Graduate Blogger Lewis Shepherd on ‘The Application Complication’

31 March, 2014

Graduate Blogger Lewis Shepherd on ‘The Application Complication’

31 March, 2014
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Guest blogger Lewis Shepherd spoke to Instant Impact, the internship recruitment agency, about the nightmare of graduate applications and why graduates need to know about other career options out there. Ever thought about interning in an SME to try out your hand at a given sector and make yourself more employable to companies hiring graduates?


For those who are trying to break into the creative industries whether its in journalism, marketing, fashion, advertising or PR it can feel as though it’s easier to get through immigration or break into a bank vault, wearing a very fetching yet itchy balaclava, than kicking down that otherwise heavily padlocked door.

It’s an annoyance that will come to all of us who are trying to make it in a very difficult industry where unpaid internships, extremely long hours and a second job are the norm. But aside from the fact that for many, the majority of these jobs are located in London, thus making it hard to afford the move from wherever you’re currently located, the biggest annoyance when it comes to trying to crack the creative industries is the dreaded application form.

We’ve all endured it and we’ve sighed a nauseating sigh of disbelief once we’ve downloaded the seemingly never ending questions on the application form that wants to know everything about you, the fact there isn’t a question regarding your inside leg measurement is actually surprising.

The first thing they make you want to do is scream, run away and hide under your duvet at the sheer thought of filling out this form. It’s a generally tedious task that asks you everything that is already on your CV, so after spending a large chunk of time copy and pasting your previous experience and education into some boxes that clearly haven’t been formatted properly by a company that demands excellent Microsoft Word skills in their job description, you can almost feel the laziness pour over you.

However this isn’t the end as you then have to make yourself sound like the best candidate for the job in the relevant experience section, which is just asking you to tell them how you match up to the criteria in the person spec, which isn’t only a monotonous task that can take hours but also makes you feel vastly pretentious as it makes it sound as though the sun shines out of your behind. If that isn’t bad enough the section after this asks for more information about you that you may not have covered in the previous section, so you find yourself mentioning rubbish like you once mowed your grandmother's grass and that you were a top student in primary school because you have run out of self promotion in the last section and quite simply can’t think of anything else they would want to know. Maybe you drop your inside leg measurement in as a thought.

Alas the application form isn't the only annoying thing about applying for jobs within the creative industries. If they aren't asking for a 500-page application form to be submitted then they’re asking for a CV, cover letter and in my case examples of previously published work. Now for many people who have to work as well as apply for these jobs they don’t have the time to have written much for other companies, because they’re either searching though umpteen pages of search results on job sites to find jobs that then takes 3 hours to apply for, there simply aren't enough hours in the day.

Usually after sending this they then ask you for a written piece that they assign to you, if they haven’t already asked for this in the first instance. The worst part is after spending hours doing this you rarely hear back or get a rejection email that could give feedback due to the high volume of applicants, it just makes you think “why do I even bother?”

I find myself asking what’s wrong with a simple application process of your CV and a brief hello in the email because surely they will find out if you’re right for the job at the interview? That’s if you even make it to the interview. But apparently this would make it far too easy for you and the people reviewing the applications may have to do some serious interviewing, when clearly they’d rather interview a small handful.

It’s a sad state of affairs that so many creative people are failing at cracking the industry because they just can’t get their big break due to excessive job searching and application forms, which can restrict the time to be creative and create published work, or simply because the vast size of the application form is just emphasising a wave of laziness that has already been brought on by months of daytime TV and unsatisfying menial work.


Lewis Shepherd is a journalism graduate and now a freelance journalist currently based in a the North West. He has covered a wide range of subjects in his work such as; film, music, television, travel, health, relationships, LGBT affairs and student news. He currently writes for a number of websites including the Huffington Post. You can check out his blogspot here. 

If you're disillusioned by the graduate scheme process and want to try your hand at the fast-paced world of working in SMEs, then talk to Instant Impact, the paid internship and graduate recruitment agency, who specialise in uniting fast-growing SMEs with top graduates.

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