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Making your Masters Application stand out

Recently, I was able to take part in a Q and A panel for potential students, and one question that consistently reoccurred throughout the panel got me thinking. “How did you make your Masters application stand out?”

Whilst I was answering I thought about how they had asked because my previous work experience was not specifically in the area of my chosen Master’s course. My undergraduate degree in Psychology is very broad and that’s one of the reasons I chose it. But I wanted to answer in the same way I had when I applied for the course. How my work experience, undergraduate skills, modules and other experiences were transferable to postgraduate study.

Yesterday, I participated in an online seminar from University of Manchester Careers Connect about applying for jobs during the pandemic, and similar themes came up. How could we make our job applications stand out in an environment which is now completely online and harder to access. In response to this, I wanted to comply some tips around this topic, regarding making applications stand out – whether it be your Masters, for a job or volunteering experience.

Personalise it

Careers Connect talked about how when you reach out, you want to personalise your approach. Given any opportunity – you need to discuss how it applies to you as an individual. This might be why it is you’re so passionate about your course, or why exactly you have reached out to a certain professional on LinkedIn. Whatever you’re applying for make sure you look precisely at the specification and content and apply your knowledge, enthusiasm, and past experiences to it.


When applying for my Master’s degree I reached out to various professionals to discuss their career path, job descriptions and roles. I wanted to discuss their career trajectory and how I could curate my own. Then, in my application, I wrote about my experiences talking with them and how it had influenced me. Doing something similar will hopefully make your application stand out, such as speaking to someone from a company and mentioning this in your job application, or having spoken to an alumni member or current student in your Master’s application! Also, did you know, we have a list of alumni to connect with on LinkedIn which could be an incredibly useful resource to use.

Any previous experience = good experience!

When I was considering my own application, I thought about how I had worked for two years and how these skills could be transferred. The career’s team at UoM team have some great resources to help with this, such as tailored CV support. For instance, for my previous work experience I was able to utilise my skills in handling financial systems, creating and managing budgets to managing vast quantities of data which in an area relevant to my course. Anything you have learnt on your undergraduate course will be helpful - research skills and design, essay writing, placement opportunities, part-time work experience, volunteering at Uni, data analysis etc. It’s all about demonstrating how it applies in the context of further study.

I hope this will be a good starting off point for you and good luck in any of your own applications!