Top tips for job applicants to the museum

We know applying for jobs can be difficult and time consuming. In order to maximise your chance of success, here are some of our top tips for candidates when applying for a job with us.

Before you start

You might have browsed our job vacancies page and found some vacancies that interest you. If you have found a job that you like, we recommend you take a bit of time to prepare before filling out the application form. The preparation will make it easier for you and also increase your chances to be invited for interview.

As part of your preparation, gather together your personal information, including details of your education, employment history and contact information for your referees.

You'll make a great first impression with us if you do your research. Our website has lots of information on who we are, what’s important to us and our future plans. You can also check out our twitter feed to find out what’s current for us.

For each role we advertise, we provide a document containing a Job Description and Person Specification. We recommend that you read this and refer back to the specific criteria that we’re looking for as you complete your application.

Finally, read the application instructions carefully to ensure that you complete the correct sections of the form and know when the deadline is. For example, we operate a ‘blind’ shortlisting system so please don’t include any personal information when completing your supporting statement or cover letter. Following the instructions gives us a great impression of you, as it shows that you have taken the time to understand our approach.

Filling in the application form

The application form is your way of selling yourself, and includes:

  • Personal details: Basic details such as your name and contact details.
  • Equal opportunities monitoring: This information will be automatically removed from your application before shortlisting and will be kept strictly confidential. It will not be used as part of the selection process and will only be used to measure that our recruitment processes are attracting all parts of our community.
  • Current and previous employment: List your employment history and describe your main duties and responsibilities in each role, emphasising those which most closely related to the job you're applying for.
  • Education, training and qualifications: Provide information on your academic achievements, including the institutions you've attended, courses taken and qualifications gained.
  • Supporting statement/cover letter: Write a well-structured, well-argued case that you are the right person for the job, referencing the Person Specification criteria for the role.
  • Referees: We require at least two references, acceptable to the museum, covering the previous three years.

Make sure that you save your work as you go, meaning you don't have to finish the form in one sitting. Another tip can be to write your supporting statement in a word document before submitting, as this will help you to share it with others for checking, as well as enable you to run a spell-check.

Don't be afraid to sell yourself. Demonstrate your passion for working for us and the job and give any past achievements you can relate to the role. When writing your answers, always consider the person specification criteria and how you can show that you have them.

Address the Person Specification

The heart of an application lies in the supporting statement where you are asked to directly address the criteria needed to do the job as laid out in the Person Specification.

It’s best to discuss your experience within the context of the person specification in the supporting statement. For example, as we number the various criteria of the person specification, use these corresponding numbers to show how you fit the bill for each element of the list. Numbering each Person Specification criteria and giving clear evidence and examples against each point will make it much easier for the hiring manager to read your application and will give you a greater chance of being shortlisted.

Style tips

Refining your writing style will improve the quality of your application. We are looking for applicants who can demonstrate their suitability by giving short, to the point and positive answers.

Do:

  • Focus on answering the questions and avoid waffling or being too vague
  • Give appropriate examples of your achievements from past experience
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for the role and the museum
  • Ensure your spelling and grammar is correct
  • Ask somebody else, such as a careers adviser, family or friend, to read through your application form. A second pair of eyes will help pick out errors that you may not have spotted.

Don’t:

  • Rush. Rushed applications that are not personalised will be immediately obvious and can give the impression that you don’t care about getting the role. It makes more sense to submit a tailored, specific, well thought out application that will stand out to employers than multiple generic applications that are far less likely to get you noticed
  • Provide personal information on your supporting statement. We operate a blind shortlisting process and ask that people remove any personal information.

Keep motivated!

Most people will have to apply to multiple jobs before being shortlisted and finally interviewed. It can be disheartening and can have an impact on your confidence, especially if it happens a few times, but do remember that many others are in the same position.

Search the web for tips on increasing your success in your job hunt. This might include volunteering to gain relevant work experience, speaking to a trusted person for feedback on previous applications or taking time to review Job Descriptions and Person Specifications before putting in future applications. You may also want to take a look at our frequently asked questions page for more information about the application process.

We wish you the very best of luck in your job hunt!