In the science industries, it is essential to demonstrate that you understand the industry sector, the company and the specific role that you are applying for. You will need to demonstrate how your academic science knowledge and skills, and any previous work experience, have prepared you for the placement or position and that you know and understand what will be expected of you if recruited.
Understanding the selection process and practising in advance will enhance your performance and chance of interview success.
Researching the company and the role
It is essential to research both the company and the job before making a targeted and relevant application, drafting a CV and covering letter, and preparing for an interview. Establish possible contacts at the organisation through careers staff, fellow students and graduates, or talk to people with direct experience of the company and the job.
Your university placement and careers centre may already know the company you are applying to, or put you in touch with students who have worked there or in a similar role elsewhere. They can also give feedback on applications and CVs and may run practice interview sessions.
You can also further your research by looking online at:
- Company websites, reports, accounts and brochures.
- Trade and business directories.
Your research should cover the following areas:
What does the company actually do?
How is it structured and where does the role you are applying for fit in?
What are the leading products or areas of research?
Who are the main competitors?
What makes the company successful?
What are the future plans or strategies?
Has the company been in the news recently and why?
Essential data: share price, number of employees, turnover, profit
What is the company culture and working environment like?
What does the role entail on a daily basis?
How does the role fit in to the company?
What are the reporting lines?
How does the role interact with other areas of the company?
What competencies are required in the role?
What training or development would you have?
Where the role is based and is travel involved?
How would you use your existing technical knowledge from your degree?
How is the role likely to develop?
If your applications are not leading to interviews, you could:
Ask a careers adviser, a placements coordinator or a member of your academic staff to review your CV or a recent application and give you some feedback.
Consider carefully whether your applications are adequately targeted to the company and the role.
Research other roles within the sector that your experience and skills might be better suited to and refocus your search.