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Application Forms | The Careers Service Application Forms – Oxford University Careers Service
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Completing application forms

Most graduate recruiters use online application forms, although many can offer paper versions of the form (on request). The key advice given below applies to both types of application form. In all cases, careful targeting is far more likely to lead to success than sending off numerous applications that are not tailored to each role and organisation. It’s very important to research the role, organisation and sector before completing the form, in order to demonstrate your suitability for the role. Allowing your motivation and interest to come through can make you stand out as a knowledgeable and attractive applicant.

Tips for online forms

  • You can type directly into most application forms – often they will have a specific word limit for each question
  • Draft anything you write in a Word document, as your online connection to the application form may “time-out” or close without giving you notification. This will allow you to copy and paste your answers into the form when you are satisfied. Writing your application in Word also means you have the advantage of using the spelling and grammar checks and can review what you have written at a later date, if you are invited to interview
  • Don’t submit the form until you are completely happy with it and the process that may follow. For example, you may be expected to complete an online test shortly after submitting the form
  • Avoid copying and pasting directly from applications in other webpages – some organisations have software to detect when this has been done
  • If you are asked to include a CV and/or Cover Letter in addition to answering the questions on the form – ensure that you do so

General points

  • Be accurate, and plan how to use the space and word count/character limit available
  • Check the form carefully, and ask someone else to review it
  • Recruiters often communicate by email. Ensure that your email address and other contact details are correct, and check your email account regularly!
Different parts of the form

Forms will typically have the following sections for you to fill in:

  • Personal details
  • Examination results
  • Employment and experience
  • Questions to answer
  • Referees – usually two referees are required. One is likely to be your academic tutor; the other might be a person you did relevant work experience with, or who knows you well personally.
  • “Recruitment monitoring – equality, diversity and medical information”  – this is not used for selection purposes (and is not always compulsory to complete) but to record statistical data on applicants eg: gender, ethnicity etc. Employers may also use the space to ask if the applicant has a disability and/or long term health condition they should be made aware of, so that they can make reasonable adjustments in the selection process, if required.

A note on ‘disclosing’ a disability and/or long term health condition

Legally, you don’t have to “disclose” (inform the employer beforehand) a disability on an application form (but failure to do so on a medical form, once you have accepted the job, could be considered a breach of contract). It’s very important to remember that employers are keen to ensure that all applicants are given an equal and fair opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. As such, the disclosure of a disability could give you access to reasonable adjustments for the application and interview process.

Reasonable adjustments can include (but are not limited to), extra time to complete online tests, extra-time between interviews, or support in getting to the interview. Employers are also able to make adjustments tailored to your specific needs – if you do disclose a disability, the firm will likely consult with you giving you the chance to discuss the adjustments that your require. If you think you may require adjustments to complete these, make sure that you understand all aspects (including timelines) of the application and recruitment process before submitting your application.

N.B Some employers require you to complete online exercises or tests shortly after you have submitted your application (typically within 5-7 days). Ideally contact employers either before submitting your application or immediately afterwards to let them know if you need any adjustments.  This will ensure that you are offered the requisite adjustments for the on-line tests/exercises, as once completed, most will not retroactively take your disability into consideration when assessing your performance.

It may also be worth reading employer websites to find out more about their equality and diversity policies and practice. This could help you to better understand how they support employees with disabilities and/or long term health conditions.

If you are unsure about how best to communicate with an employer about your disability, you can speak to one of our Careers Advisers, who can advise you on the most effective way to present your individual circumstances.

Analytical & competency based questions

Employers use these questions to find out whether you:

  • have the personal qualities, motivation and skills required;
  • understand yourself and are able to be self-reflective;
  • are able to identify where and why you and the job or organisation are a good match.

Some questions may be phrased to discover how you cope in a variety of situations. In all cases there are a few points to bear in mind when selecting the best answers and examples to use:

  • Employers are asking the question for a reason – try to work out what it is
  • Answer the question that has been asked, not the question you would like to be asked
  • Give specific examples and evidence – don’t generalise
  • Vary your use of examples from the different areas of your life (academia, extra-curricular activities, work experience etc.)  –  using your most recent relevant experiences and achievements wherever possible.
  • Keep within the word limit.

For more information on general graduate competencies see our information on developing your skills

Using the STAR technique could also help you structure your answers. There is further information about this technique on our how to show you fit the job criteria webpage

Our resources
This information was last updated on 31 May 2019.
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Recent blogs about Application Forms

Free Practice Resources for Online Recruitment Tests

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 16/08/2019.

The Careers Service offers free access for matriculated students and alumni to comprehensive training resources for online tests in partnership with JobTestPrepThe JTP suite of advice and practice tests covers pretty much the full spectrum of tests most frequently used by companies, including verbal and numerical reasoning tests, e-tray exercises, and the Watson Glaser tests used extensively by the bigger law firms. JTP also provide banks of tests specifically developed to mirror the tests used by individual named companies. 

You must apply for your Access Code through your Oxford CareerConnect account. Use the Queries tab to send us a request with the title: JobTestPrep Access Code. 

Access Codes are valid for 12 months from the first time that you log in to JTP with the code. If you already have a valid access code from last year, please do not request a new code until the previous code has expired.

A second very extensive set of practice resources is offered to staff and students in partnership with Practice Aptitude Tests. To get started follow the link to the Oxford landing page and create an account using your university email (ending @***.ox.ac.uk).

Full advice on online tests and how best to prepare for them is given in our briefing on Psychometric Tests.

Start-up Visa Endorsement Application – Information Session

Blogged by Brianna Thompson on 15/08/2019.

This information session (with the Student Visa and Immigration Office and Endorsement Panel Chair) is an opportunity to better understand what the endorsement panel at Oxford are looking for, and the process of making your application. We strongly advise anyone thinking of making an application for endorsement to attend.

  • When: 2 September 2019, 9:15-10:00
  • Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
  • TO BOOK A PLACE at this discussion contact brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk with your name and, if applicable, the course and year(s) of study at the University of Oxford.

We are keen to support entrepreneurial activity at all levels and encourage people from any discipline and with any sort of business idea to apply.

More information can be found on our visas page or you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

XTX Markets Global Forecasting Challenge – Cash Prizes and Job Opportunities

Posted on behalf of XTX Markets. Blogged by Polly Metcalfe on 08/08/2019.

XTX Markets is excited to present the XTX Markets Global Forecasting Challenge, powered by Correlation One! The XTX Markets Global Forecasting Challenge is an online competition for aspiring quantitative professionals, where contestants are tasked to develop a predictive model based on training data.

  • $100K Available in Cash Prizes
  • Exciting job opportunities in London
  • Compete against the best quantitative minds in the world

The competition is open and the deadline for submissions is 30 September 2019.

Find out more and sign-up >>

Start-up Visa Endorsement – apply now!

Blogged by Brianna Thompson on 25/07/2019.

All applications must be emailed to brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk by Wednesday 18 September at 12 noon.

If you have an idea for a business, have a venture currently in development, or are piloting a new concept, you may be eligible to apply for our endorsement under the Start-up Visa scheme, which allows non-EEA nationals to reside in the UK in order to develop their business.

Previously endorsed businesses have included:

  • Social enterprises and not-for-profits
  • Technology start-ups
  • Funding generation and investment organisations
  • Digital education tools
  • Energy research

The University of Oxford can endorse up to thirty applicants per year. Calls for applications are held four times a year. The next deadline for applications is Wednesday 18 September at 12 noon. Applications are now open, and you can apply by email to brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk

You can find more information and details of how to apply on our visas information page or on CareerConnect. Alternatively, you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place on Wednesday 2 October at the Careers Service (date and location are subject to change).

Win £100 with the Internship Office Photo Competition!

Blogged by Internship Office on 18/07/2019.

The Oxford University Internship Office Photo Competition is taking place once again in 2019! We are inviting all students who take part in internships facilitated through the Internship Office to submit photos that best represent your internship experience.

Please submit entries for the following categories:

Through an intern’s eyes…

What does your internship look like? Are there images you are seeing each day that would represent your experience in a positive way? Perhaps a snap of your colleagues, your workstation, field trips, events or meetings, appealing views on your way to work, even interesting objects which you associate with your internship. You can be as creative as you like!

You on your internship

We want to see photos of you in your internship environment. This could be a selfie, or you could task someone else to take a picture of you in action on your internship. This could be a posed shot, a journey, an event, meeting or you in your everyday routine on your internship.

Rules and tips

  • To enter the competition, please send your photos by email to internships@careers.ox.ac.uk with the items as file attachments, or using a file transfer service such as WeTransfer or Dropbox. Please state clearly which categories you would like to enter.
  • You may enter five photos for each category (a maximum of 10 photos in total).
  • The winning entries will be decided by a selection panel at the Careers Service.
  • For information on copyright and usage permission, please see the terms and conditions.
  • There will be one prize winner per category, who will each be awarded a high street voucher worth £100.
  • We are looking for photographs that communicate your internship experience in an interesting way. Creativity and imagination will be rewarded!
  • The closing date for this competition is 17:00, Monday 16 September 2019.

And finally, if you need some inspiration, have a look at some of our favourite entries from previous competitions:

2015 Slideshow

2016 Slideshow

2017 Slideshow

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