The application process
If you are applying for an advertised vacancy then it will state the method of application. This could be sending in a CV and covering letter, completing an application form or submitting an online application for a graduate scheme.
CV and Covering Letter
A covering letter should always accompany your CV unless the advert states otherwise. The RTPI has provided advice on what to include in your CV, further advice on writing a covering letter can be found here.
If you have been asked to complete an application form then this would normally preclude sending in a CV as well. Application forms are fairly self-explanatory and will typically include sections on personal information, educational background, professional experience and a supporting statement. Most forms will have the spell-check turned off so a good tip is to draft it in a word processing package such as Word and transfer it to the form when complete. Forms can be embedded within a website and completed online or an electronic document which you download. More information on completing application forms can be found here.
Not all jobs will use these tests but if you apply for a graduate scheme they may be used as part of the application process and as with interviews the key to success is preparation. The tests can be aptitude/skills tests (verbal and numerical) or situational judgement tests (e-tray exercises). Your university should provide links to practice online tests so speak to your careers service.
Preparing for interview
If you have been invited to interview then you have passed the initial sifting process and the interview is your opportunity to consolidate and demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the role. The RTPI has put together guidance on how to be successful at job interviews.
Some employers may include a telephone interview as part of the process but this is used mainly for graduate scheme applications. Read the information on telephone interview tips, do your research and be prepared.
If you are applying for a graduate scheme then part of the application process may include an assessment centre. This would typically last a day and involve a series of activities including group work, presentations and interviews. Targetjobs have produced guidance on assessment centres so prepare by reading it and attending any skills sessions organised by your university.