A Handy Checklist for Students Applying for Graduate Jobs

Graduate jobs

September 16, 2019

When applying for jobs, it is very tempting to get into the groove and keep sending out CVs as you copy and paste the accompanying cover letter. However, that might not be the most effective approach to go about it. Truth be told, applying to jobs is a painstaking task, and there is no coming back from a grammatical or spelling error.


How ready is your CV?

  • Is it one-page long (or maximum 2 pages, if you have prior professional experience)
  • Does it contain the necessary keywords that hiring managers and applicant tracking software look for?
  • Are all the dates, job titles and names correct, spell-checked and in chronological order, with the most recent ones on top
  • Spell out acronyms on first use
  • Ensure a uniform capitalization policy throughout
  • Remove outdated resume pieces as you advance in your career/qualifications

Are you sure about the cover letter?

  • Have you addressed the salutation as precisely as possible? (More often than not, going out of the way to know who to address it to indicates your keenness for the job!)
  • Tailor the letter to the organisation and the job you are applying to
  • Is it shorter than one page (in total, including your contact details and salutation)?
  • Is it a consistent format?
  • Use formatting appropriately, boldface something you want to draw attention to, or italicize if you’re sharing an anecdote.
  • Does it succinctly answer how you are the best fit for the job?
  • If it is a Word document, use 1-inch margins
  • Use fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Lucida, Tahoma, or Trebuchet and font size between 10 and 12.
  • Don’t repeat your resume
  • Include a proper closing statement: leave an impact till the very end.
  • Have you attached the attachments you have talked about in the cover letter? Double check!
  • Read it again on a new day: does your enthusiasm come across in the letter?


How would you feel if the employer checked out your online presence?

  • How public is your digital footprint? Are your accounts public, and if so, do they give a professional impression?
  • Have you posted/tweeted something the employer may be uncomfortable with?
  • Is your LinkedIn Profile in sync with the application?
  • If you have shared a LinkedIn profile with a prospective employer, ensure that you have recommendations by previous employers/supervisors/mentors.

Have you researched the company and the job?

  • Did you read through the company website, the latest news, and projects it is currently working on?
  • Have you read and understood the job description?
  • Have you checked (Tier 2 visa) Sponsorship status of the company and if it is on the register, is it willing to sponsor visas for this job in particular?
  • Have you looked at the incentives and benefits that the job offers like training opportunities, apart from the salary?
  • Does your application abide by instructions mentioned in the job posting?
  • Adherence to word limit mentioned, if any?

And finally, have you proofread everything?

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