Applying for jobs

Whether you are trying to get a part-time job, work experience or a graduate position, you will, unless you are very lucky, need to make an application to an employer.

Applications usually take the form of application forms (either on-line or paper-based) or CV and covering letter, and you will need to be absolutely sure how each individual employer wants you to apply - if in doubt, ask. If you are approaching an organisation on a more speculative basis (ie not in response to an advertised vacancy), you will probably need to send a CV and a covering letter - see our leaflet on speculative applications.

Whatever form of application method is preferred, you will need to know:

  • What kind of work you are applying for
  • Why you are interested in this type of work
  • Why you are interested in the particular opportunity in question
  • Why you are interested in the organisation to which you are applying
  • Why you are suitable for the position for which you are applying

It is also important to understand what employers are looking for and to tailor each application to meet the requirements of that organisation. Make sure that, whatever form of application method is used, and however many you complete, you aim to convince each employer that this is the job you really want. Make sure you obtain and read job descriptions and person specifications if they are available - and research the employers to whom you are applying by checking their websites and the up to date news reports to be found on Nexis.

The aim of any application is to get you to the next stage in the selection process. This might be a series of psychometric tests or an interview. Some larger employers will go on to invite those who have been successful to a second interview and/or an assessment centre before making their final decisions. For more information, read these sections of our website and pick up or download relevant Careers Service leaflets. You can find information in the Applications, CVs and interviews section of the Prospects website as well.

If you have special needs, or feel that you might be at a disadvantage in the job market, see our section on equality and diversity. You may also wish to be aware of the Guidelines for Best Practice in Graduate Recruitment (PDF) produced jointly by the NUSAGCAS and AGR.

Questions? Have a look at our Applying for Jobs FAQ (PDF), or come and visit us.