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Online Undergraduate Handbook

Applications & interviews

Applications & interviews

The job market is highly competitive. You can't afford to be on the same level as everyone else; you need to stand out from the crowd. A recruiter will go through a lot of candidates so you need to make sure that you tick all the boxes. The first step on getting that dream job is to make your application as close to perfect as it can be. Then when you've landed the interview - practice makes perfect.

CV

Writing your CV may seem like a daunting task at first, but not to worry you've come to the right place! There are many ways to write a CV, but the most common is in chronological order as it is easier for employers to read. This type of CV is split up into sections - e.g. Contact information, Education, Work Experience, Skills, Interests - with the most recent example in each coming first. There are some examples below along with a guide.

You should review your CV every time you use it to ensure that the structure and content is appropriate. The best CVs are those that are tailored to the job that you're applying for so make sure that you research your job and employer prior to applying. Various industries also have specific guidelines so make sure you check these out too.

Check out more information about CVs, including examples of CVs for research students and skills based CVs, on the Careers Service.

Covering letter

A covering letter is usually paired with a CV when applying for a job so it is also extremely important to get it right to ensure that you land that interview. Whilst the CV has all the facts and figures, the covering letter is more personal and is a way for you to introduce yourself to the employer as well as show them that you're motivated and that you're right for the job. Therefore, all covering letters should be tailored for each job, but they should all include:

  1. Why you are applying to this company? - What makes them stand out from other similar companies?
  2. Why you are applying for this role? - Your motivation for applying, show your understanding of the role.
  3. The skills and experience you have that match the job description.

As with a CV you should Research the job and the employer to make sure that you know exactly what you're applying for and who you're applying to which gives you a good foundation to start from.

For more information on what to include as well as some examples there is a link to a guide below:

Application forms

An application form is a fixed set of questions which every applicant has to fill out so it is very important to get it right so that it stands out. As well as questions about personal information and work history there can be competency questions, strength based questions and creative or other unusual questions which you may or may not be expecting.

The University has an application form guide on the best way to approach the questions that can crop up.

Applications for further study

The Careers Service website has a great section on how to approach applications for further study. If you're looking to see the different courses that MBS offers then go to the Further Study link in the MBS section.

Interviews

Interviews are a part of almost every job application process that you will go through. As with most things, the more you practice interviews and techniques the better you'll get at them. You need to make sure that you're prepared as interviews are often the determining factor in the final choice.

For most interviews it is likely that you will be asked questions such as:

  • Why you have applied to the organisation or institution.
  • Why you are interested in the role or course.
  • Assessing if you have the skills and attributes to do the job or complete the course.

The University has a guide on how to prepare for interviews which is here:

The best place to find more help on interviews is the Careers Service Interviews page. There are question examples and videos as well as information on how to book workshops, interview simulations and appointments (even same-day bookings). Find all this and more here.

Psychometric tests

Psychometric testing is the overall term used to describe tests which measure a skill (these are often called aptitude tests) and questionnaires used to find out about your personality type, learning style or career choices, which can help you and / or an employer make informed choices.

The university has a guide on psychometric tests which is here:

The Careers Service Interviews page has practice tests and preparation materials for psychometric testing, which may not necessarily improve your scores but will help you become familiar with the type of questions as well as highlight areas for improvement. There are also FAQs, places to refresh your maths skills and example tests from specific employers.

Assessment centres

Assessment centres are usually where you and a small group of other candidates spend a day doing interviews, tasks and exercises which are used by recruiters to see how you perform in various scenarios. It can include various activities but it tends to have both individual and group exercises.

The University has a guide for assessment centres and psychometric tests here:

There is also a fairly detailed guide here:

For more specific information - such as advice, case study examples for management consulting and materials from Michael Page - go to the Careers Service's Assessment Centres page.