Graduate Programme Applications: Do’s and Don’ts

Graduate programme application season is BACK! Last year, I applied to four graduate programmes, reaching the final stage of two with one of them being pulled due to COVID-19 and the video interview stage of the others. So, it is fair to say I have experienced it all from assessment centres, second round interviews and those dreaded psychometric tests. Below are some tips and tricks I have picked up along the way, and I will be using again especially as the job market becomes more competitive due to COVID-19.


Do tailor your application to each specific role. Employers are looking to see that you can demonstrate the competencies required for the position and that you can show your interest in working for their company.

Do reach out to people who have completed your desired graduate programme to get application tips and a better insight into what the role entails.

Do include a variety of interests, hobbies, and experiences throughout your application as this will demonstrate your transferable skills to the employer.

Do practice psychometric tests and online video interviews before the real thing, allowing you to become familiar with the format in advance.

Do register with Grad Ireland to ensure you are kept updated with all of the latest graduate programme news, events and available positions.

Do keep track of your job applications, approaching deadlines and the stage you have reached. This tip is inspired by @mindthegapgraduates who has a job tracker spreadsheet available for download


Don’t use fancy CV formats when submitting an online application. Online applications are often screened by a computer during the initial stages and prefer a plain text format.

Don’t leave any parts of the application process to the last minute. Some of the stages along the application process are time-consuming with preparation required to give yourself the best chance at succeeding.

Don’t forget to reach out to your referees in advance. Some applications require the contact details of your referee whilst others want a completed reference to be submitted along with your initial application.

Don’t feel pressured into applying for graduate programmes just because everyone else is. Whilst it is great to have a position secured for once you graduate, it is not essential. Why not consider other options like taking a year out, pursuing further education or move aboard for the year, giving you time to consider what it is you want to do in the future.

Follow The Irish Graduate on Instagram as we continue to navigate graduate and student life together.

What is meant for you won’t pass you by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s