Application hints and tips

You’ve seen your dream job and now you’re ready to make your work mean more. So here are some tips on how to tackle your online application to work with us at The University of Manchester.

Hints and tips

  • Allow plenty of time to complete your application form. If you're rushing, then you're more likely to forget something, or make a mistake. 
  • Avoid technical issues by ensuring there is a good Internet signal and your device is fully charged. Consider preparing lengthier text in a Word document that you can back up to your hard drive then copy and paste later in the event of any internet or battery issues.
  • You can log out and return to complete further information at a later time; any progress you have made will be saved as long you have selected Save and Continue.
  • Pay attention to your spelling, punctuation and grammar.  Errors can be off-putting for shortlisters – and especially so if written communication skills is on the person specification.  Think about using a spell checker or asking a trusted friend to proofread your application before sending.
  • First impressions count – so think about your tone in your application. You probably won’t know what level of formality the panel are expecting until you meet them, so make sure you are communicating at all times with professionalism.
  • Be positive! Instead of focusing on any gaps in your experience, focus on what you’ve achieved already and set out actions you’ve identified to develop further. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I really need to complete the additional information section; isn’t my CV sufficient?

CVs are great but they vary a lot in terms of format and type of information included. 

At The University of Manchester we receive large volumes of applications. We’re committed to giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity by assessing them against a set of consistent, objective criteria – you can find this in the person specification which is in the Further Particulars document.

The additional information section is your opportunity to show the panel exactly how you meet that set of criteria.  

What should go in the additional information section?

This is your chance to put yourself in pole position by providing evidence that you meet the criteria for the job. 

Try following these dos and don’ts.

  • Do make sure you read the person specification criteria.  You’ll find it in the Further Particulars document link on each advert.
  • Do make it easy for the shortlisting panel to spot which criteria you are providing evidence for. Some people like to list all the criteria and address each individually. If this is making your application look a bit repetitive, think about how to group criteria together under headings and provide an example that evidences a few at once.
  • Do check that you have addressed all the criteria before you submit your application.
  • Don’t just say you meet the criteria – eg ‘I have great team-working skills’. Give an example of a time where you demonstrated that.
  • Don’t make your examples too lengthy. A few sentences for each example should be enough. A good way to focus when giving your evidence is the STAR technique: for each example describe the SITUATION, the TASK you had to complete, the ACTION you took, and the RESULT. (Pro tip: this is an excellent way to prepare for your interview too.)
  • Don’t just say: ‘see CV’. The panel want to see that you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, and that you really want to work with them.

What’s the difference between the essential and desirable criteria on the person specification?

Essential criteria are those without which the job really cannot be performed well. Desirables are the ‘nice-to-have’ skills and experience, perhaps things that could be picked up over time on the job.

So if you don’t meet the desirable criteria, don’t let that put you off.

When the panel members are shortlisting applications, they’re going to be really looking for interviewees who have demonstrated they meet the essential criteria.  If they list more of those than they can reasonably interview they will use the desirable criteria to further reduce the shortlist.

Please also remember if you are a candidate with disabilities, whom the panel believe meets all the essential criteria, you are guaranteed an interview as part of our commitments as a Disability Confident Employer.

I don’t meet some of the essential criteria. Should I still apply?

We’re very lucky to receive lots of great applications and therefore we’re usually able to put together a shortlist of people who do meet the essential criteria.  However, we do have some roles that are particularly specialist and very occasionally have to look at whether we can flex our requirements. 

The important thing to remember is that if we do this for one candidate, then we will do it for all that apply. We would recommend contacting the recruiting manager for the specific vacancy to explore this with them. Their preferred method of contact (phone or e-mail) will be in the advert.

Remember if you are a University redeployee, you do not need to meet all of the essential criteria in order to be considered.

What is a redeployee?

The University is committed to ensuring security of employment as far as possible, which we know is something our employees really value. Current staff who are at risk of redundancy for a range of reasons are able to apply for jobs and be considered under the terms of our redeployment policy.

This means that they do not need to meet the essential criteria for the role if it can be demonstrated that they could meet these with training, support and development in a reasonable timeframe.