Career Talk

/ 9 months ago /

 Article by Graduate Coach

Mistakes to avoid when applying for graduate jobs

It’s easy to make mistakes when applying for graduate jobs. These mistakes can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your applications and subsequently your chances of landing the right graduate job for you.  

In this post, we will outline 3 mistakes candidates often make when applying for their first graduate job and how you can avoid them. 

Not fully demonstrating your skills and competencies

Ultimately, graduate recruiters are looking for candidates who have the potential to thrive in the role and who will make a good cultural fit for the company. 

Companies design their application processes to identify these candidates, and the hiring teams are trained to identify the right candidates. 

It is your job to accurately demonstrate your skills and competencies. Doing this is mutually beneficial, as it will help the company to determine if you’re right for the job, and it will help you to determine if the opportunity is right for you. 

Tips for demonstrating your skills and competencies:

  • List out your key skills 
  • Be specific about how you have acquired and developed your skills
  • Use figures to quantify your achievements
  • Use the STAR method when articulating your competencies (see diagram below)
  • Demonstrate your skills and competencies throughout the entire application process

For more tips on how to effectively convey your skills to employers, grab a copy of The Student Book, written by Graduate Coach, Chris Davies.

mistakes to avoid graduate

Limiting your chances of being found by employers

You might feel as though you need to do all of the work when it comes to finding a graduate-level job. However, this is not the case. Graduate recruiters are actively looking for candidates with the potential to do well in the role. 

Many of the graduate employers have a budget that they use to achieve this. There are many ways in which you can make yourself more visible to potential employers.

Action point: Ensure that your profile on Debut is complete and that your profile visibility is switched on so that employers can send you Talent Spots.

Applying for jobs in a state of panic

Many graduates feel the pressure to have a job lined up or to land a job soon after graduation. This sends some candidates into a state of panic and they start sending out large numbers of low-quality applications and hoping for the best. 

Getting a job should not be the sole focus; getting the right job for you should be. To achieve this, you must take a strategic approach to your graduate job search. 

Action point: Be sure to read our post on discovering your career path. After reading this post you will understand your career typology. Knowing your career typology is the foundation for working out what career path is right for you. 


In this post, we’ve outlined 3 common mistakes candidates often make when they are applying for their first graduate job. 

  • Demonstrate your skills and competencies throughout the entire application process. 
  • Increase your visibility to graduate recruiters – remember, they are actively looking for potential candidates. 
  • Focus on getting the right job for you, not just any job. The key to getting the right job is by working out your career typology.


Don’t forget to check out our other posts on  ‘How to build a career plan’ and ‘How to answer difficult interview questions’!

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