CVs and Applications

The aim of any application is to get you an interview.

Cover letters

Your CV or application form should evidence your skills and experience that relate to the job for which you are applying.

The cover letter gives you the opportunity to show your enthusiasm and suitability for the opportunity.

A good cover letter will help you stand out from other applicants.

Top tips

  1. Address your cover letter to a named person. Make it personal, you could be working for them! Avoid generic 'To whom it may concern' or 'Dear Hiring Manager' etc.
  2. Do not repeat what you have already said in your CV or application form. An effective cover letter adds something extra to the application.
  3. Do not state the obvious. This is your opportunity to stand out, not blend in with all the other applicants.
  4. Keep it short and focus on the employer and the job opportunity. Demonstrate that you understand their needs and why you are a suitable candidate.
  5. End with a positive closing paragraph. The 'call to action' is for the employer to short-list you for an interview. 
  6. If you are submitting your application electronically, send files in PDF format.

Helpsheets and guides

‌We have a range of Helpsheets and Guides that you can download from the Knowledge Bank.

Sign-in using your normal university ID and password to access these resources.

CVs and applications

To give yourself the best chance:

  • Do not use the same application for every job.
  • Analyse the job and identify the essential requirements within the role.
  • Think about the employer who will be reading your application, what are they looking for?
  • Seek advice, but remember; it is your application, so take ownership of it.
  • Do not rush your application. You probably have only one chance to get it right.

Top tips

  • Style - concise and succinct.
  • Layout - keep it clear and simple.
  • Typos - read your CV out loud, and then ask someone to read it to you.
  • Gaps in CVs - prepare an explanation that is not apologetic or defensive.
  • Jargon - generally it is best to avoid jargon.
  • Interests - not essential, but if included be specific and keep them relevant.
  • Relevancy - if you know what the employer wants, you will know what to include in your CV.

Remember, the most important person who will read your CV is the hiring manager.

Do your research and tailor your CV accordingly to give yourself the best chance of securing that all important interview.

Videos

31 CVs and applications

A series of videos are available to watch online through the Knowledge Bank.

These highlight the key points to consider when preparing a CV or application.

Sign-in using your normal university ID and password to access the videos.

Helpsheets and guides

‌We have a range of Helpsheets and Guides that you can download from the Knowledge Bank.

Sign-in using your normal university ID and password to access these resources.

Further information

Find out more about how to make effective applications:

Target Jobs - Applications and CV advice.

Graduate Prospects - General information and examples of different types of CVs.

The Guardian - Five steps to perfect graduate CV