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Tips for graduate applications

#1 Tips for graduate applications
21/03/2007 23:24


I am currently in my final year at King's College London studying law and have been applying for management consultancy graduate schemes but have so far been mostly unsucessful. My achedemic results have been consistently high so i feel the problem must be a lack of relevant work experience. Please could anyone advise on how to make my application better?

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#2 RE: Tips for graduate applications
22/03/2007 07:56

dl to Nick (#1)

I suspect your degree subject is more likely to be the culprit than the lack of work experience. It almost certainly would mark you down where I work currently, and you'd need to make a strong case for yourself in other points of your application.

How do you convey your analytical, problem solving and communication skills in your CV and covering letter/memo? Do you come across as genuinely interested in working in consulting? For which reasons, and how do they fit with your skills and capabilities?

BTW - I hope your academic results are better than your spelling and grammar };-)

(Cheap swipe, I know, and I don't care on a forum board. But send anyone a CV or cover letter with spelling mistakes and missing punctuation, and you are not starting well)

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#3 RE: Tips for graduate applications
22/03/2007 14:11

Nick to dl (#2)

what is the problem with my degree? all the firms that i have applied for do no specify any degree subject!

I believe that my problem solving / teamwork / communication skills are well represented through previous employment, interests and activities but i may lack any real leadership skills. my previous work experience includes bar work, retail work, work experience at BP oil and law firms so I feel that I need to add something that is relevant to consultacy. Does anyone have any suggestions about what i can to improve this?

Also does anyone know if any extra-curricular activities look especially good on applications?

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#4 RE: Tips for graduate applications
22/03/2007 14:30

Anon to Nick (#3)

Do something that you could argue requires analysis. You can say you play the stock market on some free website, or something like that.

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#5 RE: Tips for graduate applications
22/03/2007 15:41

anon to Anon (#4)

If you get invited to do online tests, practice as much as you can. You wouldn't believe the difference this can make to your score. They tell you that practice doesn't really make much difference - this is rubbish. It is in the interests of those who set the tests to say this. You can go from the lower quartile to almost 100% correct with a bit of practice.

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#6 RE: Tips for graduate applications
22/03/2007 16:15

When I was applying for graduate jobs.... to anon (#5)

I'd second that advice. I failed the ASDA online tests which was the first one I did, but the last two I did were for 2 stock broking companies and I got invited to interviews for both. Once you get the hang of them they’re easy.

And I’m sure the interviews were down to the SHL tests because my A-Level results were shiite.

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#7 RE: Tips for graduate applications
28/03/2007 19:46

toto to When I was applying for graduate jobs.... (#6)


I have a whole lot of guidance books on Management consultancy and Investment bankings - the ones that i used for my applications last year- Was pretty expensive, but I could do with some heavy discount.

if interested get in touch with me at

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#8 RE: Tips for graduate applications
03/04/2007 15:12

Persistance to toto (#7)

I was in a similar position applying for my first consulting job Post University in 2001. It was just after 9/11 and many firms had stopped recruiting. I had had good academics but still found it tough to even get an interview.

My advice would be to persist, persist persist. You have to make sure everything you do is of the highest quality. You have to be able to make your CV stand out. There are loads of books on this so I'd make a small investment.

At graduate level it's all about behaviour - they don't expect you to have a great deal of experience. They're looking for you to evidence the behaviours. It's no good saying your a good team player you have demonstrate when you have displayed these characteristics.

You want to think of examples when you've:

- Worked in a team

- Used your personal network to get something done

- Had to deal with ambiguity/complexity

- Took responsibility for your own development

- Worked towards a goal

- Influenced a group (through personal communication).

You can get this from uni experience, part time work, placements/intern or from club memberships etc. This should be the basis of writing your CV. You can structure using the STAR acronym (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Also good for answering interview questions.

I used a book called The Fast Track by Mariam Naficy and this website

Both were invaluable and worth every penny of the small investment I made. I applied to over 40 jobs and only got 2 interviews. Times were tough but I’m now battle hardened and the process has given me confidence and skills beyond my peers who walked straights into jobs and wondered what all the fuss was about.

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