How to use your writing skills to get the grad job

26 May 2021
By Hazel M., Freelance writer, journalist and total bookworm at Unite Students

The secret to landing a grad job isn’t always in getting the right grades. In fact, there’s a lot more that goes into it.

So, how can you use your writing skills to make sure your CV stands out from the crowd? It’s simple, really, which is why I’ve outlined some of the key things you can do to get yourself to the top of the application pile – all through the power of words.

1) Embrace the details

One thing that always sticks out when it comes to trawling through CVs is how generic some of them are. It’s almost as if some applicants have searched Google for a cover letter template and copied it onto their application with no real thought for what they’re trying to achieve.

But, as a writer, you can do much better than that. And I’m not talking about transforming your CV into an abstract poem.

Essentially, use your words to outline your passion for the role. Avoid the generic ‘I am a hardworking/motivated/insert-adjective-here individual’. Instead, use examples to demonstrate how you’re those things, and be specific. After all, no one is going to hire a person who calls themselves lazy on the application.

2) Make sure your grammar is on-point

There’s nothing worse than bad grammar on a CV – especially if you’re going for a role that involves a lot of writing, social media or email communication.

So, check your CV several times before submitting it. Get a friend or family member to check it, too, and don’t be scared to ask for help, even if you think you’ve got it cracked.

The difference could be not losing the job opportunity before the employer has got to the bottom of the page.

3) Tailor it

This probably goes without saying but I’ll highlight it anyway. You could write the best cover letter in the world but, if it’s not tailored to the company you’re targeting? It’s pretty much worthless.

You might have already applied for three other jobs as a marketing assistant, but each one will vary and could require slightly different responsibilities. So, read the job spec carefully and make notes about why you can specifically meet their needs.

And, if nothing else, be wary of just copying and pasting the last application you wrote – naming the wrong company in your cover letter is an instant rejection.

4) Think about your reader

Even beyond tailoring the content to your chosen company, a lot can be said for tone, too. Even in a cover letter, I always think of it like I would if writing a blog or article for a particular publication.

The key here is making sure you know your audience. So, if the company you’re applying to is reasonably informal, don’t let your tone cast you in the light of someone better suited to a role on the Queen’s council. Likewise, a solicitor’s office probably isn’t looking for someone who uses slang words from the off.

To strike the right balance, do your research first. Take a look at the company’s website and get a sense for the business’s tone and values. It’ll not only give you an insight into how to write your cover letter but will also help you understand more about the employer you’re hoping to work for.

5) Demonstrate your skills

Are you a good writer? Get your words out there!

Start a blog and start building a portfolio. It’ll not only show potential employers what you can do, but the more you write, the better you’ll get.

Even if you’re not going for a writing role, why not start writing about the industry you’re hoping to work in? It’s a great chance to demonstrate what you know already and show your passion for the roles you’re pursuing.

For more tips on careers, click here.

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When not stringing words together, can usually be found on the local beach with her cocker spaniel pup, Huey.