Applying for a graduate job at BT? How to answer the application form questions
When you apply to BT’s graduate scheme you will be asked to submit a CV and answer a few questions on your reasons for wanting the job. The CV guidelines on BT’s graduate website are a must-read and we strongly suggest looking at our article on writing a technical CV and other example CVs, depending on which scheme you apply to.
We think the best way to approach BT’s application form questions is as follows:
BT graduate application question: Please tell us why you’re interested in working for BT
You should make a convincing case for why you want to work for BT and not a similar organisation. (In case you don’t know, BT’s main competitors include Cable & Wireless and Virgin Media.) To do this, carry out research into BT and identify what makes the business stand out among others in the marketplace. Perhaps it’s BT’s global reach; it has operations in more than 180 countries. Or, maybe, it’s the company’s commitment to innovation; BT invests heavily in research and development and has 14,000 scientists and technologists developing new ideas. Choose something that really attracts you to BT, not just a random fact, so that you’re able to make a connection between you and the company. Doing this will also help you answer the inevitable ‘Why us?’ question at an interview down the line.
BT graduate application question: Please tell us why you're interested in this particular grad scheme?
Your enthusiasm for that area of work is a good reason. What originally sparked your interest in, for example, cyber security and what have you done since to explore this career further? If you have done an internship or had work experience in a similar area, you should definitely spend time reflecting on what you enjoyed and learned from it and use this to form one of the points in your answer.
Think also about how the role relates to your ambitions. You have to prove that you want to take your first step on a career ladder at BT and not simply get a graduate job, so research the role you’re applying for very well, including the career progression, training and qualifications it typically leads to. The job description on BT’s employer hub on TARGETjobs and on BT’s graduate website are good places to start your research. You could use LinkedIn to research the careers of BT employees who work in that field; consider contacting one if you have a question about their experiences. It’s worth seeing if any past graduates from your university work for BT in similar roles to what you want to do (using LinkedIn’s alumni tool), because then you will already have something in common. Tell BT where you would like the graduate scheme to lead you in the next five to ten years (but be realistic – you are not going to get on the board of directors and aiming too high could sound arrogant, anyway).
Are you applying to that particular BT grad scheme because it would make the best use of your skills or abilities? Each division and role has specific requirements and BT also publishes a general list of what it looks for in its graduates. Highlight the skills and qualities you have that the scheme looks for and underpin each of them with an example from education, work, your extracurricular activities or elsewhere. For instance, BT states that its marketing scheme graduates need the capacity to study for a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification in their spare time. Persuade recruiters that you can manage a sometimes demanding workload by, for example, describing how you worked part time for X number of hours a week while at university. Do make sure it is clear which skill or aspect of the job each of your examples relates to.
BT graduate application question: What recent developments about BT interest you and why? (max 100 words)
Applicants for the research and innovation scheme are asked this question as well as the one about why they have chosen that particular grad scheme. It is your chance to prove you have a genuine interest in how the wider business is evolving and that you have done your research.
When choosing your developments:
- pick something that genuinely interests you
- go for either a topic including a couple of developments, or two separate developments
- you’d be missing a trick if you didn’t choose at least one linked to research and innovation (but, hopefully, developments in research and innovation interest you a lot if you have chosen to apply to that scheme).
If you don’t have something in mind, good sources to start your research include BT’s innovation hub ‘Ingenious’ and stories about BT in the news. Taking a look at what BT’s competitors are doing can also give you ideas about what to look out for.
The above paragraphs and bullet points are more than 100 words so you can see just how concise you need to be for this question. Focus more on the explaining why you find them interesting than on describing the developments you have chosen. Remember, it may not be the developments themselves that are the most interesting, but the implications of them for the industry, the market or consumers: essentially, what they could lead to.
One more thing to bear in mind when answering BT’s graduate application questions
Do not replicate what’s in your CV. BT wants you to make the most of your answers, so include fresh information or elaborate on points that are mentioned in your CV.