Job Hunting

April 25, 2017

Whether you are looking for your first job, a change in career or just wanting to move up the career ladder, there is an art to creating a successful job application. One might think that this subject has been overdone with so many recruitment agencies, specialist career advisors and websites dedicated to advice, but although the advice may be available, not everybody choses to use it or can find it.

Oncimmune is currently recruiting for a Scientific Officer Position. With this in mind and because over the years Oncimmune have successfully recruited many talented individuals, we wanted to share some thoughts on applying for jobs, with a focus on the science industry.

Job Search
So, where to start? The first step is to find that job advertisement.  Comb through recruitment sites (,, Cancer Research etc), look through the national and local press and scientific journals, specific company websites or reach out to contacts.

Once you have found some relevant jobs, don’t apply via a ‘shotgun method’ but pick out which to apply for and then keep a record of when you applied as well as when you should expect a response. In addition, make a copy of the job description as it will be removed from the website once the application period closes, and if you do get an interview you will need to look through these details again in order to prepare.

If you are applying via a jobs website, only apply once.  It is time consuming and wasteful to expect the recruiter to weed out secondary or tertiary applications.

Always follow the instructions and submit the required information.

Job Application
What are the fundamentals?

  1. Covering letter
    Always submit a covering letter. If the job application requires you to send a CV, accompany it with a covering letter especially if the application requests for you to do so – do not leave this out.  A covering letter should be more than just a piece of paper that says “Please find my CV attached”. A good covering letter should:
  • Be in the form of a letter and not a statement – literary articulation in a scientific world is a must, so there is no excuse not to spell check and format your covering letter in the right manner.
  • Be addressed to the contact name, if one is provided – if you address it ‘to whom it might concern’ when the contact details were given you are risking that it won’t concern anyone.
  • Be tailored to the job that you are applying for – one covering letter for all applications simply won’t do, they will think that you are not really interested.
  • Be relevant to the job that you are applying for – underline how you would fit that particular position and company, draw attention to relevant experience and skills – not only what you have achieved so far.
  • Explain any long gaps not accounted for on your CV – it is ok if you have been doing an administrative job whilst writing up your PhD, or bartending whilst considering your next career move, as long as you mention it.
  • Be concise, ideally no more than one page – your entire life story is not required. You want to keep the employer’s attention, not lose it halfway through.

Covering letters are a way of introducing yourself, they should be there to support your CV and are a useful tool to explain why you are the best fit for the job.  A CV on its own can only tell so much about a candidate whereas a good covering letter should be able to fill any gaps and make you sound like the ideal employee.

  1. Curriculum Vitae

    Now, how about the Curriculum Vitae (CV)?  Again, with so much knowledge at our fingertips where could you go wrong? Well, we believe a good CV should:
  • Be no longer than 2 pages – don’t just change the font size, rather only include information relevant to the given application.
  • Contain your education and employment sections in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent first. IE: for academic applications, your education and research projects will be more important and should be presented first; for an industrial placement, your employment as well as skills and achievements relevant to it will be more important and should be covered first.
  • Include your entire education (Degree to GSCE) with grades.
  • Be tailored to the job that you are applying for – try to find strong points from your previous experience and education that highlight you as being the best match for the job.
  • Be current – for example, you are not a recent graduate if you graduated 5 years ago. An out of date CV will make an employer think you do not really want the job.

And finally…
If references are asked for, always include them. Check with referees prior to inclusion and always include the most recent employer and the most relevant to the job.  You can always supply more referees than requested if you feel it is appropriate (to cover employment, academic and scientific areas).
Most importantly, spell check and proof read your application. If you state that you have a good eye for detail but have glaring errors on your CV, the evidence speaks for itself.

Oncimmune is currently hiring but the closing date is soon. For more details on this position and for future vacancies, please keep an eye on Oncimmune’s career page on our website.


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