A candidate filling in a job application form

Applying for a job

When applying for any job, it is important to tailor your and application, CV or covering letter to suit each specific role. It might be tempting to just dish out the same documents to each job, but please never do this.

Application forms

Recruiters use application forms to get information about you that's specific to their needs. Application form questions are designed to collect evidence of how you meet their selection criteria. Whether online or a paper version, the same general tips apply:

  • Allow enough time to do your research and complete the application form
  • Find out exactly what they are looking for your and skills, qualifications and qualities, together with an understanding of how you will fit in with the company
  • When it comes to applications, it's quality, not quantity, that counts
  • Prove you have the skills employers want by using up-to-date examples from all aspects of your life, such as your course, work, volunteering and interests
  • Your first few applications may take a lot of redrafting to reach the right standard, but with practice, it does become easier.



A CV (curriculum vitae) allows you to pull together your education, skills and experience in one place. Although there is no official way of structuring a CV, the most common styles are:

  • Reverse chronological CV: These are most effective if your course/work experience is directly related to what you are applying for
  • Skills-based CV: This style is useful if your course is not relevant and you need to highlight your transferable skills
  • Academic CV: These should only be used if you are applying for academic or research posts


Covering letters

The purpose of a covering letter is to convince the recruiter to invite you to interview. It should highlight your key selling points from your CV and application form.

Remember, while a CV details your achievements and skills, your letter should capture your personality and enthusiasm for a particular job. Ideally, it should be no more than one side of A4 in length.

Whether your applying for a job online or on paper, make sure you submit clear, concise information that is free from spelling mistakes and other errors. Remember to start and finish with why you want the job so that you seem passionate about the role.

If you need any advice or you want someone to review an application before you submit it, please come into the Career Studio on University Square.