Making applications

Thinking ahead and using the available support goes a long way in making this process more fun, efficient and likely to result in an interview.

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Follow these links for guidance on how to draft and polish your CV, cover letters and job applications form and for tips on demonstrating you fit the job criteria.

After a few (or more) years doing a PhD or working in academia, it can feel challenging to present  one's skills and experience in ways that will appeal to employers in other work sectors. One route is to develop a skills-based CV where you can make your transferable skills immediately visible to recruiters.

We observe that Situational Judgement or Critical Thinking Tests are becoming more popular in recruitment. If these are new to you or sound scarey, read up and try out a few via our psychometric tests page.

Our Academic Applications page has plenty of tips on

  • refining your academic CV
  • writing an effective teaching statement
  • preparing a research statement for job, PhD, fellowship  or funding applications
  • fellowship and funding applications
  • academic cover letters and supporting statements

Keep up-to-speed with:

  • short Careers Features published by Nature and other major journals. Their excellent tips on transitioning from academia hold for everyone, even when written for scientists
  • our Oxbridge Early Career Researcher blog on avoiding common traps and turning a good application into one that shines
  • podcast series by Taylor & Francis, an international academic publisher, who teamed up with Vitae to offer practical tips and insights for researchers looking to develop their careers. It covers stepping up and moving on, getting published, academic mentoring, overcoming imposter syndrome etc
  • Research Professional database of funding opportunities that you can tailor to your subject areas. It is a subscription resource so you need to be on a university-networked computer to set up an account.
  • UK Research and Innovation, the new national body which brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England, is another good place to look for information about current funding opportunities.

All Oxford students and eligible research staff can ask for feedback on draft CVs, cover letters and supporting statements, or help in preparing for an interview, via a 1:1 appointment with any Oxford Careers Adviser. You can book an appointment at a time that suits you.

Please consult our online guidance via links in the above sections before speaking to the adviser.

Look out for CV and cover letter workshops run by Careers Advisers. See the events calendar on Career Connect to find and sign-up for the next workshop.

Online interviewing is increasing: to feel more confident and prepare well, read our guidance on telephone and video interviewing.

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