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.
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.
The competencies frequently sought by employers include the following:
Use this space to include relevant information not already mentioned.
- 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.
It is good to get someone to read your application form. You can bring details about the job and a draft copy of the application form to a Careers Adviser during opening hours and any details about the job to receive helpful feedback.
Useful booklets and multi media materials are available from the Careers, Employability and Skills (some of these materials are for reference only) including:
- Careers Videos- We have a number of careers video available through your Queen's Online account to help you with applications, interviews and assessment centres.
- The Careers Guide
- Prospects Applications, CVs and Interviews
The Careers, Employablity and Skills also holds relevant workshops throughout the academic year, advertised on our .