although leaving your home or university town to start a new role can seem scary it is important not to limit yourself to your local area when job hunting. Only applying for jobs that are nearby will severely restrict the number of roles that are available to you and your dream job is unlikely to be situated down the road from your parents’ house.  Many roles will require you to relocate to big cities such as London or Manchester and although this may seem daunting, it is important to be as open-minded as possible and see this as an adventure. In your new city, you are bound to make a multitude of new friends and unforgettable memories which make you forget you were ever scared to move in the first place.

At the same time, if you’re based in a big city, think of Graduate Roles in smaller cities — because they are likelier to be less competitive. You already have a lot of hoops to jump through, don’t create additional ones!


Written by Olivia Stringer

Olivia is a freelance writer who is also currently training for her NCTJ at News Associates in Manchester. She enjoys writing about everything from social and environmental issues to lifestyle and education.

Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

More post from this category

  • 5 Common Myths Decoded: Jobs for International Students In The U.K.

    Graduate jobs

    4 years ago

    5 Common Myths Decoded: Jobs for International Stu...

  • 5 Interview Tips and Tricks

    Graduate jobs

    4 years ago

    5 Interview Tips and Tricks

  • How To Tackle Application Questions

    Graduate jobs

    4 years ago

    How To Tackle Application Questions

Scroll Top