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The application stage is the first interaction between you and the employer. It is therefore important that you present yourself in the best way that you can. The information to include in your application and how it should be phrased are two important considerations for every applicant. For individuals who have a disability or long-term health condition, there are also extra factors to consider such as:

  • Whether you wish to discuss your disability in your application.
  • Including mitigating circumstances in order to explain elements of your application.
  • Accounting for gaps in your education that have arisen from managing your disability or long-term health condition. For more advice on how to address these issues click here (click through to Your CV).

The following sections provide advice that is relevant to any individual applying for jobs, as well as addressing issues and challenges that are specific to those with a disability.

A key decision you are going to have to make is whether or not you are going to refer to your disability in your application.

Whilst it is natural to feel concerned about the prospect of referring to your disability it could also be an excellent way of demonstrating your skills and abilities. Dealing with the daily challenges of having a disability naturally enhances your competencies, strengths, and coping mechanisms. By not talking openly about your disability you may be hiding the competencies that an employer is wishing to recruit.

Top Tips
  • Consider the strengths and skills you have developed as a result of managing your disability.
  • Think about how you can positively refer to your disability in your application.
  • Use a wide variety of examples in order to demonstrate your range of experience. Do not use disability-related examples for too many questions.
Drawing on your disability may be the most effective way of demonstrating what is being asked for.
You have to meet certain criteria, such as academic achievements or work experience, in order to progress through the recruitment process. Having a disability or long-term health condition may have prevented you from meeting these criteria.

When screening your application form, employers will take genuine mitigating circumstances relating to your disability into consideration. However, you need to be very clear that it is due to your disability otherwise it gives the impression of not being capable or not being bothered.

Top Tips:
  • Inform the recruiter of your mitigating circumstances as soon as you can to avoid your being screened out of the recruitment process.
  • Be very clear that your mitigating circumstances are as a consequence of your disability.
  • Explain the facts and ask for these to be taken into consideration.
  • Help the employer to understand the situation.
Remember: having a disability should never be used as an excuse for not meeting the required requirements.
The primary purpose of your application is to get you an interview. Subsequently it will provide a framework for the conversation between you and the interviewer. As you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes of the intended reader - they are reading it to see whether you match the job description and whether you suit their organisation.
As you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes of the intended reader
Recruiters will look through hundreds and thousands of applications for their school leaver, apprentice and graduate programmes. It is crucial that your application stands out in order to guarantee that you progress to the next stage.

Top Tips:
  • Ask yourself: what makes me different & what makes me stand out?
  • Think more broadly than just your academic achievements.
  • Do not underestimate the value of extra- curricular activities.
  • All experience is relevant; it does not have to be industry related.
It is crucial that your application stands out in order to guarantee that you progress to the next stage.
Spending time researching the organisation will not only benefit you in the application process, it will also help prepare you for the interview stage. A well-researched application is more evident than you might think and will encourage the employer to spend more time reviewing it.

Top Tips:
  • Be selective in the research you include and ensure it is in depth and up to date.
  • Only include information that you are enthusiastic about and consider worthy of mention.
  • Resist the temptation to copy and paste directly from newspapers and websites; adapt and justify why this information is relevant or of interest to you.
Whatever you include in your CV you need to be prepared to talk about at interview.
In order to secure an interview, you must be able to demonstrate your competencies effectively in your application. This can only be done if you can give (succinct) evidence to back up your claims.

I'm a hard-working, self-motivated team player with a real interest in investment banking.

This may be true however you need to substantiate this:

  • Which teams have you participated in?
  • What have you done to demonstrate you are hard-working?

Top Tips:
  • The about what competencies the employer is looking for and consider how you can demonstrate these competencies through your own life achievements.
  • Avoid clichés.
  • You have limited space - ensure you give focus and relevant examples based on your experience.
I'm a hard-working, self-motivated team player with a real interest in investment banking.
  • Adaptable. Tailor your application for each job opportunity to apply for.
  • Keep it simple. Less can be more.
  • Relevant. Be selective of your key skills and achievements.
  • Sell yourself. Match your skills to their job description.
  • Be honest. It's the only way to start any relationship.
  • Understand your strengths. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing and what you are good at and include evidence of this in your application.
  • Develop commercial awareness. Keep up to date and research the wider issues that affect the organisation you are applying to.

The quality of your application will determine whether you proceed further into the process.

Top Tips

Tailor your application to the organisation to which you are applying.
Ensure your application is a true representation of yourself.

Be open about the impact of your disability on your application - or you may be unnecessarily rejected.