Job application – top tips

Applying for a job is a competitive process. Whether you’re applying for a summer job or your first graduate position don’t miss the Career team’s top tips…

  1. Prove you can do the job

Use the job description and the person specification to form the basis of your application.  You’ve got the employer’s wish list and you need to prove to them that you can do the job.  Provide them with examples and evidence of how you match their criteria. Your CV, cover letter and application needs to demonstrate your skills and experience through specific examples, give details of actions you’ve taken and the positive results.

If there isn’t a job description think about what you might be required to do in the job and detail your relevant skills and experience.

  1. You’ve got to be in it to win it

Some candidates won’t apply for a job if they don’t have every single thing an employer’s looking for, others will apply even if they’ve only match some of the criteria. Use your judgement. If you could definitely do the job but fall short on only one thing maybe it’s time to be confident.

An employer can only consider the applications they receive so don’t rule yourself out of consideration by not applying if you’re only missing one or two things from their ‘wish list’. Don’t highlight what’s missing, instead concentrate on all the great experience and skills you do have to offer.

But be sensible… applying to be the director of a multi-national company when you have no work experience will just be a waste of your time!

  1. Research

A little research on the company goes a long way. Check out their website and read up on their mission, vision and values. Use some of their corporate language (if they have any) to illustrate your skills and show how you’d be a good fit.  Check out their latest media coverage, especially if they’re a large organisation, to make sure you’re up to date on any major recent changes or developments within the company.

  1. Get it checked

Get your CV, cover letter or application checked by one of our qualified Careers Advisers during our Careers Express drop-in session. We can help you to detail your skills and experience, check you’re matching the role requirements and even spot errors. Our service is free and there’s no limit to the number of times you can see an adviser.

If you’re cutting it fine with the application deadline and haven’t left time to drop-in and get your application checked don’t forget to use spell checker…copy and paste from an application form into Word if necessary.

*Careers Express is our quick query drop-in service.You can bring your CV, applications or questions and get instant advice from our expert Careers Advisers. Join us on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30-12:30 (term-time) in the Employability Hub.


The Careers Group at the University of London is currently following final year students as they embark on ‘The Great Grad Job Hunt’ to view their experiences visit this link.

If you’re job hunting we’d love to hear your experiences and share your advice via our blog. If you’re a Hope student or graduate and want to blog for us contact Anna Worsley


One Comment on “Job application – top tips

  1. Great article – we have a number of job searching posts for graduates and grads-to-be over on our page, so feel free to go and check them out and share them with your students! We’d also love your feedback, so feel free to leave your thoughts whilst you’re there.


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