Careers, Employability and Skills

Contact Info

Sign in to

QUB email


eguidance banner



Whatever you plan to do after your degree, the application, normally on-line is usually the first step. Many graduate jobs and postgraduate courses are highly competitive so make sure your application is effective and takes you through to the next stage.

Preparation is the key and here are some helpful tips:


When applying for a position always use the relevant form requested by the company. There are two main types of application forms:

  • Employer's Application Form (EAF)-available from the relevant employer
  • Employer's Online Application-available on the company's website

Establish the company's requirements

Read the job description to find out what the job entails.

  • The job advert and personnel specification will specify the job criteria-ensure that you indicate how you meet the essential and desirable criteria on the application form.
  • Research the company e.g. website - use this to identify the culture of the organisation and to help you answer why you want to work for this company.

From your research, draw out the skills, qualifications and experience that the recruiter is looking for. Attend Careers Events that involve the companies you are interested in. Details are on

Completing the application form

Many employers now require you to complete an online application. Most of the guidelines for paper applications are still relevant here so it is still important to follow them. As a general rule online applications are normally quicker to complete but not if they require thought! Read the form from beginning to end before deciding to complete it there and then. You may wish to take a copy of the form to complete at a later date. Some forms will not permit you to revise answers once you have moved on to another section.

Features normally include:

  • Register and use a password, which will allow you to save your work and come back at a later time to finish-where possible.
  • Download the form where possible and draft your answers.
  • If downloading is not possible, draft your answers using a word processing package and use cut-and -paste to put them into the online form.
  • Most online application forms don't have spell and grammar checks- before you submit your form please ensure that you have checked your answers thoroughly. Poor use of grammar and spelling may lead to your not being shortlisted.
  • Make sure you keep a copy- you will need it for your interview preparation.

Personal Interests and Achievements

Use examples of both team oriented activities and personal interests where possible. Utilise the space to explain what you gained from your interests. Differentiate yourself from other candidates by highlighting any areas of responsibility or achievement. Employers will expect you to describe the activities, your involvement in them and how you have developed by taking part in them.

Specific evidence

The competencies frequently sought by employers include the following:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Problem solving
  • Flexibility/ adaptability
  • Self- awareness
  • Commitment/ motivation
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Numeracy

Additional Information

Use this space to include relevant information not already mentioned. 

Check list

  • Write legibly.
  • Check spelling, grammar, punctuation and accuracy.
  • Complete application form fully leaving no gaps, stating N/A (non applicable) where the section is not relevant to you.
  • Ensure no gaps are left.
  • Photocopy completed application form.
  • If posting use A4 envelope and allow ample time to arrive before the closing date.

Further Help

It is good to get someone to read your application form. You can make an appointment on

Useful booklets, online and multi media materials are available from the Careers, Employability and Skills. Details are available in Information Resources section of

The Careers, Employablity and Skills also holds relevant workshops throughout the academic year, advertised on our

Look at "Social media & job hunting" with thanks to CareerPlayer, Graduate Jobs and Career Advice on video