Whether you’re applying for Open Days, Spring Weeks, Vacation Schemes or Grad Jobs, your first application season can be daunting. I would not have approached my first application season with the confidence that I did if it wasn’t for Bright Network. The Bright Network International Women’s Day event was the first networking event I had attended outside of university, and it showed me that networking with top firms and securing roles at such firms is within my reach. It inspired me to undertake many more experiences that have paved the way for me to pursue a career in Law. Being a Campus Champion has allowed me to connect with a range of students and I am inspired both by them and the work that Bright Network undertakes to give back.
1. Be realistic with your applications
It’s important to be realistic with your applications, both in knowing what companies you would like to apply to and how many good quality applications you have the capacity to submit. Make sure to check the company’s entry requirements and that it’s somewhere you could truly see yourself working at by doing research. Research means going beyond the company’s website - attending networking events, researching cases and deals and reaching out to any contacts is a really good way to find out if the company is a good fit for you.
The more applications you submit, the greater chance of success, however it’s important not to overwhelm yourself, especially if you are balancing university work and extra-curriculars too! Some people find that it is better to submit a few quality applications instead, however only you know what the right amount of applications is for you.
2. Utilise organisation tools
Staying organised makes applications so much easier - if you are on top of deadlines and have done the research, all you have to do is apply! The best way to start is by having a to-do list. Some people find using a diary, their phone’s notes, or Google Calendar works best for them. I use Excel as it helps me spread my work and applications evenly across the month. It doesn’t matter which method you choose, as everyone is different. The important thing is that the tasks are written down in an accessible place that you will use. When planning, try to order your tasks by priority - for example, drafting the applications with the earliest deadlines and those for companies which recruit on a rolling basis.
If you’re a visual person, creating a table to keep track of deadlines and what stage you are at with each application is also really helpful. Another tool that I find helpful for staying organised with applications is the Bright Network Career Calendar. You can add deadlines to the Calendar as you go, and it’s a great way to keep track of upcoming deadlines, especially since you can have deadline reminders sent to your inbox!
3. Submit your applications in plenty of time
It is important to submit your application with plenty of time to spare before the deadline. This way, you will look like someone who organises their time well. It also ensures that your application is sent within good time if the company recruits on a rolling basis, or in case the company decides to close their applications early. A great way to do this is to set yourself mini deadlines and check your inbox for reminders from Bright Network’s Career Calendar!
4. Believe in yourself
Self-doubt and lack of confidence are some of the biggest factors that prevent students from applying to schemes and jobs. As important as it is to be realistic, it is just as important to have self-belief. It is easier said than done, but remember, you have put the hours in studying and building your skills with part-time work and extra-curriculars, and now is your time to shine! Application season can be overwhelming, but it is also an exciting time as you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of new opportunities and the chance to gain some experience or land your dream job. There may be some rejections, but these are part of the process and will help you grow.
5. Look after yourself
Finally, look after yourself! Application season can be a really busy and stressful time, so it’s important to take time to do things that you enjoy. Whether that’s spending time with family and friends, playing your favourite sport, or watching Netflix. When you’re stressed it’s easy to see relaxing as a waste of time, but think of it as recharging your batteries so you can give each day - and application - your best.