Life after university

A guide to getting your first job

How to write a great CV

Having a great CV is the best way to make that first impression. Here are a few of our top tips:

Be truthful and authentic 

Tailor the CV to the application as best you can

Check your spelling and formatting

Get friends and family to read it over for you.

For more great tips, check out the cv writing guide from Prospects.ac.uk.

How to write a great cover letter

Tailor it to the organisation

Sending out a generic letter for every application isn't a great idea. Recruiters can spot your lack of time and effort a mile off.

Check and check again

Don't rely on spellcheck to pick up mistakes. Print off your cover letter and double-check yourself. Get a family member or friend to look over as well, just to be sure.

Identify your USPs

They're your unique selling points. Be clear about what you have to offer and outline how your skills and experience relate to the job description.


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5 tips for a successful interview

1. Be clear on what you're applying for

Read the job specification thoroughly, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the role and responsibilities so you can directly relate your previous experience to it and the organisation.

2. Be sure to do your homework

Researching the company goes without saying. They want to see evidence that you have genuinely thought about why you want to work for them. Check the website, the annual report, and press coverage to get a fuller understanding - and then, importantly, have an opinion.

3. Get familiar with common questions

A number of questions come up in almost every interview, so it’s a good idea to think through answers that put your skills and experience in a positive light and rehearse them in advance. Some examples might be:

Why did you leave your last position?

What have you done that demonstrated personal initiative?

Where do you see yourself in 3/5 years from now?

4. Nail the STAR technique

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) model is highly recommended by interviewers and HR experts. By structuring your answer in this way you are giving yourself the opportunity to explain what the task or problem was that you were faced with, how you tackled it and what was the outcome of your actions.

5. Come armed with questions of your own

Being proactive and asking your interviewer questions can be a very effective way to make yourself stand out from other applicants. Asking relevant questions demonstrates that you are interested in the company and the specific role that you are interviewing for.

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