How to structure your graduate job application | Top Universities

How to structure your graduate job application

By Gordon Scott,

Updated July 6, 2023 Updated July 6, 2023

Written by Successful Graduate

Writing a job application can be a daunting task, especially for university students who may not have much experience in the workforce. However, writing a strong application is crucial for securing a graduate position.   

Identify what the employer is looking for

Firstly, it is important to understand what the employer is looking for. This information can usually be found in the job advertisement or position description. Look for key selection criteria, such as specific qualifications or skills that the employer is seeking. This will help you tailor your application to meet the employer’s requirements.

According to the University of Manchester: “It is important to clearly and specifically address each of the essential and desirable criteria listed in the job advert or job description.” This means that you should provide evidence of how you meet each of the criteria, using examples from your education, work experience or extracurricular activities.

Clearly explain your relevant experience 

When answering key selection criteria, it is important to use the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Start by describing the situation or problem you faced, then explain the task you were given. Next, describe the action you took to resolve the situation and, finally, explain the positive result that was achieved.

Watch this video about selection criteria

Be clear and concise recommends that you “keep your answers concise and to the point, whilst making sure you provide enough detail to demonstrate your suitability for the role.” Avoid using jargon or acronyms that the employer may not understand and be sure to proofread your responses for spelling and grammar errors.

Tailor your application to the role and the person reading it

Another way to improve your written job application skills is to practice writing cover letters and resumes. The University of Warwick recommends that you “spend time researching the company and the role, and tailor your application to show how your skills and experience match their requirements.” Make sure that your application is well-organised and easy to read, with clear headings and bullet points.

When writing your cover letter, be sure to address the letter to the hiring manager or recruiter by name. Explain why you are interested in the role and what you can bring to the company. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and experience and avoid repeating information that is already included in your resume.

Check your application very carefully

Finally, be sure to proofread your application carefully. According to the University of Oxford, “Errors in spelling and grammar can create a poor impression and may suggest that you lack attention to detail.” Have a friend or family member read over your application to check for errors and consider using an online tool such as Grammarly to catch any mistakes.

This article was originally published in June 2023 . It was last updated in July 2023

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

saved this article

saved this article

Explore Events

Get assisted by higher education experts

Our expert teams can help start your academic journey by guiding you through the application process.

Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year