Seen these icons?

If we have events, jobs or news that are relevant to the page topic, you can access them by clicking on icons next to the print button.

Application Forms | The Careers Service Application Forms – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo
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 available
  • Keep to the word or character limit
  • 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 mail 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 Oxford 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, which is not used for selection purposes; although they may use the space to ask if you require any reasonable adjustments for interview if you disclose a disability.

A note on ‘disclosing’ a disability

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 looking for employers who have been awarded “two ticks”  –  for making a commitment to employ, keep and develop the abilities of disabled staff. One of the (five) commitments for firms with the “two ticks” accreditation includes interviewing all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and to consider them on their abilities.

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.
Example answers

Please note that the answers below are generic and are for guidance purposes only. It’s very important to remember that whenever answering a question, try to be as specific as possible, providing detail on the specifics of the activity/achievement.

Describe any aspect of your course of particular interest to you and/or of relevance to your application.

TIPS: Re-read the job description and person specification, if available. Identify parts of your course that have provided you with relevant skills. Employers will typically be looking for evidence that you can meet deadlines, work in team situations and rise to new challenges.

EXAMPLE: “I have found most aspects of my course interesting and rewarding. The highlight has been my final-year project, which involved interviewing academics and members of the general public to find out their views on the role of science in today’s society. I derived great satisfaction from successfully and effectively completing the project within the timescale set, and enjoyed the challenge of presenting my findings to my department…….”

Identify the qualities you possess which make you suitable for a career in X?

TIPS: You must reassure the selector that you have given your choice of career careful thought, and made a match between yourself and the post that you are applying for.

EXAMPLE: “I decided on a career in X as I am well organised and passionate about working with and motivating people. For example during my summer holidays I volunteered to work for a children’s summer camp for eight weeks, with responsibility for planning and running daily activities for 11-15 year olds. My flexibility and ability to think on my feet were invaluable during this time, for example on one occasion………”

What is your greatest achievement? Explain the steps you took to achieve it.

TIPS: Think about the attributes the selector is looking for. Identify where in your life you have demonstrated them.

EXAMPLE: ” I am particularly proud of the fact that I was able to lobby my local council to install local recycling facilities. Until last summer there were no recycling facilities available in the village where I live, as such I started a campaign to have the facilities installed. I was able to recruit four volunteers and together we asked local residents to sign a petition in favour of the facilities, wrote to local newspapers to raise awareness about our cause and to several local firms asking for sponsorship and help…”

Our resources
This information was last updated on 23 August 2017.
Loading... Please wait
Recent blogs about Application Forms

Summer Graduate & Internship Fair 2018

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on May 17, 2018.
  • When: Wednesday 23 May, 14.30-17.30
  • Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Rd

Graduating this year and not yet secured a job? Looking for an internship this summer? Meet over 25 recruiters from a range of sectors, offering either full-time jobs and internships starting this summer.

Whether you haven’t found a place yet, or haven’t started looking, this is a great opportunity to explore careers and available opportunities. Find out more in the fair booklet, now available online.

Explore your options

With over 25 employers attending, the fair has representatives from many different sectors – including  IT, Finance, Social Care, Retail, Engineering, Marketing and more.

All employers have either internships available for the summer 2018, or full-time graduate roles starting this summer or autumn.

Meet organisations including:

  • Bloomsbury Tutors and Bloomsbury Law Tutors
  • Capital One
  • Darktrace
  • Datatonic
  • Department for Education – Get into Teaching
  • Dragon Advisory
  • Emerson Roxar
  • Ensoft Ltd
  • Fat Lama
  • FilmLight
  • Huguenot Services Limited
  • Lonza
  • The Marketing Practice
  • MathWorks
  • Metaswitch
  • NaturalMotion
  • Newton
  • Operis Group PLC
  • Papercup
  • Procter & Gamble Push
  • S-RM
  • Symplectic
  • Tamarindo Communications
  • Teach First
  • TPP
  • Unlocked Graduates
  • Veeva
  • Vodafone

Find out more in the fair booklet, now available online.

Get your CV checked!

Get one-to-one feedback from a visiting recruiter in our CV Clinics. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis, so bring your CV along and sign up on the day!

Download our fair app!

“Oxford University Careers Fair” is available for free on iTunes and Google Play, and contains information on all of our major fairs.

Download it and you can:

• See complete employer listings, and star your favourites
• Make notes about the employers before and after your visit
• View the interactive floorplan
• Read tips on how to prepare for the fair
• And more!

Routes into Data Science Jobs

Posted on behalf of Deepak Mahtani of Pivigo. Blogged by Rachel Bray on May 17, 2018.

Data science has been described as the ‘Sexiest job of the 21st century’ and touches all sectors of industry and companies of all sizes.

A career in data science is an easy transition to make for those who have a masters or PhD in an analytical subject because the skills that one learns from academia can be directly applied to a commercial setting.

Find out more by joining Pivigo for:

Break into Data Science in 2018

In this webinar Pivigo’s community manager and data scientist, Deepak Mahtani will discuss what data science is, what tools one needs to learn to start and have a successful career in this exciting field, and why masters and PhD graduates make great data scientists. He will also discuss how Pivigo can help you make the transition into data science. Deepak studied for a degree in Mathematics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield. From there he went on to gain his PhD in Astrophysics from Keele University where he was researching exoplanet atmospheres. Upon completing his PhD, he participated in the S2DS virtual program in March 2016. He is now the community manager and a data scientist at Pivigo.

  • For the 21 May webinar, register here.
  • For the 22 May webinar, register here.
  • For the 2 July webinar, register here.
  • For the 4 July webinar, register here.


What is Science to Data Science Virtual?

Science to Data Science Virtual is a remote working, full-time data science bootcamp designed to empower analytical PhDs and Masters with the commercial experience they need to transition into a career in data science. During the 5-week programme participants will work on company led projects, which will add real value to the company and give the participants hands on experience in commercial data science. The participants can then talk about their projects on their CVs and at interviews to land a data science job. In this webinar, our community manager Deepak will speak about his experiences on the course, what you can expect from it, and how it helped him accelerate his career.

  • For the 4 June webinar, register here.
  • For the 7 June webinar, register here.
  • For the 9 July webinar, register here.
  • For the 10 July webinar, register here.


How to land a data science job

Understanding how to present your skills in the data science job market can be confusing and daunting. Pivigo’s COO, Jason Muller has extensive experience in the recruitment industry, especially within data science. In this webinar Jason will give his best advice on how land a data science job, including his top tips for structuring your search, crafting your CV, prepping for interviews, salary negotiation, and how to manage direct applications vs working with recruiters.

  • For the 18 June webinar, register here.

 

Third round micro-internships go live on Monday!

Blogged by Rosanna Mills on May 17, 2018.

Good news from the Internship Office – it’s not too late! If you haven’t found time yet to apply for exclusive work experience in weeks 9 or 10 this term, you’ll have the chance next week! From Monday 21 May we’ll open up the third round of micro-internships for applications.

The deadline will be midday, Monday 28 May. Students are allowed one additional application for this late round – so if you have already submitted two applications, you are welcome to apply once more! Please logon to CareerConnect from 21 May to view all late round opportunities. You can find out all the details of the programme on our Micro-Internship Programme webpage.

What placements can I apply for?

Interested? Here are some of the MIPs on offer, but all can be found on CareerConnect!

1 Million Women to Tech – Social Media Micro-Internship, Oxford: Are you a self-starter and team player? Brainstorm the best methods with fellow interns to increase social media following for this educational non-profit.

Modux – Penetration Testing (Cyber Security), Bristol: If you have some programming and coding experience, look no further! The development team at cyber security consultancy Modux needs assistance with their automation tool to aid security professionals.

Oxfordshire Recovery College Micro-Internship, Oxford: The College recently won funding to redesign its website, but they need some photos to use! A brilliant video made by a previous intern also needs refreshing. You’ll be integral to improving their online and social media presence.

Pamoja Education – Product and UX Research, Oxford: Pamoja is looking for those who are good communicators and digitally savvy to research into user experience and development of digital features, conducting interviews and delivering a presentation of findings.

Application support

We’ll be running Application Support Sessions on Tuesday 22 May, 2pm – 3.30pm and Thursday 24 May, 11.30am – 1pm. Book your slot on CareerConnect! Don’t forget, you can also receive advice straight from our host organisations with our Employer Feedback on Student Micro-Internship Applications advice document.

Questions? We’d love to hear from you. Just email micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk

Good luck with your applications!

Extend your horizons…Internships for researchers

Blogged by Rachel Bray on May 17, 2018.

Internships are an excellent way to ‘test the water’ of a new working environment and build your professional network. These four opportunities are particularly suited to Masters and DPhil students keen to apply their research skills in a team and to add value to an organisation.

Follow the links below to find out more and be quick with your application – the deadline is midday on 22 May.

Cast Consultancy ‘Business Technology Analysis Internship’

Location: London

Length: 8-12 weeks

Areas of study: Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

Cast is a specialist residential real estate and construction consultancy. This role will be focused on assessing how digital technology tools can improve basic business processes and the outputs that we deliver for clients. This will include extracting ‘problem statements’ from the technical delivery teams, evaluation of external technology platforms & assessment of potential bespoke coded solutions.

 

Climate Law and Policy Postgraduate Internship

Location: Oxford, remote work if required

Length: 12 weeks

Areas of study: Humanities (Law/Policy, Human Rights, or similar)

CLP is currently looking to hire a postgraduate intern to support our expanding portfolio of projects and consultancies. This is an opportunity for a post-graduate student to gain invaluable experience working in international environmental policy and law, with exposure to a fast-paced and demanding work environment and a small, multi-disciplinary team structure.

 

Ministry of Defence, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre ‘Policy Research Internship’

Location: Shrivenham

Length: 8-12 weeks

Areas of study: Any

An internship at DCDC involves assisting desk officers with research related to Doctrine, Concepts, Strategic Analysis and Futures in a context that is often wider than purely for Defence. Interns will be set a couple of research areas or projects, such as: support DCDC’s Futures Team on their work on the Strategic Trends Programme; support DCDC’s Strategic Analysis Team on the research and production of short occasional papers and think-pieces; support DCDC’s Analysis and Research Team on their work in providing the empirical evidence to support DCDC products.

 

Research Centre for Gas Innovation ‘CO2 Abatement Internship’

Location: University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Length: 8 weeks

Areas of study: Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

This research project is part of the CO2 Abatement Programme of the RCGI and it aims to analyze the integration of CO2 conversion technologies to thermoelectric plants technically, economically and environmentally, aiming to mitigate the global emissions of this gas, as well as to diversify the list of products manufactured in the complex, resulting in increased profit.

Webinar on Editorial and Publishing Careers for Researchers

Posted on behalf of Katie Ridd, Springer Nature. Blogged by Rebecca Ehata on May 17, 2018.

Are you a science communicator or a PhD student/postdoctoral researcher studying the life, physical, applied or social sciences? Are you interested in exploring opportunities for an editorial and publishing career?

Academic publishing company Springer Nature invites PhD students and postdocs to join a free webinar on 30 May, at 10am and 5pm BST, to learn more about the range of editorial and publishing roles available at Nature Research.

Nature Research is a portfolio of high-quality products and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences – including journals, magazines, databases and researcher services – dedicated to serving the scientific community. For more information about research editorial and publishing roles at Nature Research visit www.springernature.com/editorial-and-publishing-jobs.

To register for the webinar go to go.nature.com/2rhTZmO.

This page displays current related blog posts. If none display, you can still stay up-to-date with our newsletter sent regularly to all Oxford students.

Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.