Put your questions to the head of graduate recruitment at RBS

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Michael Maddick, head of graduate recruitment at RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), has agreed to answer some questions and offer some advice as this year's graduate recruitment season kicks off.

We got the ball rolling with the Q&A below, but if you'd like to post your questions in the comment box at the bottom of the page, we'll select three per day from 26-30 September inclusive for Michael to answer.

What are the three main qualities or traits that you look for in candidates?

Investment banking is a competitive industry, so obviously a strong academic track record is a must. Interestingly, there is a tendency to believe that only students studying economics, finance or mathematic-based subjects will be considered for roles in banking. This is simply not the case - people studying a variety of subjects can be successful.

Candidates who are able to demonstrate proactivity and an appetite to take on responsibility really helps to make you stand out. Numerous candidates have strong academics, but cannot always effectively translate this into practical output.

Effective communication skills are also crucial. Clear, effective and confident communication is fundamental to working effectively in teams, on projects and with clients.

What are definite don'ts - or turn-offs?

Try and tailor your resume to the organization and role. Generic resumes and covering letters do not stand out in a competitive market.

Be careful not to over-elaborate on what you have done academically or from an extracurricular perspective - it will be obvious to an experienced interviewer.

Do not undersell yourself. It is OK not to have worked in a bank or another professional service organization - not everyone is able to do an internship. You can still demonstrate time management, pro-activity working in a cafe, bar or in the supermarket.

What makes a favorable impression in a resume?

Demonstrating an interest in financial services. This can be through work experience or internship but equally by the courses you are studying, the activities you undertake in your spare time and the lengths you have gone to in finding out about the industry and the firm to which you are applying.

A clear and concise format. Only include detail that is essential to demonstrating your suitability for the role. If you are going to include an interest or extracurricular activity make sure you link back why this is relevant.

Travel, volunteer work and roles in student societies are all interesting and offer an employer the opportunity to understand more about you as a person.

What are the main pitfalls of the application process - and how can one avoid them?

Believing that your application will not be read. RBS reads all applications, and it is therefore advisable not to settle for a generic application. Take your time. Chose the organizations that you really want to work for and take the time to fill the application out properly - try and avoid mass applications.

Do not rest on your laurels. Follow your application up by attending events. The more interaction and engagement with the firm the better.

Be self-aware. Think about your skills and interests and understand where your strengths lie. If you are not sure, ask your friends and family. Do not apply to a role you are patently not suited for. For example, if you are a little shy or lack strong communication skills, be honest with yourself and avoid applying to sales.

This article first appeared on our UK site.

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