This first stage of the application process is very important to the selectors as it determines whether you would be invited for interview. This means that your CV must be well structured and relevant to the role you are applying for. Although the selectors are aware that you are all stage 2 students and that you may not have gained much experience in laboratory works, be reminded also that they are aware of the fact that you’ve had some practical experience from your year 1 and during the time you were in college.
If you start by writing down your experience without any reflection of what skills you have gained, then you are likely not going to be considered for interview. Therefore, you will have to demonstrate what you have achieved from year 1 and how that will help you as a lab assistant. I was lucky to be on the student mentor selection panel to select students for the mentor role in April this year. What I found out was that some students just list their work experience without mentioning the skills they acquire from such experience.
My advice here is to write a comprehensive CV that details everything specific to the role you are applying for. Don’t just list your experience, try to add values to it by stating the skills that you now have that you will be useful to the role you are applying for. Remember that other candidates may also possess the experience and skills you have. You must therefore, ensure that your application stand out from the crowd in order for the selectors to invite you for interview. Please try to limit your CV to two pages only as the selectors have loads of CVs [and cover letters] to review.
Click on the categories below for further tips and advice on the lab assistant post.
Before my own interview last year, I messaged previous lab assistants and asked them to advise me on what to expect at the interview. They were able to help me by suggesting some of the things I needed to know before going for the interview. Unfortunately, you may not be able to email these students as they have graduated from the school and their email account may have been blocked by ISS. But the good news is that I have compiled what their suggestions were and these can be found in the interview section of this article under the ''Questions you could be asked at the interview'' subsection.
Please do not leave your CV and cover letter submission to deadline as you may not have enough time to prepare your CV and cover letter. This might affect your application compared to if you had devoted a great deal of time to add relevant information to your application.
The following resources would be of great help to any students wishing to apply for the lab assistant post.
- Prospects website
- Lab Assistant Position, Newcastle University (only SBMS students can apply)
- Interview tips on Guardian website
- General laboratory safety
- General advice on writing a CV (By Newcastle University Careers Service)
- Common interview questions (By Newcastle University Careers Service)
- Covering letters (By Newcastle University Careers Service)
- Biomed & Beyond (Thanks to the Careers Service). This website is very informative!
- The Top 10 Worst Things About Working in a Lab
Other useful links to be added in the future.