How to write a CV and cover letter for Mott MacDonald
The main component of the application form for Mott MacDonald’s graduate schemes – from engineering to quantity surveying to modelling to consulting – is uploading a CV and covering letter. Mott MacDonald recruiters use these to find out more about you and your passion for the sector you’re applying for; if you just upload your standard CV and a generic covering letter, you are going to do your chances of getting to the interview stages no good at all.
How to tailor your graduate CV to Mott MacDonald
- Mott MacDonald asks for you to provide a full list of your degree modules elsewhere on the form, so there is no need to include all of them on your CV. Instead, just highlight the ones that are most relevant to the scheme you are applying to. You can use the space saved to better describe your work experience or extracurricular achievements.
- In the past, Mott MacDonald has asked for you to list your responsibilities in the work experience section of your CV, as if you were answering the sentence ‘I was responsible for…’. This is a good approach to take, but don’t stop at listing your responsibilities. Add details to show what you achieved: any quantities or numbers that show the scale of the work, any targets that you achieved, any praise you got from managers and customers, and so on. Your CV should indicate what you are capable of achieving – not just what your duties were.
- If possible, ensure that your CV contains evidence of your passion for the sector: place related work experience, degree modules, research projects or reading prominently. However, you will have space in your covering letter to write about your passion for the job role or sector in more detail.
- If you have lots to write about on your CV and are wondering what to include and what to cut, ask yourself whether what you are writing about indicates that you share the same values as Mott MacDonald (see below).
- You can gain more CV advice on TARGETjobs career sectors: both for civil and structural engineering and for management consulting applicants.
How to write a cover letter for Mott MacDonald’s graduate schemes
The advice from Mott MacDonald is that your covering letter is not just a repeat of your CV. Instead, it introduces you to them and explains, succinctly, why you want to work at Mot MacDonald and in the sector or sectors that you’ve applied for. Mott MacDonald has previously recommended that your letter be three or four paragraphs long. It should certainly fit on one side of A4.
In your covering letter for Mott MacDonald, you need to show that you would be a good hire for Mott MacDonald (that you share their values and have the right skills and behaviours) and that you genuinely want to work for Mott MacDonald (having done your research on the firm). Make sure you:
- Explain your passion for the particular sector and specialism. What interests you in the sector and how have you developed that interest at university? How would Mott MacDonald help you to develop your passion and knowledge of the subject? Refer to specific projects the company has worked on. Mott MacDonald also prides itself on the advice it gives to clients and its contribution to the latest industry thinking. Take a look at its ‘publications’ webpage and perhaps mention particular papers or research that interest you, relating them to your own studies, career ambitions or desire to make a difference (a key quality that Mott MacDonald wants).
- Explain how you have the right skills, experience and behaviours to thrive on the graduate programme. Start with the skills and attributes listed in the individual job descriptions on this employer hub. Make sure you say how you share their values (see below)
- Explain why you particularly want to start your career at Mott MacDonald, calling upon your knowledge of the firm.
What you could write about Mott MacDonald
Below are some possible reasons to apply to Mott MacDonald to start you thinking, but you’ll need to research these further and do some additional research on Mott MacDonald. You need to think about what is important to you.
Consider Mott MacDonald’s PRIDE
Mott MacDonald’s key values take the acronym of PRIDE: progress, respect, integrity, drive and excellence. Take a look at Mott MacDonald’s ‘visions and values’ webpage for more details about what these values involve.
Mott MacDonald’s graduate recruitment manager, Melissa Hopper, tells us that, ‘The ideal candidate will be able to show us that they share our values.’ So it would be a good idea to give examples of times when you acted in accordance with those values when writing about why you are right for the role. These examples don’t have to relate to your course or work experience: training and fundraising for a half-marathon, say, shows that you have the drive to achieve a goal.
Consider the employee ownership structure
Mott MacDonald is owned by its employees rather than shareholders. Melissa says, ‘Our staff won’t take on projects if they don’t think it’s the right thing to do. They believe in acting ethically. Being employee-owned means the people here work for each other, not for shareholders. It also gives you flexibility. If a policy isn’t working, we’re in a position to change it.’ This ownership structure is not common in the construction industry (although rival Arup also has the same structure). Does this structure make you want to work for Mott MacDonald? If so, say so.
Consider the training on offer
Mott MacDonald highlights the thoroughness of its training in its job ad. It is not enough to simply say that the nature of this training appeals to you – you need to use examples of your skills and achievements to explain exactly why you would perform well under this particular training method and why you should be given the opportunity to do so.
Consider the design-focused nature of the work
As a consultancy, Mott MacDonald focuses on the early and design stages of projects. If you are going for a construction or engineering role, avoid giving the impression that you’d rather be out working on site. This is easy if you’ve completed a placement with a consultancy – explain why it suited you. If you have completed work experience with a contractor, however, you can still explain how that experience has shown you that you’d prefer working in consultancy. If you are going for a transport planning role, state why you want to work for Mott MacDonald rather than an infrastructure body such as Network Rail or a local authority (but don’t talk about a specific employer by name).