Today I will be sharing with you my top 10 tips for writing frontrunner applications.
A frontrunner placement can help you gain valuable experience in working for a department on campus and you can use the skills that you have learnt throughout the placement to showcase your employability to future employers.
Frontrunner placements are very competitive and in order to get to the next stage of recruitment, you have to make sure your application is the best it can be. Don’t worry, I have put together some steps that I always do when I apply for a frontrunner position:
- Start by looking through the list of placements and pick a small subset containing all the placements that have caught your eye. Make sure you pick the appropriate level for the frontrunner placements.
- Read carefully the description of each one of the placements that you have chosen initially. At this point, you can further reduce your list to only have your top three placements.
- Estimate how long it takes you to write a frontrunner application. Take into account whether you are applying to more than one placement, in some cases you may be able to reuse some of your answers, but nonetheless you will spend more time that way.
- Before you start with the first application have your CV ready. This has to be submitted alongside your application and it should be just as good as the frontrunner application. I find it useful to keep my LinkedIn account up to date, because I can use it to tailor each of my CVs to match the placement I am applying for. Since your CV should not be more than 2 pages long, it is good to keep a record of the activities and jobs that you are doing throughout the years all in one place.
- Fill in your details such as name, address, year of study first. Get them out the way in order to focus on answering the next questions on the application. That way, you will not forget to do it, or rush writing them at the very end.
- Think about why you want that particular placement position. Is there a particular skill you might want to develop, or does this position come hand in hand with your future career plans? Give enough details in this part, because it is important to let the department know that you are motivated and know where you are headed career wise. You might also find it useful to research the department first, see what they are involved in and use this to show that you have done your research thoroughly.
- After writing the answers to some of the questions, check to see how you are doing in terms of the word limits. A good rule of thumb is to keep in between -10% or +10% of the mentioned word limit. The idea is not to write too little, but not too much either. You will have an interview if your application was successful, where you will be able to go in even more detail.
- The essential and desirable criteria questions are probably the most important in my opinion. Here you can truly show that you have all the skills required for the placement in question. I always find it useful to quickly draw a table on paper for each one of the criteria types, where I write down the skill names and the activities, positions and experience that I have to back up each one of the skills. This also helps me not to repeat myself in the following questions and keep track of what examples I have given. After this, all you have to do is go into more detail in each one of the examples that you have on your list. For doing this, keep in mind to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) technique.
- Write down the potential benefits that you may get fromworking in this position and how are these benefits going to help you in the future. If you know what you would like to do work as after you finish, then you should include it in the application. Specifically, mention how is this placement going to support your career decision.
- Last but not least, proof-read everything you have written again and again. That is why is important to leave enough time before the deadline. Put the application away and come back a day later and read it again. You might find that some things need to be redone even though at the time of writing they all made sense. At this stage, focus on the detail of your application in order to make it stand out and guarantee you a place in the interview stage.
Very good luck to everyone that is applying for the next round of frontrunner applications!