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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

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, or if you are making a speculative application, then create a list of the skills and qualities you would expect the organisation are looking for.

You could create this list from your knowledge of the sector, 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, 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
  • Draw on your most recent relevant experiences and achievements wherever possible
An example of the process

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 £16k-£20k, 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

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 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

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 10 August 2017.
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Recent blogs about Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria

Exciting new environmental internship with Earthwatch Institute!

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on August 16, 2017.

Earthwatch Institute is an international environmental non-profit organisation based in Oxford, with a mission to engage people in scientific research and education, to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch has an internship available for an Oxford student to work on a major UK and global citizen science project focused on freshwater. The intern will be a key member of the research team based in Oxford, and will have the opportunity to work with principal investigators located around the globe in order to enhance our understanding of water quality issues.

As a research intern, you will be skilled in data management, analysis, and development of online mapping applications. You will gain skills in the field of online GIS, and web mapping systems through set up, development and deployment. The position would particularly suit late stage undergraduates or those at masters level, studying mathematics, environmental science, natural sciences or geography (BSc or MSc).

The position is 3 months in duration, starting in September 2017, and comes with a salary of £300 per week, part funded by the Environmental Change Institute, part funded by the employer.

Please see the job description for further details.

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to Steven Loiselle before the application deadline of August 30th 2017.

Internship Office Photographic Competition 2017

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on August 16, 2017.

The Oxford University Internship Office Photographic Competition will be taking place once again in summer 2017 – this year hosted on Instagram! We are calling on all interns to post photos and videos that best represent your internship experience using the hashtag #oxips2017 and by tagging us @oxfordcareersservice.*

Please submit photos for the following categories:

Intern Life

What does the daily life of your internship look like? Whether you are working in an open plan office, a stately home, a tower block, a lab or a forest, we want to see your daily life during your internship. This could include everyday things such as your workstation, your colleagues, the buildings in which you work, conferences, workshops and special events, and also any special or unusual sights you encounter along the way. We would especially like to see well framed photos of you outside your place of work.

Out and About

What have you been up to in your spare time? Have you been on sightseeing trips, or found a favourite restaurant? Have you discovered any cityscapes, visited mountains or seen beautiful landscapes? We’d love to see images of your experiences outside of work and during travels after your internship.

Human Connection

Can you capture that moment when people interact and connect with one another on your internship? This might be a smile shared by colleagues in a meeting or workshop, interactions in a local environment, a depiction of people within a cultural setting, or images of new friendships you have made on your internship.

Intern Views (video entry)

Can you create a snapshot of your internship in video format? We’d like to see a 20-30 second video clip that shows what was great about your internship. You could tell us about the people you worked with, the skills you learned, the location… feel free to use your imagination. You can include other people or just have yourself on camera.

Rules and tips

*To get your Instagram photos and videos considered for our prizes, you will also need to upload them to the university-hosted file transfer facility Oxfile to In the message field please specify the category for which you would like your entries to be considered. (And if you don’t have an Instagram account, please send us your entries via Oxfile and we will upload them to Instagram on your behalf).

  • We are looking for photographs that communicate your internship experience in an interesting way. Creativity and imagination will be rewarded!
  • You may enter seven photos for each photo category (a maximum of 21 photos in total), and one video for the video category.
  • You can tag as many photos and videos as you like on Instagram with @oxfordcareersservice and #oxips2017, but only photos sent via Oxfile will be formally considered for the competition.
  • The winning entries will be decided by a selection panel at the Careers Service. Entries with the most Instagram likes will be automatically will be automatically short-listed in each category.
  • For information on copyright and usage permission, please see the terms and conditions (attached).
  • There will be one prize winner per category, who will be awarded a high street voucher worth £30.
  • All submitted entries will be posted by us on Instagram, crediting you unless you tell us otherwise. Please note that we may also use entries in other web/publicity material.
  • The closing date for this competition is midnight on Sunday 17th September 2017.

Photos from last year

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

See full terms and conditions for the competition.


PhD to Consulting Conference 2017

Blogged by Mark McHugh on August 10, 2017.

Registration for the PhD to Consulting Conference 2017 is now open to all PhD students and Postdoctoral Scholars.

Early bird registrations are open till until 13 August. Successful applicants are charged a reduced registration fee of £25.

The final deadline for applications is 10 September.

The PhD to Consulting (PtC) conference is a one-day annual event targeted at doctoral and post-doctoral researchers interested in pursuing a career in consulting.

A doctorate nurtures qualities like exceptional problem-solving skills, intellectual curiosity and a drive to achieve outstanding results. Commercial organisations and consulting firms are realising the potential of PhDs, valuing their fresh and thoughtful approach to delivering business insights. However, a number of high calibre researchers are unaware of this opportunity, and find it difficult to locate appropriate resources and guidance to realise a transition from academia to consulting.

The PtC conference provides a platform for discussion and networking for PhD researchers and professionals from top consulting firms. The conference will focus on topics such as:

  • Exploring how receptive the UK consulting industry is to PhD students/graduates.
  • Determining the scope for PhD recruits in consulting.
  • Defining the consulting industry expectations of PhD students/graduates.
  • Outlining the skills that PhD recruit should have for a career in consulting and how they may apply.
  • Establishing any sector/industry specific demands for PhD students/graduates.
  • Analysing typical recruitment and assessment procedures, including case interviews and competencies.

If you are a PhD interested in participating in the conference, visit the registration page for details.


Knight-Hennessey Scholarships for graduate study at Stanford

Blogged by Abby Evans on August 10, 2017.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will build a multidisciplinary cohort of Stanford graduate students dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s great challenges. The pioneer cohort (enrolling in Fall 2018) will comprise 50 Scholars, growing to 100 in subsequent cohorts.

Scholars will receive funding for tuition and fees, as well as a generous stipend covering associated academic expenses, room and board, and personal expenses and may pursue a graduate education in any of Stanford’s 120+ graduate degree programs.

Citizens of all countries are welcome to apply. To be eligible you must have been awarded a Bachelor’s degree in 2013 or later. You may have earned, or be pursuing, a graduate degree – as long as you earned your undergraduate degree in 2013 or later.

The application for the pioneer class (entering Stanford in fall 2018) opened May 1, 2017, and is due on September 27, 2017. Note that candidates must apply not only to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, but also to her/his graduate program of interest.

Yenching Academy applications opening in August

Posted on behalf of Yenching Academy of Peking University. Blogged by Rosanna Mills on August 10, 2017.

On August 15 2017, the Yenching Academy will begin welcoming applications for its 2018 cohort from international, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan candidates.

The Yenching Academy annually enrolls approximately 125 new students from both mainland China and abroad, to study, live, and learn together. International students and students from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan comprise roughly 80% of the student body.

Applicants should have:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in any field, awarded no later than August 31 of the year in which they wish to enroll;
  • An outstanding academic record;
  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary study of China;
  • A record of extracurricular achievement, community engagement and social responsibility;
  • Leadership potential;
  • English proficiency.

Successful applicants will demonstrate how the Yenching Academy program is relevant and valuable for their career plans.

International candidates and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan may begin applying August 15, 2017. There are two deadlines, associated with candidates’ universities:

  • Dec. 11 2017: Universities in the United States and Canada;
  • Jan. 15 2018: Universities in all other countries.

Applicants must submit all materials before 12:00 noon (Beijing time) on the relevant deadlines.

Please view all programme and application details on Yenching Academy‘s website.

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