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Jaguar Land Rover graduate application

How to get hired by Jaguar Land Rover: cover letter and interview advice

Find out everything you need to know if you’re thinking of applying to one of Jaguar Land Rover’s graduate schemes or undergraduate placements.

The Jaguar Land Rover recruitment process starts with an online application form, which includes the option of uploading a CV and covering letter – we recommend you take up this opportunity. The next steps are some online tests and an assessment centre, which will involve a number of activities and interviews. This advice will help you with both your covering letter and your interviews.

What to put in your Jaguar Land Rover graduate cover letter

Jaguar Land Rover recruiters will use your covering letter to get a better picture of your experience, reasons for applying and what type of employee you might be. Your CV will support this, too, but the cover letter is your chance to elaborate and inject a bit more human being into your application.

1) Open by introducing yourself

Just as if you were meeting a Jaguar Land Rover recruiter at a careers fair, it makes sense to start by saying who you are: you don’t need to give your name (you’ll sign off with that) but you could include your academic year, subject and expected grade, for example. Briefly describe the main career goal you plan to work towards if you become a Jaguar Land Rover graduate. If you’re applying to its finance scheme, for instance, you could mention how keen you are to gain your CIMA qualification in the next few years.

2) Why you?

You might think it’s obvious from your CV that a) you really want this job with Jaguar Land Rover and b) you have the skills for it. In reality, it’s your covering letter that makes your strongest points stand out. It also enables you to give examples to make you even stronger in the eyes of Jaguar Land Rover recruiters. Use it to argue why they should offer you a job.

Include examples of the skills and qualities you have that Jaguar Land Rover seeks in its graduates. For example, you could say that you think you would fit in as a Jaguar Land Rover graduate because you are willing to take on responsibility, as demonstrated when you volunteered to train as a first aider so that your climbing club could carry on meeting.

The above is a good example of how ‘unrelated’ work experience can be used to support your application, as well as any related work experience.

Take a look at Jaguar Land Rover's advertisement in this year's Guardian UK 300. Here you'll find a list of key core skills. You could also mention skills and qualities that are specific to your scheme, which you can extrapolate from the role description. For its supply chain and logistics programme, for instance, it is looking for analytical thinkers who thrive in high-pressure situations.

3) Why them?

There are loads of graduate employers you could apply to if you want to work in the automotive industry; engineering graduates could easily choose to work in a different industry sector; and if you want to work in any of the non-engineering roles Jaguar Land Rover offers (property, finance and marketing to name but a few) you could apply to multiple other employers. JLR’s recruiters will be aware of this and will only consider applicants who they think will take the job if they are offered it. How do you convince them that you really want to work for them?

The best way is to say what you think stands out about Jaguar Land Rover in its products, as a business and as an employer. Base this on what initially comes to mind when you think of Jaguar Land Rover, and do your research to get more ideas. Look at the language Jaguar Land Rover uses to describe itself. There is mention of its ‘discerning customers’, for example – perhaps you are motivated by knowing that you are helping produce a high quality product that meets a very specific design brief.

Whatever aspects of the company you choose to talk about, tie it in to your own career development and ambitions, otherwise it will sound like empty flattery. For example, you could mention Jaguar Land Rover's announcement that from 2020 all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be electrified and say that you are very keen to be involved in the development of electrified vehicles. This is a big topic in the automotive industry at the moment so make sure you've read up on what Jaguar Land Rover is doing in this area. For example, which new electric models did it unveil from its past, present and future at its Tech Fest? And what has it recently said about how Brexit is affecting its decisions in the electric market? You could also go one step further and investigate what its competitors are also doing.

4) Close by signing off politely

Thank the recruiters for considering your application and say that you look forward to hearing from them.

The nature of a Jaguar Land Rover interview

Jaguar Land Rover interviews candidates as part of the assessment day. This could include a behavioural interview (competency based), a strengths-based interview and, for some schemes such as engineering, a technical interview.

Competency-based interviews at Jaguar Land Rover

Competency-based interviews are based around the candidate’s previous experiences. When answering the questions, JLR recommends setting the scene before describing what you did, how you went about it and what the outcome was. It also encourages you to talk about how you solved the problem or improved the situation and what you learned as a result.

The competencies tested are likely to be linked to the company's customer first principles, which JLR describes as its business behaviours. These are:

  • Transparent
  • Personalised
  • Make me feel special
  • Easy to do business with
  • Dependable

There are also JLR's five core values, which are shared with its parent company TATA:

  • Integrity
  • Pioneering
  • Excellence
  • Unity
  • Responsibility

You can find out more about these behaviours and values on JLR’s website. When answering your interview questions, think about how you can highlight where you've acted in sync with any of these principles or values.

The following give a feel for questions that previous candidates have been asked and how you could approach them. However, don't assume that you'll be asked the same thing this year.

Past question: Why do you want to work for Jaguar Land Rover?

The trick here is to do your research into Jaguar Land Rover, then link what you find out to your own interests.

If you’re applying for an engineering role, perhaps you’re attracted to Jaguar Land Rover’s description of itself as ‘The UK’s biggest investor in manufacturing research and development’. Maybe you are interested in its developments in powertrain, hybrids, electronics or entertainment systems? But don’t just say ‘This interests me’ – back up your claim by linking it to something you’ve done in the past, such as a university project, personal project, work project or favourite module that involved the relevant technology.

Maybe you’re attracted to Jaguar Land Rover’s aim of reducing the environmental impact of its vehicles. This includes developments in the use of aluminium to produce lighter cars that are more fuel-efficient and have lower emissions, plus a commitment to using recycled aluminium where possible. If you’re an engineering graduate, perhaps you could link this to your enjoyment of an environmental engineering module or involvement with the relevant technology. If you’re from a non-technical background, you could show your interest in environmental issues at a broader level by discussing your involvement with, say, a recycling project or a conservation charity.

Applying for a sales or marketing role? Perhaps you have experience of finding innovative ways of ‘selling’ a vision of a product or service to potential customers and love JLR's Virtual Reality Experience. This allows customers to take a virtual tour of a life-size model through a VR headset. Maybe in the past you have attempted to attract a broader group of people to a product, service or university society, and would enjoy the challenge of encouraging more female customers to buy JLR’s vehicles. Or it might be that you pride yourself on your language skills or cultural awareness and are interested in the company’s expansion into emerging markets such as China.

Past question: Tell me about a time when you have helped someone or corrected someone who was doing the wrong thing

‘Doing the wrong thing’ doesn’t have to mean ‘behaving badly’. You could have helped someone who was failing to follow a process or to apply a particular technique, which would have led to negative consequences for themselves or others. Have you dealt with someone who was making technical or mathematical errors on an engineering project? Getting a sporting technique wrong or using gym equipment incorrectly and risking injury? Or perhaps making an admin task more long-winded than it needed to be by not following guidelines?

This question ties in with a number of Jaguar Land Rover’s core values and customer first principles.

The first is ‘unity’ – did you have a good enough relationship beforehand for the person in question to be open to your advice or guidance? How did you manage to share your knowledge or skills to help them achieve their goal?

The second is ‘integrity’. How did you communicate with or inspire the person to change their approach? Was it your sense of honesty and integrity that led you to take action – or did these inform the way you approached the situation?

You may also be able to bring in ‘pioneering’, if you needed to respond quickly or think of a new approach, and possibly also ‘excellence’, if you were attempting to ensure that a product/service/event was delivered on time or to the right standard.

Past question: Describe a situation where you have been particularly persistent

‘Persistent’ needn’t mean ‘annoying’. Think instead about whether you have been able to keep working towards a goal in the face of obstacles.

You may have been persistent by yourself, for example to master a skill that you were struggling with or to improve a product that you were designing or building that you weren’t happy with (this would show that you fit with its core value of 'excellence'). Or you might have been persistent with a client while on internship to provide you with information you needed while keeping him or her on side. Think about why you felt the need to be persistent and any interpersonal skills you needed in order to achieve this.

Past question: Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision

Have you had to make a quick decision to solve a problem, for example to deal with a particularly angry customer or to keep a performance of a university musical running when the lighting board suddenly died? Or maybe you’ve had to react quickly to take up an opportunity, such as a last-minute offer of summer work that clashed with other plans, or the chance to take over as president of a society when your predecessor stepped down suddenly at a time when you already had heavy academic workload. Be prepared to talk through the factors you needed to consider, how you prioritised them and what you considered to be the most important goal to achieve.

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