Application Top Tips

Applications for the 2019 Cancer Research UK Graduate Scheme are now closed. If you are thinking of applying next year then take a look at the top tips we've pulled together so you're in with the best chance of being successful. 

Do your research

We’re looking for candidates who are passionate about Cancer Research UK so make sure you’ve looked through our website to get an understanding of our vision and values and find out if we’re the right company for you.

It’s also important that you gain an understanding of our work and the different functions at Cancer Research UK so you can narrow down the graduate streams you’re interested in applying to and you know where your skills and experience would be most valuable.

Hopefully after this you have a really clear reason in your mind about why you want to work at Cancer Research UK and how you can help us achieve our goals.

Reading up on the CRUK strategy is a sensible first move, and as you’re reading it be sure to take note of where the stream you’re applying to fits in with the vision. This will really help when doing your written application.

Alex Sturtivant, Technology Graduate


We receive hundreds of applications per stream so a CV that is well formatted and easy to read is essential. Use bullet points to break down your key tasks and achievements, focus on the most relevant information for the scheme you’re applying to, and don’t leave us to infer anything – we want to be able to see clearly what you’ve done, the skills you’ve gained, and how you’ll be able to apply these in the graduate scheme.

Application questions

These are interview style questions so use the STAR approach to help you structure your answers. Set the context, the specific actions you took, and the result. If you can show learning from that experience, even better.

Remember to use examples from your work experience as well as from your studies. We're looking for candidates who don't just have intellect but can demonstrate a drive to do more and make an impact.

The stream specific questions are a chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the field, your understanding of Cancer Research UK’s work, and to show your passion for a career in this area. Do your research but don’t be afraid to put forward your own opinions where possible – it’s a great way to show off your personality.  

Put as much time and effort as you can into the first stage of the application process – due to volume it’s only the minority who progress to the next stage, so you want to spend time thinking about your answers. 

Emily Whiteside, Policy, Information and Communications Graduate

What makes you stand out from the crowd?

Our entry requirements mean that everyone will have at least a 2:1 in their degree and is likely to have undertaken a dissertation or similar project. Focus on what makes you stand out from the crowd and talk about achievements that are more unique to you.

Attention to detail

Before you submit your application triple check it for spelling and grammatical errors, particularly in the sentences that mention your strong attention to detail!

Don’t over think anything, it’s not all tests! Just be yourself, the assessment is designed to see if CRUK is right for you as much as it is to see if you are the right fit for CRUK.

Alex Sotherton, Scientific Strategy and Funding Graduate. 

Best of luck with your application!