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Friday, 23rd of July 2010

I had the pleasure of attending the Association of Graduate Recruiters conference a couple of weeks ago and expected to hear tales of woe from the top recruiters of budget cuts and misery. Not so however. Many of the graduate recruiters there were recruiting in their usual force, quite a few had jobs open still and most were upbeat about the market.

So the message for graduates out there is keep applying for jobs - they are out there! The media loves to paint a grim picture, indeed while we were there the Guardian published headlines; '70 applicants for every place'. This may be true but when you whittle those 70 down to ' good applicants' you'll hit a much more realistic figure.

When you do apply for that all-important job to take care with your application. Some of the leading graduate recruitment managers and I spent too much time bemoaning the quality of your applications - you may be a brilliant thinker and operator but if you apply using text speak or lower-case 'i's (my personal favourite) in your emails you won't get through the screening process. End of. Business needs to be able to communicate with its customers and we need graduates who will be able to do this without thinking too hard about it or even more importantly those who think it is unimportant.

So, apply doing exactly what is asked of you on the job advertisement - if it says write a covering letter explaining why you want the role don't copy and paste the one you did last week for the role in publishing without changing any of it. If it asks you why you think you'd be good in a fast-paced environment choose an appropriate example of something you've done in the past and how you were successful - don't just say you love working at a fast pace.

Try and make your application mirror the culture and feel of the advertisement plus what you know about the brand. So avoid writing a really formal letter to Virgin but keep it pretty formal for a civil service application. Avoid the salutation 'Sir', Madam' or 'Hiring Manager' after the word 'Dear'. Make your salutation as relevant as your application and don't waste yours and the recruiters time by simply sending your CV out to every job (without any of the other details the hirer might have asked for) hoping one of them will stick to the wall....unless you are making your application relevant, well-written, considered and appropriate - it won't.

So, with renewed heart and paying particular attention to how you go about it, go get that job - one of them has your name on it!




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