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.

Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria | The Careers Service Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo
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 31 May 2019.
Loading... Please wait
Recent blogs about Demonstrate You Fit the Job Criteria

OXFO L.E.V8 Accelerator

Posted on behalf of Oxford Foundry. Blogged by Mike Moss on 20/09/2019.

OXFO L.E.V8 (Elevate) at the Oxford Foundry is the University of Oxford’s most diverse accelerator. The programme takes in up to 12 high potential ventures a year and is designed to support and nurture early-stage start-up teams affiliated to the university.

Oxford students, staff and alumni can get six months free support to build their venture. This includes mentorship, masterclasses, and access to the Foundry’s global network of investors and partners including Biz Stone, Cofounder of Twitter and Medium, Jenny Tooth OBE, UK Business Angels Association, Professor Bill Aulet, MIT, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and Robin Saunders, Managing Partner at Clearbrook Capital.

Ventures also get support to build a team – many ventures have met their cofounders through the Foundry, along with leadership and resilience skills support, financial, business, pitching, product-market fit, customer development and legal advice.

To date, the Foundry has supported 19 start-ups who have raised £7m, created 70 jobs and are having a global impact across sectors including retail, medtech, energy, publishing, fintech and more.

The accelerator is based in our Oxford Foundry building on Hythe Bridge street and runs from 18 November 2019 to May 2020.

“The Foundry has accelerated our growth by providing a space devoted to entrepreneurship, giving us access to people with diverse talents and expertise, and to its network of investors. It has been incredible. Such growth wouldn’t have been possible without the Foundry. We are now focused on raising capital and sales and marketing. We want to sign ten new clients by the end of the year.” Jason Lacombe, CEO, Veratrak.

We welcome solo founders and teams and it’s a fantastic chance to be part of a supportive and expert community.  The programme is equity-free.

Apply online on the Oxford Foundry website. Deadline: 30 September 2019.

AstraZeneca and BBSTEM Collaboration Event in Cambridge

Posted on behalf of AstraZeneca and BBSTEM . Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 20/09/2019.

AstraZeneca have joined forces with BBSTEM to provide an opportunity for university students and recent graduates of an African or Caribbean heritage to visit AstraZeneca and learn about their Early Talent opportunities.

BBSTEM is a non-profit organisation campaigning for balance and representation of Black individuals in science, technology, engineering and maths. They are offering this event specifically for University students from 2nd year Bachelors/Masters to Post-Doc, who are currently studying a STEM subject on track to receive a 2.1 or equivalent.

The event will be taking place in Granta Park, Cambridge on Wednesday, 16 October. Apply through the Eventbrite form.

Spaces at this event are limited to 40, first come first served. When you apply you will need to submit a 100 word paragraph about your interest in the pharmaceutical industry and the benefit this day will bring for you.

Mewburn Ellis – Patent Open Day in Bristol

Posted on behalf of Mewburn Ellis . Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 20/09/2019.

Mewburn Ellis are running an open day at their Bristol office on 1 November for students who are interested in finding out more about life as a Patent Attorney. The day will include talks from their current trainees and attorneys, as well as practical exercises.

Primarily these days are aimed at those studying STEM subjects at any level, intending to join us as a trainee patent attorney in 2020.

Book your place now by going to their online registration page.

Places fill up quickly so sign up soon to avoid disappointment.

Inns of Court BPTC Scholarships open on 20 September and close on 1 November 2019

Blogged by Julia Sadler on 18/09/2019.

Qualifying as a Barrister can be a very expensive business; barristers’ chambers don’t offer the same sponsorship opportunities as law firms. However, the four Inns of Court (Middle, Inner, Gray’s and Lincoln’s Inn) offer over £5 million in awards, scholarships and bursaries to aspiring barristers.

Applications for scholarships designed to support your BPTC (the Bar Professional Training Course) year, from all four Inns, open on Friday 20 September and close on 1 November. Previous stats show that roughly one in three applicants are awarded a scholarship on average. Find out more at the the individual Inns’ websites:

Civil Service Fast Stream: 4-week application window opens soon!

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 17/09/2019.

The Fast Stream application window will open for 4 weeks only, from 26 September to 12:00 (noon) on 24 October for:

  • Full-time positions starting September 2020
  • Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) for penultimate year students, July-August 2020

The Fast Stream offers the opportunity to contribute to fast-paced work that touches the lives of everyone in the UK. See the Fast Stream career pages and FAQs for comprehensive details of all 15 ‘streams’, check eligibility criteria and learn about the application process. Keep up to speed and hear daily from current fast streamers via social media – this year all brought under one umbrella via the Fast Stream Social Wall.

Oxford’s recently updated Government and Public Admin briefing provides our latest insights and advice about preparing for Fast Stream applications – and offers ideas on other routes into the UK civil service and public sector careers in general.

Check details on CareerConnect for events throughout Michaelmas Term, including:

Week 1:

  • Monday 14 October – 14:15-15:30 Insight into the Civil Service Fast Stream: Hear from a current Fast Stream Generalist, and one of this summer’s SDIP participants
  • Saturday 19 October – 11:30-12:15 Graduate Schemes and Careers With Social Impact Panel discussion at the Oxford Careers Fair, Exam Schools

Week 3: 

  • Monday 21 October – 14:15-15:30 Career lounge on Fast Stream Applications  Careers Adviser-led chat and questions from the audience on application process.
  • Thursday 24 October – 12:00 (noon) Application Deadline

Week 6: 

  • Thursday 21 November – 13:45-17:00 Civil Service Policy Game: Interactive role-play to provide policy advice for Minister’s decision. Booking essential

Week 7: 

  • Friday 27 November –  Civil Service Interview Support: Only for candidates continuing in the process, one-to-one advice sessions: booking essential.

Week 8:

  • Friday 3 December – Civil Service Interview Support: Only for candidates continuing in the process, one-to-one advice sessions: booking essential.
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.