Application Form Advice
It is imperative that you address each competency from the job description in the ‘Supporting Information’ part of the Application Form answering each of the Essential and Desired criteria. You should use specific examples, drawing on work experience, employment, extra-curricular activities and any other experience you think is relevant.
Addressing each of the Essential and Desired Criteria will mean that your application is more likely to succeed and be shortlisted for an assessment centre or interview.
A simple technique that helps you frame your answers is the STAR technique:
What is S.T.A.R.?
STAR stands for Situation Task Action Results and helps you structure your answer:
- Briefly give the background to the example or situation you were in.
- Briefly explain the nature of the task / problem / activity you were involved in.
- Explain what you did to make a difference, highlighting the skills you used.
- Describe the outcome – hopefully a positive outcome, and what you learned from the experience.
Example – Communication Skills
If we apply this technique to ‘Communication Skills’, the following example answers indicate the expectations of the Graduate Development Officers shortlisting your application.
Low Level Answer (Not enough to shortlist)
I understand the role will need excellent communication skills which is also a skill I take pride in along with being a great listener.
Feedback: No context, No evidence.
Medium Level Answer
As a student, I was involved in the Rock Climbing society within the Student Union. I was assigned the role of marketing officer and was tasked to recruit new members in and around the Fresher’s Fair. I developed material in brochure and online form that explained the fun and benefits of this great sport, using visual images and words. In 2018 we added 10 students to our overall membership.
Feedback: Could have related the example more explicitly to the skill being evidenced.
High Level Answer
As an undergraduate I would often need to give presentations in front of course peers and my lecturer on my Maths Degree; this would require me to use a range of communication skills. One such presentation within our professional skills module required me to investigate a career sector that would be of interest to Maths graduates. I chose something I felt would be something my peers would be unaware of and chose crypto security. Fortunately, I had a family member in that line of work so was able to speak to them informally over the phone. She gave me leads to other people she worked with so I messaged them online via Linkedin and gathered information via a series of emails and private messages; I maintained a more professional level of language and was always careful to check my emails before sending. I then presented a number of slides on my findings to course mates, ensuring that some of the technical terms I displayed in relation to the role were talked around in ‘layman’s’ terms to help course mates. I feel my communication must have worked in terms of the presentation as I received a high grade, but also was subsequently invited for a work taster by the people I spoke to in a professional capacity.
Feedback: Perhaps a little long, as showing multiple examples of communication
For more further application guidance and advice, please contact your University Careers Service, who can provide careers guidance and advice to current students and graduates.