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Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria | The Careers Service Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria – Oxford University Careers Service
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Key advice
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Identify the job criteria

Throughout the application process, you should aim to demonstrate evidence of the skills and qualities specified in the job description and person specification.

If these are not provided – in, for instance, a job specification – or if you are making a speculative application, then create a list of the skills and qualities you expect the organisation is looking for.

You could create this list from your knowledge of the sector, by reading the skills sections of the sector briefings on this site, by networking with professionals, or by reading adverts for similar positions.

Choose examples from your life

Having made the list of job criteria, you should then jot down examples that demonstrate you have the skills or experience they are looking for.

You can demonstrate these by using examples from your academic life and extracurricular activities: tutorials, team projects, work experience, part-time jobs, fieldwork, dissertations, sport, music, and societies in the University or your College. Try to find examples from a range of activities.

  • Give specific examples and evidence – don’t generalise
  • Think of evidence that you can quantify: how much, how many, how often
  • Vary your use of examples, and draw from different areas of your life
  • Don’t undersell Saturday jobs or part-time, holiday jobs. Recruiters often tell us at the Careers Service that they like to read about these experiences as they can demonstrate many skills. You don’t have to climb Mt Kilimanjaro to be impressive!
  • Draw on your most recent relevant experiences and achievements wherever possible.
An example of the process
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Sample Job Description

The Maximal Group Graduate Openings for Planning Researchers

We are specialist advisers to corporate owners and high net worth individuals. We have built up a reputation for working with companies and individuals, to enhance their business and personal finances. This has been achieved through the development of highly specialised products and services, designed specifically for those markets.

We offer outstanding opportunities for top quality graduates. Starting as a Planning Researcher, you will be trained and qualified to advance to the role of Planning Associate and then the prestigious role of Corporate Consultant. You will have

  • A 2:1 or above in any degree discipline
  • At least 300 UCAS points
  • Solid communication skills
  • Well-developed IT skills
  • The ability to manage your workload and responsibilities, either on a solo or teamwork basis
  • A genuine interest in business, finance and people

Starting salaries will be in the range £18k-£22k, with share options and unrivalled training and career advancement opportunities. To apply, send your CV and a covering letter to Mr J. Hawes, Recruitment Manager, The Maximal Group, PO Box 3746, Essex, CM19 7HN.

My Evidence

  • 2:1
    • Yes
  • 300 UCAS points
    • Yes
  • Communication skills
    • Written: Reports during work experience at Wests; Emphasise variety within studies (essays, dissertations, reports, etc); College Debating Society publicity material
    • Oral: GCSE private tutoring; Presentation of final-year project; College Debating Society
  • IT skills
    • MS Office (at uni and for jobs) Word, Excel, PowerPoint
    • Internet – basic html writing webpage for Debating Soc
  • Managing workload & responsibilities
    • Solo: Study at Oxford! Successful final-year project
    • Self-starter: Organising useful work experience & tutoring service
    • Team: Debating Society committee; well-attended debates; outside speakers; promotion of society
  • Interest in business/finance/people
    • Read FT & The Economist; Work experience (Wests and Tesco); Tutoring & debating
Presenting experience
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You should then make sure you use these examples when presenting yourself in your CV and cover letter – or application form – and at interview. At interview, do not be afraid to repeat the examples you used in your written application if you have limited experience. Your interviewers will have read large numbers of applications, and will not have memorised all the points in yours!

Structuring responses: the STAR technique

In cover letters, application forms and interviews, you may find the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action, Result) helps you to frame a clear structure when providing an example experience.

  • Describe a situation
  • Explain the task you had to do
  • Set out – clearly, specifically, and with detail – the actions you took
  • And finally, describe the result and what you learned

The ‘Action’ should account for about 70 per cent of your answer, with the other parts taking up roughly 10 per cent each.

Action verbs

In written applications, you should convey your relevant skills and experience with impact by using action verbs. These can help make an application stand out, particularly if you start bullet-points with them. Here are some examples:

Accomplished • Achieved • Administered • Advised • Advocated • Analysed • Assembled • Authorised • Awarded • Budgeted • Captained • Chaired • Coached • Completed • Conducted • Co-ordinated • Counselled • Created • Decided • Delivered • Demonstrated • Designed • Determined • Developed • Devised • Directed • Discovered • Earned • Edited • Employed • Enabled • Encouraged • Engineered • Enjoyed • Ensured •  Established • Evaluated • Examined • Expanded • Explained • Facilitated • Founded • Gained • Generated • Handled • Identified • Implemented • Improved • Increased • Initiated • Instituted • Instructed • Interviewed • Invented • Launched • Led • Managed • Marketed • Maximised • Mediated • Negotiated • Obtained • Operated • Organised • Oversaw • Performed • Planned • Prepared • Presented • Prioritised • Produced • Promoted • Raised • Ran • Recognised  • Recommended • Reconciled • Recruited • Represented • Responsible • Saved • Set up • Simplified • Solved • Supervised • Targeted • Transformed

If you lack experience
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If you feel you lack experience, and don’t have time before an application to gain more, don’t panic! You can always reference the knowledge and skills developed during your course at Oxford.

For example, you could:

  • Mention particularly relevant subjects/modules; extended essay/dissertation/thesis; field work and other research projects.
  • Highlight the tutorial system: ability to see both sides of an argument; thinking on your feet; explaining your views to others; presenting information; and coping with pressure.
  • Remember skills gained from personal study: time management; research skills; analytical and critical thinking; identifying key points; summarising/synthesising information; structuring arguments.
This information was last updated on 12 November 2019.
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