Checklist for landing your dream job
After sending out numerous job applications for graduate positions and having done a couple of interviews and assessment centres this year, I have gathered both my friends’ and my own experience and prepared a checklist of criteria for researching prospective employers which I think are quite useful. This checklist aims to help you narrow down what companies to choose, which opportunity suits you the best and lay the foundation for successful applications and interviews.
Company name- make sure the spelling is right and you know the full name of the company, not just the acronym. For example, EY is Ernst & Young and GE is General Electric. It is very important that you address the company’s full name instead of its abbreviation in your cover letter to show your professionalism and sincerity.
Company size and annual turnover- this information gives you a rough idea of the company’s performance and scope of the network within the company.
Ask yourself three questions- what services does the company provide? What products does the company make? What is the company’s mission statement?
And summarise in your own words. It is very important that you show you have comprehended the information about the company instead of memorising and reciting what is already written on the company’s website.
Research who uses the company’s services/products and where they use them- locally, nationally or internationally?
What other organisations offer similar services/products in this sector? How do the companies compare to your prospective employer?
Knowing who your company is competing against in the industry shows that you have sound commercial awareness and a general picture of the competitive market.
Research company’s official website, careers pages and social media such as Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram for latest news about projects carried out and major events held by the company and awards given to the company.
Research if the company has made any recent press releases or in the news lately.
Check to see what the opportunity you are applying for involve and relate to any of your work experience/internships/placements/ school leaver schemes to show that you have the skills and knowledge required for this job.
Type of application- does it require a cover letter and CV or an online form?
Application deadline- ensure to submit your application well before the given date. Most companies review applications on a rolling basis and may close the application as soon as they think they have found the suitable candidates.
Contact details- who should your cover letter be addresses to? If you can find who exactly is the HR manager/staff reviewing applications for the position/scheme you are applying, great, but don’t worry if there is no information about these details on the internet or the company’s recruitment brochure.
Selection process – such as how many stages there are, what are involved (online tests, interviews, assessment centres…) This will give you a rough idea of how much time the application is going to take you, particularly important when interviews and assessment centres are carried out between April and June. I suppose you would not want to spend a few days preparing for an interview or assessment centre when you could have been spending it on completing a deadline or revising for your exams right?
Application tips- companies sometimes have a section on application tips such as guidelines for CVs and cover letters as well as how to prepare for and stand out in an interview/assessment centre. These tips are very helpful and make your preparation much more effective!
Company’s image- Research company’s core values and summarise your thoughts and opinions on them and the company’s brand image.
Research what current/past interns and graduates say about the company and the programmes. I usually look it up on Glassdoor as you can find a lot of useful reviews from current and ex- employees of the company, giving you a relatable insight of what it is like to work for the company.
Location- research where you will be based, if travel is required, how often and how far?
Training and benefits- research what kind of training will be provided and how is it structured if there is one? And what benefits are offered with this opportunity (such as mentorship, pension scheme, discounted gym membership…)? Personally, having a structured training, rotations between different business lines/ departments and promotion after 2-3 years are crucial to me in a graduate job as I value development and exposure. So make sure what the programme offers align with what you want out of it.
Finally, after finishing all this research, ask yourself two questions:
1. WHY do you want to apply to THIS company? (perhaps it’s the variety of work? Projects you’re interested in? The size of the company/office?)
2. WHAT can YOU offer this company? (think of your work experiences, extracurricular activities, competitions you’ve competed in, niche skills like programming, languages…)
If you can easily and confidently answer these questions and think you have ticked all the boxes of the requirements for the position then you’re ready my friend! All the best withy your applications, I know this can be an endless process and it may take you more than a dozen of times to fail before you can secure a job, but it all comes with experience and practice.
Hope you have found this blog useful.