Graduate of the Year 2017 competition

Guest post by Stephen Pritchard of Adzuna

Looking for a way to make your CV stand out once you’ve graduated? Then you’re in luck, because the 2017 Graduate of the Year competition is open and waiting for your entry.

Hosted by job search website Adzuna, the Graduate of the Year competition recognises the country’s finest graduates, and for the very best, the prizes on offer can really help kick-start your career:

  • Gain on the job experience with an internship at a top UK company
  • Plan your path to your dream job with a 1-to-1 career coach session
  • Brush up on skills you didn’t learn on your degree with £200 to spend on courses
  • Celebrate in style or buy yourself a new work wardrobe with £1,000 cash

The competition is open to anyone who can demonstrate excellence during their time at university, whether that be as an entrepreneur in the making, the MVP of the sports team, or the academic genius who aced every test.

Entries close on June 30, so what are you waiting for? Visit the website to enter today – https://www.adzuna.co.uk/graduate-of-the-year

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How to write a good covering letter

Great covering letters are a really easy way to stand out from the competition when you’re applying for jobs. Many applicants won’t bother including a covering letter and others will write their letter as a bit of an after-thought. So a well-written letter is crucial.

Here are some hints and tips to help you write a winning letter to accompany your CV or application.
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General tips:

  • Keep to a maximum of one side of A4.
  • Paragraphs should be clearly laid out.
  • Use a font that is easy to read, such as Arial.
  • Writing your letter in a direct and simple way will help you save space and get your message across more easily.

Structure

  • Always address your letter to a named person: check online, check LinkedIn or ring the company and ask who would be the best contact
  • Use their title and surname only, eg Dear Mrs Smith rather than Dear Mrs Eve Smith (always best to play it safe)

First paragraph

  • Use this to set the scene.
  • Clarify what you are applying or looking for, and what you’re currently doing.
  • For example, ‘I wish to apply for the position of xxxxxxxxxxx. I am currently a final year xxxxxx student at the University of Chester.’
  • Add a reason for your interest in the vacancy, eg previous time spent in a similar organaisation, relevant options during your degree.
  • Mention you are enclosing your CV.

 Second paragraph

  • Address why you are applying to that organisation
  • Then widen this out to anything special or unique about the employer (online research will come in useful here)
  • You need to demonstrate that you have researched the employer and area of work
  • Make links to any experience that has helped you come to your decision and avoid vague generalisations such as ‘top class training programme’ or ‘international reputation’.

Third paragraph

  • This is where you need to convince the employer that you are right for them and for the role. If you are responding to an advertised position, address each of the selection criteria.
  • Don’t expect the reader to turn to your CV to evidence this; lay it out for them to read and
  •  If you don’t have much relevant experience, explain why you think you could make a contribution, e.g. team player, fast learner, good people skills.
  •  Refer to points on your CV that you want the reader to note without repeating too much information.

Fourth paragraph

  • This is for any other relevant information such as mitigating circumstances for poor academic results, or details of extra qualifications that are relevant to the job, e.g. languages.

 Final paragraph

  • Use this space to sign off and indicate your availability for interview.
  • Use ‘Yours sincerely’ where you have written to a named individual and ‘Yours faithfully’ if you have had to use ‘Sir/Madam’.

How to get relevant work experience

It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re applying for jobs, but are constantly faced with requests for relevant work experience even for entry-level or internship vacancies. You’re probably asking: “how can I gain relevant experience if I can’t even get a basic job or internship so I can get the experience?

Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience when you’re in this position.image

Voluntary work can often be a good way to gain practical experience of the area you want to go into. You can find opportunities on www.do-it.org.uk

Most university Career Services offer internships designed to enable students or graduates with little work experience to gain graduate-level experience. If you’re a final year student or a recent graduate from University of Chester you can apply for paid graduate-level work with local companies via the Santander Universities Internship Programme

You could also complete a five week placement as part of our Graduate Head Start (GHS) programme. GHS is open to all UK graduates who are still looking for graduate level work, however places will be offered to University of Chester graduates as a priority.

For more ideas have a look at Targetjobs