CVs covering letters and applications

Covering letters

Sending a good covering letter with a targeted CV (speculative application) to relevant employers, is a really effective way of convincing an employer to meet you and potentially create an opportunity for you. Our cover letters section on the Career Toolkit contains all the information you need to create a standout covering letter including:

  • covering letter essentials
  • what to include
  • examples for different work situations
  • standard covering letters
  • speculative covering letter top tips.

Feedback on your covering letter

Drop in and see us to get individual feedback on your covering letter.

CV writing

A well-written CV will show your career interests and highlight your most relevant skills and experience to match the requirements of the vacancy and the employer.

The Career Toolkit has a wide range of resources to help you write your CV, including:

  • how to create your CV and what to include
  • CVs for different types of jobs
  • templates for specific job sectors.

Example CVs

Our example CVs offer a range of content and format options for you to consider. 

CV checking 

Drop in and see us to get individual feedback on your covering letter.

Extended selection procedures, called assessment centres, can last one or two days or sometimes longer. The resources below will help you prepare for assessment centres, know what to expect and what employers are looking for.

Speculative applications

Not all job opportunities are advertised. In fact, up to 70 per cent of jobs are not advertised. Some employers don't want to generate large numbers of applications or pay for expensive advertising and others already get lots of applications without needing to advertise. Tap into this 'hidden' graduate job market by making a speculative application.

View the Careers Toolkit and Resources tab for information on preparing speculative application forms and identifying 'hidden' opportunities.

Your covering letter is the first thing an employer sees when you apply for a job, and it is important to make a good first impression. The employer will read your covering letter and form judgements about you as a person and your suitability for the job. Always send a CV with a covering letter.

Applications

A common method to apply for an advertised job opportunity is to complete an application form.

Many companies use online applications forms. When completing the form, ensure that you follow all of the instructions. Fill in each section accurately and provide detailed evidence of how your skills, knowledge and experience match the requirements of the role.

Log in to the Career Toolkit for resources and information on how to make successful applications.

Interviews

Preparing for interviews

There are different types of interviews – competency-based interviews, panel interviews, technical interviews and telephone interviews – interview preparation is essential.

View the Career Toolkit for all the information you need for interview success including:

  • interactive videos to help you practise your interview technique
  • interview tips
  • first impressions and body language
  • handling interview nerves
  • dos and don'ts
  • common interview questions
  • panel interviews
  • competence-based interviews
  • technical interviews
  • telephone interviews.

Networking is a powerful tool and a valuable alternative route into the job market. In some sectors, such as the creative sector, it is normal practice to network to find opportunities. It is not about asking for a job, but building up relationships and letting people know what you can do so they can help you market yourself and identify relevant opportunities.

Preparing for assessment centres

Assessment centres vary in structure from employer to employer. Their purpose is to create an environment where you and other applicants can demonstrate key skills required in the workplace. Rather than competing against other candidates, you are assessed against a set of competencies and will need to meet a minimum standard to progress to the next stage.

Assessment centre activities include group work exercises, presentations, case studies and assessment tests. View the Career Toolkit assessment tool for all the information you need to help prepare you for the assessment centre including:

  • making an impression
  • presentation advice
  • practice in-tray exercises
  • case studies
  • what to expect from group exercises.

Psychometric tests

Find out what graduate jobs may suit you 

Use the Career Assessments on the Career Toolkit to help you gain self-awareness including:

  • Self-help diagnostic tools – resources to help assess your skills, interests, strengths and personality and find out what graduate jobs may suit you.
  • Personality tests – these look at your preferences or how you are likely to react and behave in different circumstances, and suggests suitable career areas.

Psychometric testing

Psychometric tests give applicants an equal opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities. They show employers how you are likely to perform in a job, particularly if you have little or no previous experience of the job, and give you feedback as to whether the job is really for you. Psychometric tests may include aptitude or ability tests, personality questionnaires or a combination of both.

Psychometric practice tests

Practise numerical, verbal and analytical tests online. Please note: these resources are only available within the UWE Bristol network.

You may have developed skills and attributes that employers are looking for through a variety of sources including your studies, work, volunteering, hobbies or other parts of your life. Use our resources to help learn what employers are looking for and how to demonstrate your own skills and attributes.

Job hunting and networking

Log in to the Career Toolkit to see useful resources to help you build your networking and job hunting skills including:

  • building a network
  • tips and techniques for networking
  • finding network events
  • accessing the hidden graduate job market
  • networking sites
  • finding companies
  • using LinkedIn
  • job hunting on Twitter
  • social networking and graduate recruitment.

Develop your skills

Log in to the Career Toolkit to read all the information you need to build upon and demonstrate your skills and attributes including:

  • What employers are looking for.
  • Graduate skills and competencies.
  • Transferable skills from your degree.
  • How to demonstrate employability skills.
  • How to demonstrate specific skills like commercial awareness, problem solving, communication skills etc.

Get the toolkit app

Your very own careers and enterprise team in your pocket – 24/7, 365 days a year. This app helps you finesse your interview skills, build your CV, career test yourself and loads more.

Follow these steps to download the app:

  1. Using your phone's browser click or type the following address: go.uwe.ac.uk/login and log into Infohub using your UWE Bristol username and password.
  2. Click on "Text Activation Link".
  3. Enter you mobile number to receive a text message containing your 4-digit PIN code.
  4. Once you have received the text message, enter the 4-digit PIN to receive another text message with your activation link.
  5. Click the activation link in the text message to download the UWE Careers Toolkit app.