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 offers consultations to current students and graduates by phone, zoom and face-to-face. For assistance with Job Applications, Job Seeking support, Interview Preparation and Career Decision Making, please contact our service via the 'Ask a Question' section of CareerHub and we will reply within one business day.
You can also check out job application advice from employers at our career events.
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.
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
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, follow the tips on our Selection Criteria Information sheet (PDF).
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 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.
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.
Careers has a range of services to support your preparation for interview. You can send us your questions through ‘Ask a Question’ in CareerHub.
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. Check out our Interview Preparation information sheet 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. Using the online tool, InterviewStream is another great way to prepare. Check out the link below for lists of typical interview questions and work on your interview response skills.InterviewStream Practice & review your interviews
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.