Posted by: Michael Russell | October 27, 2011

A Dose of Reality.

I have graduated with a Masters degree in Roman and Byzantine Archaeology and have walked straight into a dream job; in an alternate reality. In our reality I am searching for a job with very few opportunities out there. I am filling in job applications for every job I see in the Heritage sector. Through the application process I am discovering and inventing techniques to make the process of completing application forms that little bit faster and less tedious.

The job Application Form

  • Make a list of FAS’s (Frequently Asked Scenarios) in a word document. In all application forms we get asked to give examples that show we have specific qualities such as the ability to work in a team or how we have overcome a difficult problem. By making a list of these scenarios you can simply cut and paste them into the personal specification.
  • If you are in a current job and during your day you succeed in solving a problem, write it down into the FAS document because we are likely to forget many things we do on a day to day basis.
  • In many applications we are often to ask to give full addresses for all previous employers; this information is not normally on a CV. You could keep these addresses in the same document as the FAS’s; again this allows you to quickly cut and paste.
  • Do not be afraid to give examples of day to day successes at university such as having to do a bit of research because your university skills are transferable and not all your examples have to come from previous employment.

Sometimes a job advert gives a contact name for an informal chat; CONTACT these people. Before you do try and think of a sensible question that not many people will ask, such as for one job I am applying for I asked if the work I would be doing could offer opportunities to develop a PhD idea. By contacting these people you are making yourself known before an application is even submitted.

There are benefits of having a Masters in the application process. While filling out countless application forms I have been feeling a little more confident about being successful then I did when I graduated with just a BA. This feeling is because I have an MA and I now know that I will stand out from those thousands all with BA’s or BSc’s If you have an opportunity to do a Masters degree; TAKE IT!

Sadly we do not live in that alternate reality where we walk straight into a job, but taking the time to follow these steps which will allow you to apply for many jobs quite quickly it will not be long before success comes your way. I certainly hope success comes my way soon otherwise I will have to find a way to the parallel universe where I am highly successful.


  1. Some excellent tips and advice here from Michael to make filling in application forms a little less daunting and time consuming. I really like the idea of keeping a ‘log’ of occasions when you have developed or demonstrated key skills. It’s not always easy to recall these occasions when it comes round to applying for jobs. Just don’t forget to leave a little bit of time to tailor your examples to the job you’re applying for – the better match you can make yourself look for a role, the better chance you have of being invited to interview. Looking for more application tips? Don’t forget to visit the Making Applications section of the Careers Service website!

    • Thanks Nadia, and it seems to be working well, got a job at weatherspoons for xmas and just had an interview for HMV for xmas, potentially I could be doing both. And I have applied for many archaeology jobs that start in the new year for which I have had a telephone interview, so have these scenerios means I am armed for the interview with experience!
      p.s wear an interesting tie, i was complimented on my choice of tie :p

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