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Leading search and talent consultancy, Wickland Westcott, is calling for graduates to improve their appeal to employers if they want to land top executive jobs and develop long term careers.

The executive recruitment specialist has found that, despite limited career opportunities, many graduates are not going the extra mile to stand out from the crowd with prospective employers, with some seemingly unable to even get the basics right, like spelling and grammar.

Colin Mercer, Managing Director at Wickland Westcott, said: “Given the large number of graduate job applicants in Britain and the low number of opportunities available, the fact that employers are experiencing some difficulty in recruiting highly-skilled candidates is worrying.

“We are just one of many companies in the UK that have developed a graduate scheme that offers real opportunity, yet are struggling to fill the roles. Along with other organisations, we have encountered many candidates who appear to lack communication skills, technical expertise or commercial awareness. To be clear, there are some diamonds out there, but there are also a lot of graduates who, if their application paperwork is anything to go by, simply aren’t that bothered.”

As part of Wickland Westcott’s graduate scheme, university leavers have the opportunity to apply for an administration position based at the company’s London office, with the prospect of being taken on as a consultant following a successful 12 month probation period.  

Colin continues: “Last year, we received a staggering 500 applications. However, out of these, only 20 were suitable for interview, and just two were considered right for the position. This year the calibre has been equally low. Application errors include the title of the role they are applying for, the name of the company they are applying to and misunderstandings about the location of the role, even though all are clearly specified in the advert.”

Matt Rand, who graduated from The University of Sheffield, is the latest successful applicant to have been appointed to the position, and he has now been promoted to a consultant. Commenting on his experience, Matt said: “Gaining the job at Wickland Westcott has been a fantastic opportunity to get my foot in the door of a company which offers real opportunity to progress. These types of graduate positions are extremely competitive and applicants need to think about how they can stand out and make a lasting impression.

“It is very difficult for graduates at the moment, chasing a limited number of scarce roles. But my advice is to prepare thoroughly. It’s important to do your homework about the company and think about the potential questions that might be asked. It’s also essential to portray the skills and competencies that will differentiate yourself from the competition. An application form is a good way for a company to determine how well you will perform in the job, so it’s vital that you spend ample time ensuring it is perfect.”


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