Careers Advice

The top five mistakes you may have already made

In 2016 alone, ScotGrad received nearly 13,000 applications for placements and there are mistakes that we see more regularly than you might think. Stepanka Jurenova, Graduate Engagement Manager for the Highlands and Islands, talks us through the five most common.

Published: 26/01/2017

1. Mistakes

Your application or CV is generally the first contact an employer has with you and first impressions count. We’ve seen a lot of CVs with spelling and grammatical errors that could be easily avoided, by either carefully checking it yourself or getting someone else to take a look. A minor spelling mistake can give the impression that you have put little effort into your application. Whatever you do, make sure your application has the correct employer’s name on it. This simple mistake is made more often than you might think.

2. Vague applications

We see a lot of applications where candidates haven’t tailored their experience, achievements or skills to reflect the organisation’s requirements. Employers want to see that you really want to work with them, so make sure that your application is relevant to the placement. For further information and advice on making your CV stand out, check out our helpful blog

3. You haven’t done your homework

A frequent mistake candidates make in placement applications and interviews is not researching the organisation and industry they’re applying for. It is important to have a working understanding of the sector and the skills required for the specific role.   

Your research shouldn’t be limited to the work you would be undertaking in the placement. Consider how you will get there, whether you have to commute or even move, and if the organisation is a good match for you.

4. #inappropriate social media

Although social media can be your friend while hunting for a job, with 94% of recruiters using social media to advertise positions it can also be your enemy. Increasingly employers are checking applicants’ social media feeds to get a better picture of the person behind the CV.

It might be time to clear out your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of any posts that might turn an employer off and affect your chances of landing your dream placement. It’s also worth considering establishing a professional social media presence by creating a LinkedIn account.

Read our useful guide to using LinkedIn effectively to help find a placement and promote yourself professionally.

5. Underselling yourself

Applications and interviews are your opportunities to demonstrate to employers how qualified and experienced you are, so don’t sell yourself short. You should highlight your experience and provide examples of when you’ve achieved something you’re proud of, or displayed a certain essential skill. If you have a minimal previous work experience don’t be afraid of using examples of skills you have acquired either through your academic studies or personal interests and hobbies.

For more information, tips and advice on applying for a ScotGrad placement, check out our careers advice pages.