Recently I have seen quite a few students on quick query who are struggling with demonstrating their motivation in cover letters or application form questions. It is quite tricky to get right. I am very much a believer that you need to try and talk with someone from the organisation you are applying to and then hopefully you will have learnt a little bit extra about the company beyond the website. This will help you connect with the company and explain your interest in them a bit more personally. I’m surprised that students applying for summer internships and placements don’t make more effort to find out if anyone from their course is currently on placement at the company or in a similar role. Also you shouldn’t forget those who have returned to Bath having worked there. I have been able to point out to some students that I know there is someone who has returned from placement because I’ve met them. However it’s not just a case of getting in touch it is also about thinking carefully what you will ask.
I was talking to one of my regular final year students and he was telling me he had been approached by second years for advice as a result of his placement last year. He said to me he’s very busy at the moment with his own applications and course work so he is more inclined to respond positively to the student who shows they have done their research and asks a specific question rather than the person who is very vague about what they want or appears to expect him to do all the work. It’s a good point to remember in networking that no-one owes you any help. You can win someone over to giving you some advice if you show you are properly engaged with your research on the organisation and job role. This is really about respecting your contact's time. Think about what you need to know before you contact them and then be specific. There are some useful questions you can ask a network contact in our Finding a Graduate Job Guide on page 7. I hope I don't need to tell you to say thank you and let them know if you were successful. Careers Advisers also like hearing from students they have helped so if you spoken to us do let us know how you've got on.