BP application tips for graduates and interns
Your application to BP, for graduate and intern opportunities, will start with its degree matcher. Based on your degree discipline and qualification, BP will give you a list of the opportunities you’re eligible to apply for.
The recruitment process is broadly the same for all of BP’s programmes: you’ll submit an online application and complete some psychometric tests. You’ll then take part in a competency-based telephone interview, a face-to-face technical interview and an assessment centre.
For help with these later stages of the recruitment process, read our advice on BP's telephone interview and how to show you match BP's values and what to expect from BP's interviews and assessment centre.
The BP application form
The first part of the BP application form is relatively simple. It involves filling in educational details, language skills, and basic details about yourself and your application.
The second part involves writing longer answers to questions. These include:
BP application question: Please describe all of your work experience, volunteering or internships. Please include details of your role, responsibilities and how you applied your skills and knowledge in the role.
For each experience you include, you have 750 characters to outline your roles and responsibilities and 1000 characters to outline the skills and knowledge applied in the role. Here’s some help for answering both parts of this question.
Your roles and responsibilities
- Include all of your work experience. This includes any part-time jobs you’ve had, such as working behind the bar at your Student’s Union. Spend more time on your longer experiences than you would on short-term work.
- Be sure to sell yourself in the role and responsibilities section. Don’t just copy and paste your old job description in the box. Make it personal by focusing on what you achieved as an individual.
- Use quantities where possible to back up what you’re saying. If you recruited a team of student helpers, how many did you recruit? Or, if you exceeded a sales target, don’t just say so – include the figures.
- If space allows, do your responsibilities justice and break them down. For example, don’t just write ‘I recruited a team of five student helpers’. Dig deeper and tell the recruiter what this actually involved. Did you design the recruitment process? Did you interview them? Did you just recruit them, or did you then need to manage them, set expectations, motivate or inspire them?
The skills and knowledge involved
- The recruiters are testing your self-awareness and the skills you’ve cultivated, whether that’s technical knowledge or transferable skills, such as communication and teamwork.
- Don’t just provide a list of skills. BP wants to know how you applied them to the role in question. This is a chance to show off what you’ve achieved so it’s worth giving more detail.
- Brainstorm your ideas before writing your answers. For each responsibility you’ve included in the first part of the question, think about the skills and knowledge you drew on to perform well.
- Your temporary summer job as a cashier at a safari park, for example, might have involved processing hundreds of cars per day and appeasing impatient customers. Think about the skills this required, such as being empathetic towards customers and responding appropriately.
BP application question: We are looking to understand more about you and any other experiences and activities you have participated in. Please ensure you give specific details of each of your experiences, what you learned and why this was important to you. (max. 750 characters).
You’ve already covered your work experience in the question above so this is the place to talk about your other achievements and experiences. This could include any awards you’ve received, networking events at your university or with your professional body, membership of relevant societies or organisations, any competitions you’ve participated in, relevant projects or papers completed, and any other examples you may have. If it isn’t immediately obvious why this experience is important to you and to BP, you might want to use some of your word count to explain why.
Before you begin, brainstorm your experiences and achievements so you can then select the ones you want to include that are most relevant to BP and why you want to work there/in the position you’ve applied to. Don’t feel you have to write about your experiences in chronological order – write about the most relevant examples first.
BP application question: Please describe a significant experience or achievement that has shaped your decision to apply to BP and this role specifically. (max. 2500 characters – around 400 words).
The key word here is ‘significant’. You can write about a new example or any of the experiences you’ve included in your ‘work experience’ and ‘additional experiences’ sections but you’ll need to choose an experience that has a strong link with why you applied to BP. For this reason, you might find it easier to write a strong answer based on your work experience.
BP lists seven bullet points that you should address in your answer: what the experience or achievement was; why it was significant to you; what you did; what specific skills you have learned from this experience; how you demonstrated these skills; how it is relevant to the opportunity and role you have applied to at BP; and why it is significant to your application to BP. Make sure that you answer all of these questions and remember that BP asks you to give particular focus to the last two questions.
Think about what you learned or gained from it that is valuable to you and to BP. Was it the first time you learned how to use a new technology, for instance? Remember to link this back to BP and why this would be helpful if they hired you.
You could also consider negatives as well as positives. Perhaps your work placement involved working on a project that wasn’t very environmentally friendly and you decided this was important to you, so BP’s sustainability approach appealed to you.
Tip from a BP graduate
BP geology graduate Robert Gooder says, ‘Along with technical knowledge, BP looks for people with a passion for working for the company and with other people, so it is important to ensure this comes across in the application.’ All of the tips above will help you with this.