Whether you're drafting a CV, cover letter, motivation statement or any other type of application, there is a lot of support available to help you.
Whether you're applying for a job or internship, a work experience or shadowing opportunity (including speculative applications), a volunteering project, a further study or postgraduate course, a PhD or postdoctoral research post, a scholarship or other funding opportunity or anything else, there is a lot of support available to help you write your application, (CV, cover letter, personal statement etc).
Online Careers Library
Career Discovery provides information and resources designed to help you with writing CVs and applications.
Our range of UCL guides include top tips and examples and cover different formats of application such as:
- How to write a CV
- Cover letters
- Job application forms
- How to market your Master's
- Applying for a PhD
- Academic CV guide
Career Discovery also includes a broad range of informative articles from TARGETjobs. Search for key words such as CVs, cover letters, applications, and personal statements to view a full list of resources.
To filter for sector / topic specific resources, try using searches such as PhD applications, consulting CVs, law applications, teaching applications, and engineering CVs. Resources are available for areas which require a more specific CV / application format.
Online 'CV Checker' tool
UCL Careers provides students* with free access to VMock - an online tool which can provide immediate tips and advice on how to improve your CV. Simply register with VMock using your UCL email address then upload your CV to get an instant report on its content and layout.
We would strongly advise using this tool to work on / improve your CV before booking an appointment to show it to one of our team as below.
Note: If the roles you are applying for do not require a CV and you need to submit any other type of application document, (cover letter, personal / motivation statement, PhD proposal / academic CV etc.), the range of other resources highlighted above will provide guidelines on other types of application documents instead.
*This access is through a university licence so only those with a working '@ucl.ac.uk' email address will be able to register / use the platform.
CV loan books
The IOE Library holds several interview books that you can borrow to work through sample CVs and how to structure your applications. Books available cover how to make your CV stand out, how to tailor it for each application, and sample CVs for a range of sectors and industries. Visit the library catalogue to view titles available.
Come to an event
- Career Essentials programme, (repeated regularly throughout the year). A series of lunchtime lectures led by our team for all students and recent graduates which includes sessions on writing different types of job applications and applying for a PhD amongst other topics.
- Career Essentials group work, (also available throughout the year). An extension of the Career Essentials lunchtime lectures, these smaller, interactive group workshops will give you the opportunity to work with other students on your applications, share ideas and receive advice from the trained facilitator.
- Employer-led skills sessions, (autumn and spring terms). A series of employer-led Q&A panels and interactive workshops which cover writing applications generally plus sessions on how to provide evidence of specific skills when applying for jobs.
- Departmental events, (timings vary based on course / department). Keep an eye on the myUCLCareers events calendar for lectures and workshops delivered by the UCL Careers team within your department.
- Researchers employability programme, (repeated throughout the year). A series of Careers Consultant led talks and employer-led skills development events aimed at research students and staff which includes sessions on writing academic or other applications for those with a research background.
- Employer presentations, (autumn and spring terms). Talks by individual companies about their current vacancies which will usually include tips on what they're looking for and how to ensure your application stands out.
- Sector Insight events, (autumn and spring Terms). Network with professionals from a range of sectors popular with UCL students to learn more about what makes a successful application for that sector.
- Sector-specific recruitment fairs, (autumn term only). A chance to network with large numbers of major graduate recruiters from a specific sector to get insider tips on improving your applications.
- Jobs market, (summer term only). A chance to network with large numbers of major graduate recruiters from a variety of different sectors at one event to ask about applications tips.
Get one-to-one advice
If you are in the process of applying for something specific, (this could be a job, course, PhD or anything else), and have written a draft application using the resources suggested above, you can get one-to-advice on it before sending it off to the recruiter.
- Applications advice appointments: Our team of Advisers will work through the recruiter's requirements with you and give tips on how you might improve your application.
- Employer-led skills coaching: A range of graduate recruiters who regularly shortlist applications will be on campus to share their experience and give you tips on your application.
Many of the sites and resources above will focus on UK-based applications. For those seeking work overseas, more specific resources are available.
Career Discovery - our online careers library provides information and resources designed to help you when applying for things outside of the UK. Use search tags such as “working abroad”, “study abroad” and / or the name of a country to get listings of resources including “Country profile” guides to working or study overseas which will include tips on applications.
'GoinGlobal' - UCL Careers subscribes to this online resource to give you direct access to country-specific guides on writing successful applications for that country / region in addition to other useful job-hunting tips. Read our guide on using GoinGlobal.
Alumni networking - Speaking to UCL graduates who are working in the roles or sectors you're interested in is a great way to get an insider's view on what makes a great application. Through LinkedIn you can search for alumni by UCL course or department, job sector, current organisation, location, and more. Many UCL alumni will be happy to connect with you and tell you about their experience. This is a great way to explore your career ideas, develop your applications and expand your professional network.
Spelling, grammar and proof reading
Our support with writing applications concentrates on the content and relevance of an application for the target area of work or study. It is not our remit to proof-read applications for grammatical or spelling errors nor to give detailed feedback on or support students with English language competency.
The UCL Academic Communication Centre is a UCL support service to enhance your discipline-specific writing and speaking skills. Workshops, classes and tutorials are offered in collaboration with UCL faculties, for native and non-native English speakers.
If the English demonstrated in applications is unlikely to meet recruiters' requirements, we would encourage students to take advantage of the wide range of English language courses offered by UCL Language Centre.
Students' Union UCL also offer a Writing and Language Support Programme (WaLS) to assist non-native English speaking students with their academic writing and speaking.
You could also show the application to someone whose first language is English to proofread it or for help with spelling/grammar. This could be a friend, work colleague, someone on your course.
Other proofreading services may be advertised around campus for a fee but UCL Careers is unable to recommend or endorse any of these.