Ace your applications!

An application form is your opportunity to market yourself to a recruiter and convince them you have the skills and experience they are looking for. In order for your application to be effective, make your answers specific to the organisation you are applying to (known as targeting). Remember to save a copy of your form, as this will be useful reference if you get invited to interview and can help when making future applications.

rightGet it right:

  • Read the job description carefully. You won’t be able to sell yourself effectively if you are not sure what the recruiter is looking for and what the specifics of the job are. You will then need to address each of these points in your answers. If it is an unadvertised role, read job descriptions for similar positions and use the Prospects job profiles to get a sense of what the recruiter is likely to be looking for.
  • Use examples from when you have successfully used a skill in the past as evidence to prove you have the skills required for the role. (See the STAR technique below for information on how to structure your answers). Think about what you have been involved in over the past few years where you have used and developed your skills (your CV can be a useful starting point) to identify the most appropriate situation to use for your answer.
  • Part time jobs, volunteering and involvement in clubs / societies can also be used as evidence of skills e.g. working in a team or taking the initiative.  Examples from work, study and extra-curricular activities show you have a range of experience.
  • Find out about the organisation you are applying to. What makes them different to their competitors? What are their biggest achievements? Look beyond just the department you are applying to. Knowing more about them will allow you to sound confident and informed when answering why you want to work for them.
  • What are the key issues affecting the industry? Understanding this will mean you can show your interest in the industry and your ability to contribute to the organisation.

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Student Story: Aneesah’s QMentoring Experience

Aneesah_AkramAneesah Akram, 2nd year Chemistry student

Applying for the QMentoring scheme

I spent my first year at QMUL adjusting to my course, socialising through societies, and trying to figure out my options and interests. Having enrolled onto the undergraduate MSci Chemistry programme, I knew that my career interests laid within the research and development sector, where I could apply the practical skills that I enjoyed so much.

Over the summer, I realised I needed to make myself stand out from other students. I wanted to gain experience in my field to show enthusiasm and be able to demonstrate the key skills that employers were looking for but I wasn’t really sure how I could do that. This is where the QMentoring programme fitted in, I saw it being advertised via a university email and decided to apply for a place.

Introduction to my mentor

In October of my second year, I received an email confirming my place on the programme. I attended the launch where I got to socialise with other mentors and mentees, which enhanced my confidence through the ice breakers we did, and I got to know more about people in addition to their work/student life. I was excited but also slightly nervous to meet my mentor. I was given no information about them prior to the launch so wasn’t sure quite what to expect.

I met my mentor for the first time and immediately loved the energy I got from her. She was enthusiastic, a good listener and full of ideas but, most importantly, she was able to give me an insight into the possibilities of my career. My mentor works as a writer for a chemistry magazine and she has experience of researching a number of different areas, from nanotechnology to synthetic biology.

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Guest Blog: 6 Things to do While You Wait to Land Your Dream Editing Job


Sometimes it can feel as though getting into the world of book editing is an impossible task. According to Bustle, publishing can be a “tough field to break into.” It is an overwhelming industry but a desirable one for those with a love of books and proofreading. Like many, as an aspiring editor, you’re likely to be well-versed in scrolling through job websites and applying for publishing jobs left, right and centre. As important as this time is, it’s also a good idea to spend time becoming more employable for the publishing world.

So while you’re applying for every publishing job going, what else can you do to increase your editing employability?

Read… a lot

It’s no good wanting to work in book publishing if you’re not always reading. Employers want to see you’re knowledgeable on all things books. They want to see you’re passionate about your all-time favourites and that you know the books everybody is talking about.

Some top tips:

  • Read the books published by companies you’re interested in and/or companies you have interviews lined up for. If you want to stand a chance in getting the job, you need to do some revision.
  • Read the books of your favourite publishing companies’ top competitors.
  • Read some of the classics; maybe dip in and out of Goodreads’ “100 Books to Read Before You Die” list.
  • Chronicle Books even suggest reading books that explore the editorial process.

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Erasmus+ Funding for Graduate Traineeships – 2018 Application open, deadline 1st June

ErasmusPlus-KA1_traineeships_1Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme for boosting skills and employability through education, training, youth and sport. Queen Mary University of London participates in the Erasmus+ Programme and will supply funding to a limited number of students for a traineeship in Europe.

Students in their final year who are planning on doing a traineeship (internship/work placement) outside the UK but in Europe (see list of Programme Countries) after they finished their studies can now apply for an Erasmus+ grant to help towards their living cost.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain international experience and to give your CV a competitive edge!

Why take part?

There are many reasons and some of them will be personal to you:

  • Gaining and improving a range of skills that are desirable to employers, including communication across cultural boundaries, self-management, independence, confidence, adaptability and self-reliance
  • Developing a global and cultural outlook, a quality highly sought-after by current employers
  • Building up a network of valuable contacts
  • Improving your (existing) language skills

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Procrastinating with your job hunt?

access-adult-blur-261628Sometimes it feels as though there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done, so it’s easy to put things off and find distractions. Particularly if they seem, let’s be honest, a little bit daunting or feel like hard work.
Job hunting can often fall into this category, which can feel overwhelming and can be tough to know where or how to start. It’s also especially easy to put off if you are not sure what you want to do / are nervous about interviews / are fearful about the job market or leaving university….
Break it down
You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without any preparation and the same can be applied to job hunting.  Whilst securing a job might be your end goal, breaking down how you are going to get there will allow you to focus on one area at a time. This could be to update your CV,  explore different job areas,  fill out an application form, book a careers appointment etc….
Achieving small goals will help you feel like you are making progress and will keep you motivated. Having a plan will also help avoid wasting time deciding what to do, which often leads into a downward spiral of more procrastination…

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How To Get Your CV Noticed

Your mission in a nutshell is to persuade the employer:

You can do the job

You will do the job

You’ll fit in

Employers want evidence of what YOU have done. If you have used a skill before, you are more likely to be able to use it again in the job.

This is only half the battle – making your CV clear and easy to read is vital if you want it to make the right kind of impact.

Reviewing Curricula - Job Applicants Under Scrutiny - With Copys

Language and format

  • Omit pronouns – I, you, he, she, they and articles – a or the. Saves space and ego
  • Balance –Are the long sections the most relevant ones for the job?
  • Dates – ensure there are no gaps but don’t worry about day dates – month and year will be fine
  • Whilst you do not need to list all your modules, an employer will appreciate a list of relevant modules as this demonstrates an understanding of the requirements of the role

Work Experience

  • Prioritise – Check the personal specification
  • Achievements – Include anything that was IMPLEMENTED
  • Evidence – Think about HOW you are a good communicator and team player. Use examples to show this

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QMUL Model Extra opportunities – find out more!

modCome visit us at Mile End library! We’re holding a stall inside, where you can ask us about our fantastic range of QMUL Model Extra opportunities!

Find out more and apply for these great opportunities, all of which are non-credit bearing, and take place once a week over a semester. See a full list of opportunities below, and visit for more details.

InQUBEate – build the skills to launch a business or social enterprise.

Leadership, Management and Professional Skills – develop an understanding of management and the working environment, and refine your skills that will help you succeed through group-based learning.

QConsult – take on a consultancy project for a real business or charity.

QInsight: Civil Service Fast Stream – explore the Civil Service, meet the staff and experience their recruitment methods.

QTaster – learn about different potential careers by visiting various graduate employers.