Graduate schemes are notoriously competitive so it’s important that you make your application stand out from the crowd. Below are some top tips to help you achieve this:

1. Excel in your psychometric tests. Employers use psychometric tests because they offer an objective way of assessing candidates and comparing candidates applying for a particular role. Numerical reasoning tests and verbal reasoning tests are the psychometric tests most commonly encountered by graduates and job applicants. It’s important that you score well in these tests in order to stand out from the competition. If you’re looking for advice and tips on how to excel at your psychometric tests you can find them here.

2. Identify the core competencies and skills the hiring manager and organisation are likely to be looking for. You need to ensure that your application form can be ticked against the key attributes that the employer has specified on their website, advert or graduate marketing materials. Read them carefully and pick out the key words that indicate the candidate that they’re after. It might be words like: team player, future leader, analytical, numerate, detail focused, commercially aware or creative. Ensure that these words or similar are addressed and evidenced in your form. Make them easy to find by using short succinct sentences. If numeracy is listed as a core competency required by your prospective employer, ensure that you are confident in your numerical reasoning test abilities.

3. Check the accuracy of your application forms. Ensure that you check and check again. It can be challenging to review your own work so ask a friend, family member or colleague to read your application and give you feedback.  If you can’t get all your spelling and grammar right in your job application, what are the chances that you’ll have good attention to detail in the job itself? Organisations often use error checking tests in order to assess candidate’s ability to review.

4. Format your application forms. This is very important because you need to make your application form easy to digest. Formatting is exceptionally important. Make your sentences short, concise and to the point. Hiring managers will be reading a lot of application forms so make yours easy for them to read.

5. Be Truthful in your Application. It’s important to remember that your application form is just a passport to the next stage when you can demonstrate what you’re really made of! Despite this make sure you can back up what you put in your application in the interview and assessment centre. If you have said you’re highly numerate then you need to achieve a good score in your numerical reasoning test. After submitting your applications forms the next stage of a graduate scheme application will either be a telephone interview or online psychometric tests, but almost all schemes will include a competency interview at some point in the process so do make sure that you don’t over state anything that the hiring manager will no doubt probe at interview. If you need help with preparing for your interview you can find it here.

6. Be yourself – Hiring managers or HR recruitment managers will likely be reading a lot of application forms, so make every word count and make sure you include some personality in it!

7. Don’t forget your psychometric tests – It’s common for organisations who use psychometric tests as part of their hiring process to re-test candidates when they come into the office for their interview or assessment centre day. Once you’ve passed your online psychometric test keep practicing until you’ve secured your job offer. Employers most commonly re-test candidates using a numerical reasoning test or verbal reasoning test.