Online application formTerm has barely started; your first assignment deadline is not even due yet and you have still not even unpacked – surely it is too early to be thinking about applications, right?

Well not quite. Applications to join the NAO’s graduate scheme in 2016 opened earlier this week and you’ll want to make sure you are prepared. The first step (but by no means the last step) to this preparation is reading this blog post.

Before you even open up the application form you should make sure you are familiar with the NAO and the work we do. Keeping abreast of current affairs can be a good way since our reports are often referenced in the media. Another good way is to attend careers fairs (a blog post on this will be up shortly). However, by far the best way is to go to the source: the NAO website. Here you can find pages on what we do, how we do it, and our recent publications.

You should also visit our graduate recruitment site where we specify our Competency Framework. This is the criteria by which we assess all applications so make sure you keep it in mind when making your application and ensure that all of your answers reflect the competency skills we are looking for.

Armed with this knowledge, you are now ready to proceed to the application.

The following are some of my tips to making a good application:

  • Make sure you apply everything you write to the competencies, explicitly making the link between what you did and the competencies.
  • Structure your sentences and paragraphs so that they are clear and concise.
  • Keep within the word limit.
  • Do not copy and paste paragraphs from other applications. The competencies are specific to the NAO and other firms will have different competencies.
  • Be honest. You may be asked to discuss an answer at the interview.

Finally, once you have finished your application, remember to relax – at least until your first assignment deadline.

Now go forth and apply.

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