Careers and Employability

Make applications

Most graduate employers have a 'shopping-list' of the skills, personal qualities, knowledge and experience they hope to find in candidates, and the recruitment process is your opportunity to provide evidence of these attributes.

Careful preparation is essential and the Careers Network offers a range of activities and resources to give you the best possible start. We run presentations and workshops on all stages of the recruitment and selection process and offer individual advice on CVs, application and interview techniques and employer tests.

Getting Started

The secret to any successful application (and interview!) is doing your background research before you start. By reading the vacancy carefully, learning about the organisation and exploring the wider job sector, you will more effective at targeting your applications. Learning about skills employers seek will help you to identify your strengths and evidence the relevant ones. Work out your unique selling points (USPs) and use positive action words to make a more powerful impact, online and in person.

CVs (Curriculum Vitae)

Curriculum Vitae literally means 'record of life'. It's a personal marketing tool, presenting your skills, attributes, experience and qualifications to employers in a way that demonstrates your suitability for a job or position.

  • Your CV needs to be well presented, concise and tailored for the opportunity you are applying for.
  • Everyone’s CV should be different and yours should reflect experiences and skills that are specific to you and relevant to your chosen role.
  • Refer to our CV Checklist‌ to make sure you have considered all the basics.
  • Make sure you get your CV reviewed by someone else to make it the best it can be.

Example CVs

Skills based


One page CV

Design CV

For more detailed advice, see The Guidebook - How to excel in applications and interviews

Covering Letters

Whenever you submit a CV you need to also send a tailored covering letter (or email). It needs to explain your motivation for that role and organisation and emphasise the skills and experience that are particularly relevant to that opportunity.

  • Your covering letters need to be specific to the role and highlight why you are suitable, making reference to your CV where necessary.
  • Make sure you research the company you are writing to and reflect this in your reason for choosing them.
  • Keep your letter short and concise and present it in a logical and structured way that makes it readable and interesting!

Example covering letters

For more detailed advice, see The Guidebook - How to excel in applications and interviews

Application Forms

Application forms are used by employers to compare candidates’ details against their selection criteria and choose who to take forward to the next stage of the recruitment process. They usually combine simple questions, asking for factual information, with more open ended questions with word limits, requiring you to evidence a particular experience, skill or competency.

Research the job or placement you are applying so you can tailor the information and evidence that you provide enough. Read the instructions and questions carefully making sure you understand exactly what the employer is looking for.  Select powerful and relevant examples from all areas of your experience and consider using the STARR techniques for those longer competency based questions.

For more detailed advice, see The Guidebook - How to excel in applications and interviews


Interviews are good news – they mean your application form or CV has worked.  Now you need to get the preparation underway to make the most of the opportunity. Increasingly first interviews are telephone interviews. A first interview tends to be one-to-one between you and the interviewer, but at some stages you may be interviewed by more than one person at a time. Some interviews can be very formal.while others might resemble an informal chat, but be assured that the interviewer/s will be assessing you whatever the format. Assessment Centres or Second Interviews have a more varied structure.

Interviews may seem scary, but they don’t have to be.  By preparing well they can be a positive experience. Review your application form, letter or CV and build on the research you have started. Find out as much as you can about what the employer expects during their interview process and prepare and practice answers to typical interview questions.

Work out in advance what you will wear and how you will get to your interview; and on the day be positive and enthusiastic to make the best impression possible.

For more detailed advice, see The Guidebook - How to excel in applications and interviews

Assessment Centres

Assessment centres, (sometimes called second interviews), are often the final stage in the graduate recruitment process – and are increasingly used in placement selection too. They are usually held at the employer’s premises or a hotel and involve a variety of individual and group exercises designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate specific skills and qualities against a predetermined set of criteria.

Find out if you need to prepare anything to take with you to the assessment centre. Some employers ask you to prepare a short presentation.
Identify which skills and qualities the organisation is looking for and work out how you can best demonstrate these.  When you get there be friendly, positive and professional and be yourself.  Make a contribution to all activities so that the assessors have something to mark you on.

For more detailed advice, see The Guidebook - How to excel in applications and interviews

Employer Tests

A high proportion of graduate recruiters use online “psychometric” ability or aptitude tests as a key part of the selection process. The Careers Network has invested in high quality licensed online packages to give Loughborough students and graduates free access to practice psychometric tests of the kind used by graduate recruiters. Take a look at the online resources and practise some Employer Tests.

The best way to prepare for employer tests is by practicing them, so make the most of any opportunity available to you to do this. For numerical tests, many questions involve calculations such as percentages and ratios, use data sets presented to you.  If necessary, revise some basic GCSE – level maths to get you back up to speed.  Most tests are timed, so make sure you understand the instructions, plan your time and work through the questions as quickly as possible.

For further tips, see The Guidebook - How to excel in applications and interviews