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Applications and interviews

From filling out that job application, to attending your first (or second) interview, we offer friendly and supportive advice to help you achieve success

In this section, we will cover the dos and don'ts of writing your CV, filling out job applications, and preparing for job interviews. 

Both applications and interviews are your opportunity to convince an employer that you are the right fit for the job. In both, you need to highlight your skills, experience, knowledge and personality, which in interview will also enable you (and the employer) to assess whether the position is a good match.

Need help?

If you have a query or would like feedback on your CV, covering letter or application, please send it to us (along with the job description for the role you are applying to) and one of our Careers team will aim to get back to you within five working days. 

If you’d like to discuss things in more detail or have a mock interview, our careers team can offer confidential 1:1 appointments.

Applying for a job

Writing your CV

Your CV is your marketing tool to promote your skills, knowledge, experience and personality. As your key to unlocking opportunities and experiences, they require your time and energy to make them as strong as they can be. If you aren’t going to sell yourself, who is?

To give yourself the best opportunity of getting an interview, the resources contained in this section will help you develop a strong CV for a range of purposes.

There are multiple types of CV, including both traditional and creative variants. It is worth considering which is most suitable for the role you are applying for. Our resource library contains the following guides to help you:

  • Guide to CVs
  • Guide to Creative CVs

The cover letter

Most job applications call for a covering letter or email to accompany your CV. It’s an important document, because it acts as your chance to introduce yourself to a prospective employer and show them how you meet the job requirements – or to explain your skill set, if you are applying speculatively. 

It is vital to tailor your covering letter to the requirements of the role, as employers will be able to tell if you’ve simply copied and pasted a generic version. 

See our resource library for the following guides to help you:

  • Guide to Making Speculative Applications
  • Guide to Covering Letters and Emails.

Filling out application forms

Some employers ask for applications through a form, rather than by CV and covering letter. However, it is still just as important to use the form to demonstrate your skills and abilities, and how these match the employer’s requirement.

See our resource library for our Guide to Completing Job Application Forms. 

Interviews

Getting to interview stage is your opportunity to shine. This is your chance to meet (and impress) future colleagues and demonstrate your suitability for both the role and the organisation. You will also have the chance to learn more about the employer, and whether you feel they are a good fit for you.

In addition to face-to-face interviews, employers may also use phone or video interviews, psychometric tests or assessment centres.

Visit our resource library and check out our Guide to Preparing for Interviews. 

Helpful tips

  • Be prepared – know your CV and the company in question inside and out
  • Practice - answer interview questions out loud beforehand, perhaps using a friend as a sounding board
  • Use techniques such as STAR to structure your answers
  • Focus on the positive - it will help you overcome any feelings of apprehension
  • Keep going - if you make a mistake, don't dwell on it, take a deep breath and move on
  • Be curious - prepare a series of questions of your own to ask at the end of the interview.

Practice psychometric tests provided by Assessment Day

Networking

Employers on campus

Networking with employers is a great way to talk to someone with first-hand experience in a specific industry or profession and it allows you to explore the career opportunities available.

We offer plenty of opportunities for you to meet industry professionals face-to-face, including regular Employer in the Foyer events and employer presentations on-campus – you can check out what's coming up with our event schedule, and book your place.

In person

Networking is about using your existing relationships with people you know to build new relationships with people you don't, in an effort to create opportunities for one another. These can include jobs or internships, free entry to an industry event, an informational interview, or anything else that gets you a step closer to where you want to be.

Networking in person can take place at specific events, at workshops on-campus, or even in the workplace or on a placement! For tips on how to get the most out of your interactions with potential new contacts, check out our Guide to Networking in our resource library.

Social media

The growth of social media means that networking is no longer confined to just in-person meetings – contacts can be made online before you even meet in person.

If you plan on using your social media accounts for networking, it’s important to keep them professional – see our resource library for our Guide to Using Social Media for Job Hunting for help on this.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become one of the most commonly used networking tools, so it’s important not only to have a profile, but also to make it the best it can be.

Some top tips include:

  • Use a professional headshot against a neutral background as your profile photo
  • Maximise the impact of your headline: it’s the digital version of a first impression
  • Keep your profile up-to-date with any new skills or experience you may gain
  • Send connection requests to any new contacts you make in the real world, and accompany these with a tailored note
  • Ask people you have worked with for skills endorsements or recommendations

Is your profile up to scratch? Take a look at our LinkedIn Profile Checklist in our resource library to see how it shapes up.

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