Your Weekly Careers Update Courtesy of Jack

Archive for the tag “Apply”

What you know? Who you know? What you know about who you know?

Aah November… It brings all the excitement of fireworks, application forms and careers fairs. Well over 1000 of you came down to our last one (not strictly November, but close enough) so there must be something a little bit exciting about it. We’re aware the Law School ran another one for all you budding lawyers. We’ve collected a couple of wigs that must have fallen off as you all went rushing over.

But looking to the future, you’ll end up heading to plenty more of these events. Jobs aren’t that easy to come by. So how are you supposed to make the most of these events?

It’s about what you know.

It’s also about who you know.

More accurately, it’s all about what you know about who you want to know, and what that person thinks about you.

Bit of a mouthful.

If you are walking into a careers fair with every intention of entering your chosen field, you should be swotting up on who is going to be present and what sort of service they seek to offer. You are going in there to meet your potential employers – to make good impressions.

The same applies to emails too though. Make sure you know what you’re doing and you know who you’re talking to. Remember, this is more than likely the first impression this particular person from this particular company has of you. With this in mind, don’t do this:


Dear Mr. Almighty,

My name is Reilly Desperate and i am about too finish my degree in Business at Uni. I really like your company because i’m really good at English and i no this is what publishers do. I have good attention to detail and i am a very committed person.

Please find attached a copy of my CV.

Warm regards,


* * *

Dear Reilly,

    Thank you for your interest in our company.

    A crucial aspect of our work includes e-mail communication with our clients, and this requires attention to detail and a professional approach.

   For this reason I have difficulty progressing your application beyond your first message because of its frequent and careless lack of capitalisation and its poor grammar.

    I would imagine that you are a very bright individual. Your time at University proves this. However, you should remember that your message is the only evidence I have of you. I am passing you this advice in the hope that it may help you when you apply for jobs elsewhere.

Good luck for the future,

Mr. Almighty

* * *

Dear Mr. Almighty,

I worked very hard to get to my level and my spelling and grammer has nothing to do with how clever i am. My grammer can be improved, you’re bad manners cannot.

Please take me off you’re system. I would not like to work for you any more.




This is based on a true story from a University in the South. Approach companies professionally, whether in person or in writing.

Don’t just tell them you’re interested in their sector.

Tell them why you’re interested in THEM.

And be warm. Representatives are people too, and people remember other people that they like. They also like to help out the people that they like.

Good luck,



Generic CVs WILL NOT Get You An Interview – This Will.

There is nothing more frustrating to an employer than a CV which is quite obviously generic. Granted I’m not an employer. However, a perk of my job is interrogating employers. This isn’t a perk due to some twisted power trip. It’s a perk because it is a perfect excuse to have a pint. Drunken employers are truthful employers.

So it follows that I can’t actually reveal the name of this employer. Nevertheless, I can reveal the main focus of his slurred wisdom:


I don’t think said employer (let’s call him Tom) could have been more explicit. Employers know when a CV is generic. No two companies in the same field of work are the same. Each will have a different ethos. Each will have taken on different work. Each will want something different from their candidates.

This information is generally available from the website, but of course this is the first place other people will look and you’ll end up with the same information as the rest of the candidates. You want to look different. You want to look better. Try these:

a. Read a Decent Newspaper – Stay on Top of Current Affairs

‘Naomi, 24 from Brighton’ does not have insightful political views. She doesn’t even really like football. Don’t read a tabloid. Read a broadsheet. They will get you thinking, introduce you to new ways of approaching relevant issues and, above all, introduce you in a concise and sufficient manner to issues that are going to be highly relevant to your field of interest.

b. Use Research Tools Available to You at University

You will have ways of finding out what projects your targeted employer has been involved in.

Lawyers: Use Westlaw or Lexis to find out what high profile cases your targeted employer has been involved with. Find out which cases they have been successful in.

Business Students: Use EU documentation to find out about relatively large scale contracts. Registration of such contracts is compulsory if they meet certain financial thresholds.

Arts Students: Explore! Use journals. Use galleries. Use agency websites.

The list is not exhaustive. Students of all disciplines have unique research tools. Use them!

c. Look at the Job Description and Tell Them Why You Fit It

If they have told you what they want, why would you tell them you’re something different? It’s like asking for lager and receiving ale. It might look the same (if slightly off), but it tastes like Humber water. That’s not to say an employer is going to want to taste you. I would imagine that would be strictly against the rules. It means you must fit the description in substance. You must show that your substance is of a far greater quality than that of Pierre from Oxbridge. Pierre is relying on his university status. You’re relying on your substantive skills. It’s very, very doable.

So what’s the moral of the story? Tailor your CVs. Do not be generic. Go that one step further. Win that interview.


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