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If you have been applying for jobs for which you meet the minimum criteria but are not being asked to interview it is probably time to take a critical look at your CV and application forms. Make an appointment with your careers adviser to review and improve them. You may also find it useful to look at applying for jobs and CVs and cover letters.
Ask yourself: Am I demonstrating in my applications that I know what the company does, what its products are, what the job is about and how my skills, experience and personality relate to what the job and the organisation require? The written application you send is all the employer has to inform them when making a decision about who to short-list for interview.
Do not send the same generic covering letter and CV to a multitude of jobs. Tailor both your letter and CV to each specific job application.
If you are applying for popular graduate training schemes which have only a few places on offer then think about other routes into the organisation, such as a very junior position, to gain experience. You could also consider work shadowing.
When you make speculative applications, make sure you follow up you initial enquiry. Call them within a few days to ensure they have received your application. If they do not offer you even an informal interview, try to negotiate a short meeting with them at a time convenient to them. You will know by their tone if it is time to thank them and put down the phone or whether a bit of charm and persuasion will get you a foot in the door to chat.
If you are not successful in progressing to another round of selection, or in being offered a job, it is not necessarily an indicator that you have performed poorly. It is merely that the employer has deemed that another candidate or candidate(s) are a better fit for the organisation than you.
It is best practice for organisations to give you feedback on your interview and assessment centre performance. If they do not do this automatically then call and ask for it. Discuss any information they give you with your careers adviser and consider what action you might take to improve your performance in the future.
After interviews and assessment centres, along with the interviewers’ feedback, it’s important for you to conduct your own critical review on how things went. You can really learn from the experience and build on it for the next occasion. Make notes on how you think you performed, asking yourself questions such as:
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