Graduate applications for Bloomberg: tips for being different

The invitation to be who you are is important – (channelled) individualism is an important part of Bloomberg’s self-image.

The application form for a graduate post with Bloomberg is a little different.

You have to attach a CV and answer this: ‘Please explain in no more than 75 words why you are interested in a career at Bloomberg’.

However, the form takes a different turn with the section headed, ‘Add more personality to your application’ and then ‘Include a cover letter, work samples, or any other documents and information to help us know that you are the right person for the job’. You can also add links to your blog or articles you’ve had published online.

Bloomberg application form tip: express yourself

The invitation to be who you are is important – (channelled) individualism is an important part of Bloomberg’s self-image.

So how do you achieve a balance between self-expression and ticking a few more very useful boxes in terms of what’s normally considered best in an application?

The first thing to decide is whether or not to include a covering letter, as the decision is entirely yours. You could, instead, attach a university project or a thoughtful article you’ve written that’s pertinent to Bloomberg’s work.

Fortunately it’s not an either/or option, and you can attach all of the above plus a covering letter. Frankly, it’s a bit odd not to include one as a cover letter to Bloomberg is – to state the obvious – a great way of letting Bloomberg know why it should hire you.

But you’ll have to think about what to focus on as, remember, elsewhere on the form you have to explain why you want to work for Bloomberg and what your most relevant skills and experiences are.

Bloomberg application tip: fillet and focus

Indeed, your cover letter is a great place to focus upon just one or two of those skills in a case study style. Choose an example that has strong anecdotal and intellectual value – and one where you can really give some strong context and analysis of what you did, why and its positive impact. Don’t think that your example has to be epic: you needn’t have launched a two-day student music festival with seven stages, two dance tents and a comedy corner. Fantastic if you have but you can use any example as long as you show how you have learned from your experience – your analytical and reflective skills are what Bloomberg wants to see.

Should you repeat the 75 words you’ve written elsewhere in the application stating why you want to work for Bloomberg? That wouldn’t make sense. But what you can do is pick a key reason and make it striking. For example, what if you likened the work you want to do to the joy of solving a Rubik’s Cube – turning all the pieces of the puzzle the right way for a client –and then gave a cracking example of how you’ve made something maddeningly complex simple for someone?

Bloomberg application form tip: be proud of who you are

Bloomberg wants you to write about your proudest achievement. It does so because it seeks employees who can champion their own successes, the successes of the firm and the successes of its clients. It likes its new recruits to be outgoing, individually driven, able to adapt to any given situation and extremely innovative in their approaches, while still producing high-quality results. It even invented its own term for these qualities, ‘the New Type B’.

You should be upbeat in your assessment of your abilities but should not write an unbelievable tale of heroism. ‘Please tell us about your proudest achievement’ is, in many ways, no different from any one of those typical, tricky interview questions about your ability to manage time, show initiative or overcome adversity. In fact, you may have needed to do all three in your proudest moment. The key, as always, is to use the STAR method when describing what you’ve done.

You should also prove you can work across functions as this is really important to many roles at Bloomberg. For instance, one where you might need economics skills, writing skills, language ability, sales skills, project management and even some sophisticated IT skills to produce bespoke electronic reports and services for clients.

Bloomberg application form tip: prove you’re a cultural fit

If you feel that you’ll align with Bloomberg’s culture then write it down. Bloomberg is highly competitive in its marketplace. Gone are the days when it wrote on its website about fostering a ‘healthy paranoia’. It subscribed to the view that although too much stress is clearly negative for both company and employee, a certain amount of stress aids productivity. But it’s still very go-getting. The work is consistently fast-paced across divisions. Again, give your observations a bit of depth. Don’t just write ‘I enjoy a fast-paced working environment such as Bloomberg’s’ – anyone can write that. By itself it means nothing. Instead, give an example of how you’ve – say – set up a student society in record time.

The culture at the firm is promoted as one of meritocracy and openness. Floors are open plan; all the walls of meeting rooms are made of glass and it’s claimed that no one has their own office. There are large pantries providing food and drink for employees, which become natural meeting points. If you’re gregarious, non-hierarchical and if you don’t stand upon convention but are still a results-driven individual, then prove it.

For the Bloomberg student application form, you are asked to share your understanding of the role for which you are applying and your motivation for doing so. These are by no means unusual requests to ask of an applicant. But, while being honest and natural, bear in mind that your responses will be appraised by the recruiters to see whether they can picture you at the organisation. So when you review your application, do you think you’ve painted yourself as fitting into the life at Bloomberg? If not, thinker harder about what you might contribute to the business and culture of the business and tweak your application before pressing send.

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