Applying for jobs


Once you're ready to take the next step on your chosen career path, you'll need to come prepared to shine
at every stage of the application process. Crucial elements of any succesful job application are

  • a focused CV
  • a tailor-made personal cover letter
  • a convincing job interview

The CV

  • The first thing a recruiter, hiring manager or selection committee will read is your CV.
  • Writing a CV is all about making sure those in charge of recruitment will get to know the essentials of your professional experience at a glance and getting invited for a job interview. A good CV quickly grasps the reader's attention and conveys the skills and experience needed for a particular job.
  • While any good CV succeeds in getting these essentials across there are significant differences between an academic CV and a CV for a job elsewhere.

Common questions about writing your cv

An academic CV

An extensive overview of your academic achievements


A non-academic CV

A visually appealing overview of your career in one or two pages

outside academia

The cover letter

This video walks you through the key points of the cover letter. Find out more in the next part.

What it's for

  • Your CV and cover letter should complement each other and not be a repetition of each other.
  • Your CV  is an account of your professional and educational life and the skillset you required.
    The purpose of the cover letter is to explain your interest in and motivation for the job and
    the organisation. You want to convince the employer you would fit well in the company culture,
    you share values and ideas and why you are chose them as your next career step.
  • As with your CV, put yourself in the employer’s shoes and look at yourself from their perspective.
    How do you fit the profile? Mention anything that demonstrates your potential and your fit with
    the job and organisation, even if it’s something outside of work.

An academic cover letter

A letter explaining your research career and how you fit in the research group or department.


A non-academic cover letter

A letter explaining why you are qualified for the job and you fit in the company culture

outside academia

The job interview

Steps in the career cycle

Explore yourself

The first part is devoted to exploring your own strengths, motivations
and values.

Explore what's out there

The second step is to discover career options in academia and beyond that fit your professional self-understanding.


Step four deals with applying for jobs, including writing your CV and cover letter and preparing for the job interview.


 The third step is all about setting a goal and focusing on how to get there.