Application forms

Research the employer and role thoroughly before starting your application. Analyse the information provided by the employer and make a note of the specific skills and experience they ask for. These are often called 'competencies'. Take stock of your skills and experience, ensuring that you write about those that best match what the employer is asking for.  Careers advisers run workshops on CVs and applications - check events for details and to register. Remember to:

  • Follow instructions carefully eg word limits, multi-layered questions, requests for attachments.
  • Regularly save draft answers.
  • Proof-read your answers; employers will not tolerate poor spelling or grammar.
  • Answer the question that has been asked not the question that you wish had been asked.

Tackling specific questions

  • Before answering a question, work out what skill the employer is trying to assess.
  • Think of your best example to prove that you have this, making sure you provide specific details about where, when and how you acquired and used it.
  • Use the STAR technique (PDF, 546 KB) to structure your answer.
  • Vary your examples and take them from different areas of your life: internships, part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities and study.
  • Use your most recent experience and achievements as much as possible.

The Careers Centre has numerous books on the application process which are available on short-term loan from reception.