Preparation is the key
Many people fail to get past the application stage because they have not taken enough time to complete the application form, or done their research.
Research is crucial
If you want to prove to the employer or the course provider that you are the ideal candidate, then you have to do your research. It is important that you find out exactly what they are looking for in terms of skills, qualifications and qualities, together with an understanding of how you will fit in with the company, department or institution.
Think about what you have to offer
Once you have done your research and know exactly what the employer or course provider is looking for then it is time for you to demonstrate that you meet their requirements. You can do this by:
- Carrying out a self-evaluation of your skills, qualifications and qualities. See our employability skills section for more information on the skills that employers look for.
- Writing clear examples, using the STAR method, to prove these skills and show the context in which you have gained and used them.
- Using a range of examples from your degree, work experience and any extra-curricular activities.
- Using up to date examples that demonstrate your skills.
Top tips for success
- Allow yourself enough time. It can take a few hours to complete a good application.
- Dont leave it to the last minute. Things can go wrong.
- Use examples of skills and qualities that relate to the job or course description. If the description suggests working in a team to meet deadlines, it would be better to use a group project from your degree than talking about your sporting endeavours.
- Be careful to stick to word limits. Write too much and it may not display on your application, write too little and you could disadvantage yourself.
- Use proactive words and phrases when writing about skills and qualities. Words like facilitated, designed, implemented and resolved are good. Try to avoid writing things like I think or I believe when describing skills just use I have or I am
- Check your spelling and grammar before sending your application. Better still get it proof read by someone else to make sure you havent missed anything.
- Check out our Your guide to making applications leaflet and other downloads for more tips and advice.
- Get your application checked at one of our drop-in sessions at the Careers Centre.