Top tips for graduates to handle a large number of applications

It’s harsh, but it’s true. Most graduates will not get the job they want immediately after finishing their studies.

Just before the end of my undergraduate degree in May 2016, I was fortunate enough to get an internship with the University of Stirling. However, due to cutbacks only enough funding was allocated to hire someone for June, July, August and September. When it became clear that they could not hire me after the end of September, the frantic process of planning and applications began.

In the year and a half since then I have learned a lot about how to cope with the draining process of sending large numbers of applications, knowing that only a tiny percentage will lead to an interview, and an even smaller percentage could lead to a job.

This post will outline some of the essential tips for making the applications process more time efficient and will hopefully allow you to find the crack in the employment wall where you can get your start.


Clearly specify your target job:

I thought when I first started applying for lots of jobs that the larger the amount I sent away would itself mean an increased chance of getting interviews and a job. However, the quantity is only valuable if you are being matched to the roles where you have the ideal skills and qualifications.

Each application is to an individual employer, and they will inevitably be more attracted to a candidate who has a CV tailored specifically for that position, than a generic CV which has been sent off unchanged for 50 other applications.


Write Generic CVs:

Even after you specialise, you can still save yourself time in the future by making generic CVs for each type of job, so that you only have to edit a little bit for each application.

For example I have written generic CVs for:

  • Public Relations Consultancy applications
  • Public Affairs Consultancy applications
  • WordPress position application


Sign up to “weekly” email recommendations:

If you sign up to websites such as and you sign up for daily updates then you have to be prepared to deal with an impossibly high number of recommendations, most of which will not be suited to you.

As I am working on various professional projects and also part time I have to limit the number of applications that I concentrate on delivering if I am going to deal with them effectively. Therefore, I find that with a weekly notification I can isolate the most interesting opportunities and focus my energies only on the ideal applications.


Email your potential employer directly:

In all the chaos with hundreds of potential opportunities passing by it is possible to miss the real gems that will lead to your dream career.

So I have taken to emailing desirable employers directly even when no job, internship, or graduate scheme is listed on their website. By doing this you can potentially impress your employer with your initiative, and get specific dates to apply for any existing or potential upcoming vacancies later in the year.

But do not pester them, or they might block you as email spam.


Use LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is the best social media network for all professional networking, showcasing your development and employability, and also for subtle methods of locating opportunities.

One of the best features of LinkedIn for establishing subtle connections which can increase your opportunities is that when you go onto an organisation’s page you can see if you have any connections that currently work there, and any mutual connections which you have with all of the current employees on LinkedIn.

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