How to apply for a job

A well-written job application, including a polished resume, can give you the edge in a competitive job market. Making sure you are prepared when you meet an employer face-to-face at an interview or networking opportunity can help you persuade them that you have the right skills for their organisation and role.

Before you apply for any job, make sure your research helps you understand the employer’s needs and how your experience and skills relate to this. You should also check out Career Essentials for job application, resume and interview tips.

The University of Newcastle’s Careers Service is available to assist current and past students with job applications, job seeking support, interview preparation, and career decision making by phone, zoom and face-to-face. For more information about how we can support you, please visit the Careers Service web page.

You can also check out job application advice from employers at our career events.

Job applications

Job applications usually require documents written directly to the employer to accompany your resume. These can include cover letters and selection criteria statements, or may be in the form of brief expressions of interest or on-line applications.


The best resumes are written to the specific needs of your industry and employer. A successful resume is targeted, succinct and well presented. Research the industry or employer that you are applying to and then work on tailoring your resume so that it meets their needs.

Many students find it useful to have a master resume that they use to store all of their experiences, skills and achievements and then choose from that document to create a targeted application.

Access our resume creation tool and resume resources for help getting started. We also have a number of sample resumes available to help you determine which style of resume is suitable for your purposes. Once you have completed your resume you can have it automatically checked with our resume reviewer.

Cover letters

Written applications should include a cover letter, which is your opportunity to express your unique claims to the role or company. When employers only request a resume, your email should serve as a cover letter.

To make a good impression, include the following sections:

  • your reason for writing
  • your interest in and knowledge of the organisation
  • relevant skills and experience in relation to the position or needs of the organisation
  • references to any documents you have enclosed
  • enthusiasm! Express a willingness for an interview

Access our cover letter builder tool and cover letter resources for help getting started.

Selection criteria

Employers often include a set of requirements, or selection criteria, as part of their job advertisement. These are a clear indicator of the standards that will be used to measure one candidate against another and are a road map for your application.

Generally, private sector employers like their criteria to be addressed in your one-page cover letter, whereas public sector and not-for-profit employers expect a separate document addressing criteria in a formal style. Check with the employer if you are unsure.

Proving you meet selection criteria requires evidence. Five key steps to addressing selection criteria can be found in Career Essentials. For more information on how to write successful responses, access our selection criteria resources.

Expression of interest

Sometimes employers call for brief applications or expressions of interest (EOI) for short-term contracts. An EOI is a brief letter that summarises the reasons you are the best applicant, containing evidence that directly relates to the advertised job.

Our Expression of Interest information sheet covers off on the essentials.

Online applications

Online applications help employers create a database of applicants and are often used for large recruitment campaigns. Employers regularly apply ‘word search’ algorithms to help identify applications that contain key words and phrases that are relevant to their role.

To help complete an effective online application, access our online application resources in CareerHub or view these useful tips in Career Essentials.

Interview preparation

The fact that you have been called for an interview means you have convinced the selection panel that you can meet their requirements for the job, which is a big plus.

To give yourself the best chance to perform well at interview, research the organisation and develop a full understanding of the role. Make sure you have confirmed the interview format, who you will be interviewed by and, most importantly, where you will be interviewed.

You should also prepare answers to possible questions – the job advertisement and selection criteria can provide strong clues to this – by immersing yourself in your past successes and strengths.

InterviewStream and Interview360

University of Newcastle students and alumni have access to two online tools to help practice and prepare for interviews.

InterviewStream allows you to respond to pre-recorded interview questions and practice both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. All interviews can be shared for review by a staff member within the Careers Service. Students can log in using their student email account in the format

Interview360 within Career Essentials has a comprehensive library of the most commonly asked interview questions along with some key points to help you answer every one of them. You can also take a mock interview online to really test your ability to come up with strong, confident, well-thought through answers under time pressure. You'll get instant feedback and advice, and every question you answer will make you a stronger candidate.

Other ways to prepare

Check out our other interview resources in CareerHub for more hints on how to prepare.

It can also be helpful to talk to people who have been to interviews, look on the web for tips, and drop in to the Careers Service to chat with our staff about effective preparation or to book a mock interview.

Applying to work overseas

If you are keen to work around the globe you will need to understand the employment market of your chosen country as well as the organisations that employ graduates from your program.

Visit GoinGlobal to search for job and internship opportunities in countries around the world. Browse over 80,000 pages of country-specific career and employment resources for more than 80 locations across the globe.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.