Application writing

It is important that your application includes all the information that the employer is asking for. You may be asked for information such as:

  • Personal information

  • Education and qualifications

  • Career history and work experience

  • Reference details

Application forms usually require you to write a personal statement on how you meet the essential and desirable criteria for the role. To make sure you do this clearly and concisely, we recommend considering the following approach:

  • Take each criteria, one at a time and write about how the qualifications/training, skills or experience you have meet these requirements

  • Think about transferable skills, how can other skills you hold apply to this criteria

  • If you don’t currently fully meet the criteria, how are you working towards doing so. i.e. training, voluntary work

  • Sell yourself (but don’t lie!). Explain why you want the opportunity and how it will benefit you and the organisation

An example of how to address criteria could be as follows:

Example criteria: strong customer service skills

Example response: I have gained strong customer service skills when working as a Café Assistant from June 2018 to April 2019. I received regular feedback on my approach from my manager and customers to make sure that I could continuously improve this skill. I undertook customer service training every 3 months to learn the best practice approach and how I can implement this. I also undertook a voluntary role as a steward at university showing around prospective students. This helped me to further my customer service skills in a different working environment. I feel the experience and training I have undertaken will ensure that I demonstrate strong customer service skills in this role.

It is always advisable to proof read your application or ask someone to do this for you.


Interview Techniques

Should you be invited to an interview, it is important for you to prepare for this. You should consider the following:

  • Research the organisation – know what the vision, mission and values are so you can tailor your answers to meet these

  • What to wear – whilst many organisations are now taking a more relaxed approached with dress codes often being ‘smart casual’, it will be difficult to go wrong if you wear conventional office wear to make the right impression.

  • Think about what questions you are going to be asked. Refer to your application, the job description, person specification or advert. Think about lots of practical examples you can give of your skills, experience and qualifications

  • Plan your travel to the interview location, allowing time for delays. Make sure you know the exact location of the interview and where to report to when you arrive

  • Locate anything you’ve been asked to bring with you – for instance, your right to work documents

  • On the day of the interview, give yourself plenty of time! Have a meal and set off early. When you get to the interview venue, make sure you notify them that you have arrived. If you have some time, read more information about the job or organisation.


During the interview

  • Reflect on your body language. Be confident! Use plenty of eye contact with the panel and don’t forget to smile!
  • Structure your responses. If you are asked competency based questions such as ‘tell me about a time…’ then consider using the STAR model. This will help you to cover the question fully:
    • Situation
    • Task
    • Action
    • Result
  • Ask the panel for clarification if you’re unsure of what you’re being asked. This will make sure you give an answer to exactly what they’re asking!
  • Feel free to make notes if it will help you to cover all points
  • Panels will often ask you if you have any questions at the end – prepare some! Will show you are very interested in the organisation and the role
  • Finish positively! Make a lasting impression by thanking the panel for their time and that you look forward to hearing from them

UCL Careers

Whatever you want to do in the future – whether your career path is clear or not – UCL Careers is here to assist you. Our team of experienced career professionals is dedicated to supporting all current UCL students, researchers (staff and students), and recent graduates to help you find the right path to ensure success in your future career. 

The UCL Careers website is full of information and resources on exploring your options, finding opportunities and applying for roles. 

You can also go to myUCLCareers to book one to one application advice and guidance appointments, register for events, and find 1000s of graduate level internships and jobs