We highlight a number of resources for recent graduates focusing on applying for opportunities.

Application writing takes time, good application writing takes longer. So, before you start read the criteria thoroughly and make sure that you are eligible.

Next, think about your short and long-term goals for your practice: will getting this opportunity help you get there? The panel will be thinking about the potential impact for applicants in the long-term, so knowing that they are supporting you at the right time is part of their decision-making process.

In Top tips on applying for a-n member opportunities, Hannah Pierce, a-n’s former External Programmes and Partnerships Manager, suggests thinking about who will be reading your application. 

She comments: “Don’t assume the panel is familiar with you or your work. All applications are treated equally so write as though you are introducing your work to someone who is completely new to your practice.”

Clear and concise

Panels have to read a lot of applications in a short amount of time, so make sure you get the important information across in the first couple of sentences and always write in write in a clear and concise way. Avoid art-speak. 

It can be helpful to have a friend or peer read and feedback on your application. Ask them if they easily understand your practice based on what you’ve written. If they don’t, re-write it so they do.

Pierce also says it is important to be inspiring and give strong reasons why you want the opportunity. “We want to hear WHY this would make a difference to you and your practice – so be specific. If you want to go to a certain place, name the people/things you want to see/experience/meet. Highlight what will be really valuable for you, tell us why and link this to your practice and future ambitions.”

Budget writing

a-n’s Budget Writing resource is useful for best practice when budgeting. If you have been asked to provide a budget and timeline for the application, take this opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve done your research for this project. 

A comprehensive budget and timeline shows the panel that you’re really invested, proves the project is feasible and gives them confidence that you’ll do a good job of delivering the project if you are successful. Again, be specific.

Other tips include writing your answers in a separate Word document before you start working on the online form for applications. This will allow you to make multiple edits and check you are adhering to the word count.

Don’t be put off

If you’re not successful, do not let it put you off. 

As with all opportunities, applications can be unsuccessful for a number of reasons – a lot of which can be changed and improved upon – so it’s important to ask for feedback whenever possible.

When you get your feedback, take it on board and apply it to the next opportunity you go for. Applying for opportunities is a job in itself – the more you do it, the better at it you’ll get.

To read the full a-n resource on applying for opportunities, available to a-n members, click here.


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