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Applications & interview preparation

  • The vast majority of applications are now made via an online form  
  • You may still need to complete a paper based application form. If this is the case, complete the form in black ink, ensuring your writing is legible  
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete the form and build in time for technical issues that might occur if you are completing an online form  
  • Make sure you read the instructions very carefully. Not all systems allow you to save your work and return to the form later and you may have to complete it in one sitting.  
  • The application is usually your first contact with a future employer, the forms are structured so that they can ask about very specific skills and experiences and compare them to the job requirements.  
  • Read the questions carefully so that you understand what is being asked for  
  • Employers will often ask questions that focus on providing evidence for specific skills, e.g. teamworking, problem solving, communicating effectively etc. to answer these effectively you will need specific examples from your experience (academic, placement, work, voluntary etc.)  
  • Ensure your answers sit within the word or character limit that you are given. Going over the limit may mean that your answer appears to be incomplete. Write concisely and don’t waffle  
  • Using STAR (Situation > Task > Action > Result), or CAR (Context > Action > Result) can help you to structure your answers that ensures you provide the specific evidence the employer is looking for  
  • Some applications will require a supporting statement in support of your application. Structure your statement to address the criteria that the employer is recruiting to. Make it easy to read by ‘chunking’ the information you provide into short paragraphs.  
  • If your application doesn’t need to be completed in one sitting, save your work and return to it the next day. This can be useful in reviewing your content to ensure you are providing the information the employer is looking for.  

PDF Downloads

Guide to completing application forms

  • The rules of preparation and completing an online form are the same as for the paper version, and the same amount of preparation and care is needed
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete the form and allow for system failures, which are not uncommon
  • Make sure you read the instructions very carefully. Not all systems allow you to save your work and return to the form later and you may have to complete it in one sitting.
  • Access guides, e-books and videos that can help you develop your job seeking skills

Many graduate employers use psychometric testing and assessment centres during the selection process. For more information on psychometric testing, have a look at this webpage, which contains a list of useful resources and information on how Careers and Employability can help you prepare.

Access guides, e-books and videos that can help you develop your job seeking skills

Access online films about assessment centres

  • When you are invited for an interview, the good news is that they like what you have written in your application or CV and want to know more about you.
  • You will only have a short time to convince them that you really are the one they want.
  • Typically employers will only invite between 10% and 20% of applicants for an interview. These candidates are the best 10% to 20%, so the competition is greater
  • The key to a good interview performance is PREPARATION and then some more PREPARATION!
  • Careers and Employability also offers a mock interview service so you can practise - telephone askUS for details or Email.

Get our guide to preparing for interviews

Access videos on preparing yourself for interviews

There is now a range of e-books available that will help you with your job-hunting, applications and interviews. Selected titles have been evaluated by Careers Advisers from Careers and Employability at the University of Salford to ensure that the material is relevant to your needs.

You can also view a suite of careers films which give an insight into assessment centres, the job application process and career planning.

If you feel you need to speak to a Careers Consultant on a one-to-one basis regarding job applications or need advice on your CV, please book one of our current appointment options. A Careers Consultant will listen to your ideas, help you identify your strengths, weaknesses and skills and assist you in relating all of these things to the world of work. You can also book an appointment either via the askUSDesk or ring 0161  295 0023.

Careers advice is also available via 'Ask a Question' and SKYPE.

Appointments are available for current students/graduates of the University of Salford.