Applying for your first graduate role

Applying for your first graduate role

It’s almost time to start applying for your first role as an engineer. With so many companies in the industry to consider, where do you start?

Renita Rajan, Talent Acquisition & HR Advisor, shares some quick tips on how to assess the companies you would like to work for and position yourself to stand out when applying and interviewing for jobs.

Identifying the companies you would like to work for

When thinking about the companies you would like to work for, firstly you need to consider what it is you are looking for in your first role as a graduate. Some of the things to consider are:

• Do the values of the company align with yours?

• Size of the company – are you looking to work for a small, medium or large company? All have their pros and cons, for example you may find a larger company has a more structured graduate program, whereas a smaller company may have something less structured but have more flexibility to grow your career.

• The type of projects the company is working on.

You may decide that you would like to apply for a few different companies to see what they all have to offer before determining which suits you best.

Putting your application together

Once you have decided which companies you would like to apply for, you will need to put your application together. It is important to attach your cover letter, CV and academic transcript. Renita shares some tips on writing a strong cover letter and CV.

Cover Letter

Your cover letter is your opportunity to let the company know who you are and why you are the right person for the role. Your cover letter should outline what you are passionate about, how the role relates to this and what you hope to achieve out of the role.

• Start by introducing yourself and identifying the role you have applied for and the reason for your interest in the role.

• Move on by speaking about your background, however, refrain from regurgitating what is already in your CV. Instead use this opportunity to expand on your experience by relating it to the requirements of the role.

• Close by thanking the employer for taking the time to consider your application and refer them to your CV for further details on your experience.

• Your cover letter should be no more than one page.


Your CV should outline your skills, qualification and experience and should be no more than two pages. You may want to start by writing out all your thoughts and then paraphrase or cut out anything irrelevant.

• Start with a quick personal summary, however, keep it brief as you have already covered a lot of this in your cover letter.

• Outline your education and qualifications.

• Outline your experience – you may want to talk about your internship in this section, however, do this in a bullet point structure to keep it simple.


Now that you have been selected for an interview you will need to ensure you are prepared. Ensure you have a good understanding of the company, the markets they operate in and the key trends/issues facing the industry. Also:

• Have your story ready regarding why the role and the company appealed to you.

• Dress to impress – first impressions last so make sure you come into the interview well dressed in business attire.

• Prepare for the interview by answering a few potential questions.

• Have questions that you would like to ask the employer.

Reviewing and accepting an offer

You may receive a few offers that you will then need to review and compare against each other. Generally, salaries for a graduate level role are largely similar. Focus on what the companies have to offer you in terms of your development and the alignment of their values with yours rather than choosing a company that provides you with the highest salary.

Congratulations on graduating and all the best with your career in engineering.

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Monique Roberts

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