When arriving in Lund most students don’t think about what comes after their graduation. Three years or six terms is a long time when your attention span is the next exam or sittning. But as graduation approaches so does reality and those who don’t continue studying ought to apply for jobs. But what do employers look for in new graduates?
The first step of most applications is sending in a cover letter and CV which can get you an interview. But how do you set yourself apart from the competition? There are the obvious ways, getting high grades, extracurricular activities and having a part-time job. but there is more to have in mind. When asking employers if either one is more important than the other, they respond that neither is, they should support and strengthen one another. Furthermore, they named common mistakes found in cover letters. Christin Rach at Grant Thornton mentioned that graduates rarely write why they want to want to work at Grant Thornton or within the area they applied for. Marie Ekström and Jonas Predikaka at Carnegie also mentioned these two points. They commented that many cover letters use the same generic expressions and that a genuine interest for the employment and company shines through.
Employers concur that showing a genuine interest in both the company and industry sets your application apart from the others. However, showing an interest is not equivalent to possessing knowledge about the industry. Anneli Bucht, analyst at Nordea Markets, noted that having an interest often correlates with knowledge but that curiosity and a strong will to learn can be equally beneficial.
A good application is customized for every company and every position. Marie and Jonas at Carnegie mentioned that this is not easily done, a good application takes time. Finally they advised possible applicants to time into their application and interview. Christin advised students to use career fairs and events to speak with them since they might remember you once you apply or you can use it as an icebreaker during the interview. Finally, Anelli advised possible applicants to figure out what makes them special and what they can contribute with.