Graduate schemes are notoriously competitive so it’s important you make your application stand out in a crowded job market. Here are some pointers to help you achieve this:

1) Excel in your psychometric tests

Employers use psychometric tests because they offer an objective way of assessing 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 other job applicants. Achieving high scores in these tests will help separate you from other candidates. If you’re looking for advice and tips on how to excel at psychometric tests, you can find some here.

2) Identify the core competencies the hiring manager seeks

You need to ensure your application demonstrates all the key attributes the firm has specified in their job ad or graduate marketing materials. Research both the company and the job carefully, picking out the keywords that indicate the candidate they’re after. You might spot words and phrases such as team player, future leader, analytical, numerate, detail focused, commercially aware or creative. Ensure these words (or similar) are addressed and evidenced in your application, and make them stand out by using short, succinct sentences. If numeracy is listed as a core competency, ensure you are confident in your numerical reasoning test abilities.

3) Check the accuracy of your application form

It can be challenging to objectively review your own work, so ask a trusted friend, family member or colleague to read your application and provide feedback. If you can’t even get the spelling and grammar right in your job application, why should a potential employer assume you’ll have good attention to detail in everyday tasks? Organisations often use error checking tests in order to assess a candidate’s ability to review.

4) Format your application form

Formatting is exceptionally important because you need to ensure your application form is easy to digest. Make your sentences short, concise, and to the point. Hiring managers review 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! Nonetheless, you should always be able to back up anything you include in your application in the interview and/or assessment centre stages. If you have said you’re highly numerate, then you need to achieve a great score in your numerical reasoning test. After submitting your application, the next stage of a graduate scheme application will likely be either a telephone interview or online psychometric tests. Whatever the exact process, almost all schemes will include a competency interview at some point, so be careful not to overstate anything that the hiring manager will probe during interviews. If you need help preparing for your interview, you can find it here.

6) Be yourself

Hiring managers and HR recruitment managers will be reading a lot of application forms, so make every word count and ensure you let your personality shine!

7) Don’t forget your psychometric tests

It’s common for organisations who use psychometric tests 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.