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.

The BP application form

The first part of the BP application form is relatively simple. It involves filling in educational details, foreign language skills, and basic details about yourself and your application.

The second part involves writing longer answers to questions. These include:

Outline your work experience, including details of the role and responsibilities, and the skills and knowledge involved.

For each experience you include, you have 750 characters to outline your roles and responsibilities and 1000 characters to outline the skills and knowledge involved. 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. 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.

Experiences that have influenced you to apply for the position. (max. 750 characters).

This question is basically asking ‘why have you applied to BP?’. You need to explain why your experiences have made you want to work at BP. You can write about as many experiences as you want and you have 750 characters for each experience that you include.

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 has influenced you to apply to BP, you might want to use some of your word count to explain why it’s relevant.

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.

Choosing one of the above experiences and providing details of what it involved, and why it was significant both to you and your application to BP. (max. 1750 characters – around 300 words).

The key word here is ‘significant’. You can write about 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.

Once you’ve decided on the experience, 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.

To find out more about what BP looks for in its graduates, take a look at its advertisement in The Guardian UK 300, which includes a list of the core skills BP looks for (hint: the skills in bold are extra important) and read our article on BP’s values and how to demonstrate them in your application.

Online tests

Following the second part of the application, candidates are asked to complete the online tests. These will be situational judgement, numerical and verbal tests. Read our article on psychometric tests and have a go at some online tests with our commercial partner, Job Test Prep.

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