Thank goodness its Friday you might think. Well save a bit of studious brain power to check out our top tip of the day before you disappear into weekend mode. Today is our final day to learn from employers about what they are looking for in applications and help you get one step closer to that interview.

Today is top tip No.5 – Research, Research, Research!

One thing all the employees had in common is that they expect you to know about them. You have to do some serious research into the organisations that you’re applying for so that you can show through your application that you understand what they’re about as a company and that you can connect with them.

This can be done in various ways:

(a)   Firstly it is important to understand the employer as a business: so think about commercial awareness; what do they say about themselves on their own website; but also beyond that: who are their competitors; use the Financial Times, BBC news or Google them and see what news items have been about them recently; what projects they are involved in at the moment or what changes have been happening or might be afoot in the sector they work in or supply to.

All employers are influenced by the external environment – be that political, economic, sociological, technological, legal or environmental, and whatever role you play in that institution you would benefit to have some understanding of these things because it will influence the decisions that the company makes and with some roles – often those pursued traditionally by business students, you need to be able to show that you are aware of the external environment and the potential challenges the company might face.

(b)   Also think about what that company is about: who are their customers; who do they appeal to; what kind of people do they want within their organisation and therefore what do they want to see on your CV? Cultural fit is becoming an important part of how employers recruit. One of the Sussex based law firms at the Careers Fair clearly said the key thing they want, are applicants who are personable, who can interact with customers, understand the value of the customer and the importance of level of service to those customers. Having looked at their website – this is very clear. Reading about them is important but make sure you clearly show your understanding of them to help make your application stand out.

(c)   Another big area that is really important for employees is values. The big consultancies were particularly vocal about this and I know NHS use this within their recruitment too. Values are principles or standards of behaviour that influence how a company works, makes decisions and within recruitment they are looking for potential employees who have the same values and therefore have the same approach to how they work. Always look under the ‘about us’ pages within company websites and see if they clearly show what their values are because you need to show that those values are your values too. One of the NHS values is ‘Working together for patients’. In this case you would provide evidence of your team working skills: project work on your course, cross department working, multi-disciplinary teams in different settings perhaps. Show how you work with others towards a common goal, ideally for the service of others. If a company’s value is sustainability then include the module or work you’ve done about this and what you’ve learnt, mention that you’ve been inspired by a sustainable local project,  include involvement with an environmental society or if you are a green champion for your course. It may not be the exact match for the role but it will endear them to you and if comes down to comparing applicants at the end this could tip it in your favour.

 

So there you have it, five top tips from our Careers Fair employers. Let’s recap:

1. Tailor your application 

2. Show some personality

3. Highlight Achievements

4. Take every interaction seriously and be focused on that employer

5. Research, Research, Research!

So I hope you’ve found my blogs this week useful and helped you consider how you might approach your text application in a robust and engaged way.

Here is also an account from a student who went to the fair, how they approached it and what they learnt from the employers they chatted to  – http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/careers/2017/11/20/2017-careers-fair-a-retail-students-experience/

For more help with applications,  book in for a one to one chat with your Career Development Advisor on your campus or with me at our Moulsecoomb campus.  All our details can be found online at https://www.brighton.ac.uk/careers/contact-us/index.aspx

Don’t forget we’ve got lots more great advice and tips on all things to do with finding and applying for roles of all levels, and many other Careers related help on our website https://www.brighton.ac.uk/careers/index.aspx