An Academic Career

Application forms

Dr Sarah Hart explains the application process for her Research Fellowship.

A good application improves your chances of being invited to an interview

When applying for an academic job, you will typically be required to submit both an application form as well as a CV. It is important to complete the application form fully and not be tempted to write 'see attached CV' even though there will be overlap and some repetition of information on both documents.

You will also be asked to fill in a separate and optional Equal Opportunities Monitoring form which should not be seen by any members of the shortlisting or interview panels.

Personal statement

The personal statement is the most difficult part of an application form and requires careful planning and structuring. Before tackling the personal statement, thoroughly research the position, the department and the institution to which you are applying. There will be a lot of useful information provided in the Job Description and Person Specification. Then review your CV and identify both relevant personal strengths and key achievements. Your challenge is to match as closely as possible what you can offer with what they are seeking.

Your personal statement should contain the following:

  • Why the role interests you
    Demonstrate your knowledge of the role and show interest and enthusiasm for the job. Explain what drives your interests and provide strong evidence to back up your claims. Provide strong reasons why you want the job.
  • Evidence that you meet the selection criteria and qualify for the appointment
    You need to provide evidence of your suitability for the post - that your training and experience are highly relevant - and that you can cope with the demands of the job. It is not enough to state that you a 'good team player/communicator/organiser' etc, you must provide good (preferably recent) examples to support that you have the required skills in abundance.
  • Achievements which will make you stand out from the crowd
    Other candidates may have similar credentials to you. So if you have achieved anything which makes you stand out, mention it on your application, such as an award for academic achievement, or prize for project work.

Finally, keep a copy of your application form for your own records.