Managing Job Applications If The Deadline Is In A Few Hours

Graduate jobs

March 24, 2020

In the process of job hunting, the first step — finding the opportunities to apply to — is an arduous one. There is a deluge of grad schemes and opportunities. For an international student, these opportunities need to pass another litmus test  — that they should be able to sponsor a Tier 2 Visa (work permit) in order for you to be able to stay and work in the UK after graduation. While there are plenty of graduate schemes and job openings that pass this test, the ones in your field and aligned with your interest, might be few. 

In light of this, it is imperative to find the right opportunities at the right time. However, it isn’t uncommon that students strike gold as they find a role or an opening that perfectly aligns with their objectives, only to discover that the opportunity closes on the same day. 


In an ideal world, you would want to have enough time to browse through opportunities, to frame your responses to the application questions, consult with peers and/or careers advisors and iron out the knots. There are many recruiters accepting applications on a rolling basis too, so you can work at your own pace and aim to send in your application as early in the game as comfortably possible.

In the real world, however, you may end up finding an opportunity just a day before or even on the same day as the deadline. It is important to remember not to panic if this happens. Maybe a Student Circus newsletter listed an opportunity for you, or you found a graduate scheme being talked about on social media or perhaps your careers advisor pointed you in the direction of an opportunity. Here is how you can effectively and efficiently deal with the time crunch and process your application:


Pre-empt this situation by preparing beforehand

When you set out to apply in the UK job market, you should pre-empt such a situation. As an international student, you are already pressed for time, so you should make provisions for such an event. If you find out about a job too late in the day, be prepared with your application tools. Your plan of action should look like this:
Make a list of the questions most asked by employers and create some standard, framework responses for those.
Keep all your degrees, transcripts and other documents with credentials scanned and ready in a folder.
Keep a draft of an application essay handy to edit.

Get to work immediately


You are painfully aware that time is running out. Chalk up a strategy to get through with the application in 3 hours. For starters, sign out of all distractions — log out of social media, put your phone on silent. Those notifications can wait. Set yourself up with a cup of coffee or tea and once you are all charged, sit down and use your application tools to start filling the application form.


Once you have filled the form, take a break, unwind for a few minutes and come back to your desk with a fresh mind. Read your responses as a recruiter would. Iron out the typos, reframe sentences that seem repetitive and proofread thoroughly.


There is a time and a place when and where you can go the extra mile — and you don’t have that time


All students want to set their application apart from the crowd, but that takes a lot of effort and time. If this is your dream job, you would not want to leave any stone unturned to make an impression. However, if you are well-qualified for the job and have been working to hone your CV and skills towards your dream job, even a simple CV should suffice. Same goes for the cover letter.
You don’t have time to chalk up a fancy cover letter, instead, you can devote whatever little time you have to ensure that the cover letter boasts of impeccable grammar and a great recommendation for your candidature.

Instead, it is time to play safe. Keep your CV short and crisp. Use bullet points and metrics to reflect your performance in past roles. Catch the recruiter’s attention through your achievements or leadership skills by highlighting them. 


Thumb rule: no extension, no late application


You cannot apply late primarily because the application forms are often automated and close down at the deadline. It is also not advisable to ask for an extension as grad schemes and applications are highly competitive and the organisations rarely entertain requests for extensions. They will not make any exceptions for any candidate, no matter how good they are. 


Devote more time to your cover letter


As a prospective applicant, you probably already have a CV designed and prepared to land in the recruiter’s inbox. What you will need time with is the cover letter. So if you find yourself 3 hours to the deadline, spend time on your cover letter talking about how your previous experience or academic profile fits well with the role. 


As a student in the final year, always stay alert and always stay prepared!


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