1. Tailor each form
Don’t just cut and paste - treat each application as a separate form
Research the companies, read the profiles of graduates who work there already, talk to company representatives at any fairs or presentations on campus so you really understand the competencies and criteria the company are assessing your application against. Ensure you include specific evidence and examples of how you have demonstrated these behaviours and qualities.
2. Go into detail
Talk about your modules or any relevant lab/group projects undertaken as part of your course. It’s surprising how many people don’t mention relevant practical projects and just assume the employer would know about them.
These projects have probably been assigned to simulate how you will work in industry e.g. they may involve researching, analysing, modelling, prototyping, testing, building, implementing, diagnosing or improving or require you to follow a project management lifecycle. Assume the employer knows nothing – explain your projects to them showing your understanding and experience of these technical processes.
3. Transferable skills are key
Don’t just focus on the technical skills and knowledge you have developed during your course. Engineering employers also want to know that you can work with others, can communicate well and can manage your own time. Use examples from your course, part-time employment, work placements and extra-curricular activities to demonstrate evidence of ‘transferable skills’.
4. Give yourself plenty of time
Source: Larry Miller
It’s amazing how fast time passes when filling out an online application
Application forms always take longer to complete than you expect. Allocate extra time so you can get applications checked before pressing the ‘submit’ button. Check if you are able to save your application before you start writing and save in a Word document first where you can spellcheck and do a word/character count before copying and pasting into the form.
5. Good spelling and grammar are essential
Check your spelling and grammar and get someone else to check it for you too – ideally a careers adviser. Some companies will discard your application after a certain number of spelling and/or grammatical errors, regardless of the quality of your examples.
6. Nail your personal statement
You may be required to write a supporting statement (sometimes referred to as ‘additional information’). This is your chance to outline any relevant information you haven’t already managed to include - this would typically comprise things such as your motivation for applying and how you meet the required competencies for the role.