UCL Careers


Writing applications

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 UCL guides include top tips and examples:

Career Discovery also includes a broad range of informative articles from TARGETjobs. Search for key words such as CVs, cover lettersapplications, 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.

Career Essentials Online

Our modular e-Learning course comprises information, video tutorials, interactive quizzes and exercises, action sets and key resources to help you move forward and take ownership of your future.

Work through the module on:

  • Effective CV, cover letters and applications

before checking out other resources suggested below.

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Recent graduates login

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.

Register with VMock

*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.

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.

Spelling, grammar and proof reading 

Our advice concentrates on the content and relevance of an application for the target area of work or study. We may point out grammatical or spelling errors, but it is our policy not to proof-read applications nor to give detailed feedback or coaching against English language competency.

The UCL Academic Communication Centre is a new 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.

Applying globally

Many of the sites and resources above will focus on UK-based applications. For those seeking work overseas, more specific resources are available.


UCL Careers subscribes to this online resource to give you direct access to country-specific guides on writing successful applications.

Log in to GoinGlobal

Digital careers library

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.

Come to an event

We organise a wide range of events where you can find out more about writing successful applications.

  • Career Essentials programme (Repeated throughout the year) A series of Careers Consultant led talks aimed at all students and recent graduates which includes different sessions on writing job or PhD applications amongst other topics.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 themed weeks (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.

Register for event updates

View events listing

Alumni networking

Alumni networkingSpeaking 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.