As we got many questions from EPSO candidates on how to fill the online application for an EPSO competition, we have decided to write this guide, by guiding you on how to fill it and provide some tips. So if you decide to apply for a permanent function within the EU institutions, filling the online application for an EPSO competition (AST, AD,...) is the first important step. The first advice is: we recommend you NOT TO UNDER-ESTIMATE THE TIME to complete and send it! Your application will be the first thing that will be reviewed by EPSO, so take the right amount of time to prepare it!
STEP 1 - Create an EPSO account
Through the account, you will be able to apply for an EPSO competition: send your application, follow each step (selection, CBT, Assessment Center, results). And for each competition that you have applied, you can see the status. After sending your application, we advise you to check your account at least once per week, as EPSO is communicating mainly through the account (invitation to the CBT,...).
Check EPSO website here!
STEP 2 - Select the EPSO competition
Once you have selected the competition for which you want to apply (AST1, AST3, AD5,...), you should find the announcement of the competition in the section APPLY HERE (or current jobs opportunities). In the announcement, you will find the name of the competition (i.e. EPSO/AST/125/12 for the 2013 AST3 competition), the fields available (i.e. Audit, Law, Public Administration,...). Click on the open competition and you will start the online application.
STEP 3 - Are you ready to apply?
After clicking on the open competition, you will get the first page of your application where EPSO is providing a summary of their expectations for each field of the competition, the Notice of Competition and the Guide to Competition. All these documents are important, and we recommend to save and read them carefully. You will find useful information on how to prepare your application, but also know each step of the competition:
1. Number of successful candidates sought per field;
2. Duties of the function (AST3, AD5) and the field;
3. Eligibility requirements for the competition and the field you are interested;
4. Description of the admission tests that you will take during the competition (composition of the computer-based tests, details of the Assessment Centre).
STEP 4 - Your registration data
In this section, you need to specify important information that will determine the entire competition. Fill this section carefully in order to avoid mistakes.
1. The field of the competition for which you decide to apply: you have to select the field depending your career's perspectives, professional experience, educational background or your interests for the EU institutions. Some candidates are selecting the field for which the number of candidates is lower (i.e. audit). But this strategy is dangerous if you are not really interested by that field, as you will be facing experts during the Assessment Centre, and your changes to succeed will be lower;
2. Proof of identify: information coming from a legal document (ID card, passport,...);
3. CBT Centre Selection: you need to select in which location you want to take the computer-based tests;
4. Language choice for tests: the 'Main language (language 1)' should be your mother tongue. The 'Second language (language 2)' is one of the 3 official languages used in the EU institutions (English, German or French). This second language will be tested in the computer-based tests;
STEP 5 - My profile 'Education & Training'
In this section, you will describe your educational background: diplomas, certification,... You will have the opportunities to justify why your profile is matching the requirements for the field you have selected. For each diploma (not only the college/university diploma(s), but also your High School diploma or certification done during your working experience), you have to specify the following information:
1. Type of Education: licence, master, PhD,...;
2. Name of the organisation providing the training;
3. Principal subjects or occupational skills covered: when listing the subjects/skills, you should put on top the most relevant for the field selected. As you can only use 1500 characters, be precise and provide the right level of information to show a clear view of your diploma's content. The use of bullet point is recommended (also providing clarity to your explanation). We recommend you also to include the title of your thesis done during the diploma;
4. Level in national classification: each country still have a national classification, you have here the opportunity to put additional comment on your diploma and indicate the level compared to other studies.
STEP 6 - My profile 'Professional Experience'
It is one of the most important sections of the online application. When you will describe your professional experience, you should think how it is matching the profiles you are applying. You need to proof to EPSO that you are the right candidate by describing your background, experience, knowledge and skills.
For each contract/position you had in a organization, you should have one entry in that page:
1. Date: put the starting and ending date of each contract/position;
2. Types of experience: you need to select the sector in which the organization was active (banking, consulting, energy, manufacturing,...);
3. Classification: you need to precise the kind of organization (public, private, national institution, EU institution, non-profit,...);
4. Type of business: provide a description of the activities of the organization, on the sector so EPSO can understand the background of the function you had;
5. Name and address of the organization: be precise by indicating the official name and the location of the organization;
6. Occupation: field where you mention the role/position you had. You can also indicate the kind of contract you had (limited contract, permanent contract, interim,...) as it can explain why the period was short (i.e. a limited contract of 5 months);
7. Nature of duties: take the time to describe precisely the kind of activities you were doing (team management, responsible of making researches,...). Use short sentence with precise action verbs or words (i.e. manage, monitor, definition, implementation,..). This field is important to show to EPSO that your working experience is matching the requirements and the nature of duties for the field (information mentioned in the Notice of Competition).
STEP 7 - My profile 'Language Skills'
As an EPSO candidate and probably a future EU Civil Servant, EPSO is looking for candidates that can speak correctly at least two European languages, with at least one of the three official languages (English, French or German).
For each language, there are 4 fields (ability to speak, ability to read, ability to listen and ability to write) for which you need to precise your level of knowledge. You can select between 5 levels: Basic User A2 (lowest level), Independent User B1, Independent User B2, Proficient User B1, Proficient User B2 (highest level).
EPSO is following the European framework on language. You can download here an official document defining each level. We strongly advise you to read it carefully!
And do not forget to include your mother tongue in the table!
STEP 8 - Motivation & Strength
It is probably the most important section of your application. By answering the 4 questions, you will show to EPSO your motivation and interest to apply for a permanent position within the EU institutions. Take the time to answer the questions in a complete and precise way, by paying attention to each word, also because the number of characters is limited to 2000 for each question.
This section is very important as your answers will be read by the EPSO Selection Board and might be used at subsequent stages of the selection process. We recommend you to take the time to think carefully about how you want to present yourself and what you want to write here.
1. Experience and Background: How is your education and experience relevant to this particular profile? This first question is to explain why your are filling the requirements for the profile. We advise you to focus on the knowledge/skills that yo have acquired during your educational and/or working experiences.
2. Interest to apply: You should answer the following questions: why do you want to apply for this particular career opportunity? Why do you decide to apply for a EU permanent job? What are your career's perspectives in that field?
3. Contribution to the EU: What specific contribution can you bring to the EU institutions and agencies? What do you want to achieve? What is the vision of Europe you have? How do you see the evolution of the EU institutions?
4. Strengths - Outline two of your main achievements: You can briefly describe your strengths and working behaviour. For each achievement, describe what they are, the process you went through, the initial objectives, the positions outcomes for you and for others. You have here the opportunity to describe two achievements for which you are proud of. But it should be related to the field you are applying!
STEP 9 - Eligibility
In this section, you have to indicate that you are filling the eligibility conditions (citizenship, rights,..) and the minimum requirements to apply for the competition (professional experience if needed, language requirement or qualification requirement mentioned in the Notice of Competition). If you don't respect these conditions, EPSO is going to reject your application for the competition.
IMPORTANT REMARK: Pay attention on that page because once you have confirmed this page, IT CANNOT BE MODIFY IT LATER!
STEP 10 - Overview and declaration
This is the final step of your application!
First, we recommend you to take the time to read and review each section of your application in detail. Make sure that it is complete, but also to check the spelling/grammar. When you are done reviewing it, it is time to validate and send it.
When completing an application for the first time, we recommend you to do the entire review one or two days after filling each section. You might think of additional information you want to include in your application.
Through the last step, you will validate electronically your application by clicking on a button (with 2 confirmations), so EPSO can process it. After submitting your application, you cannot modify it (or delete it)! When clicking on the button, it means that you also confirm the content of your application, by declaring on your word of honour that the information is true and complete. Keep in mind that you should be able to proof your education and professional background (through official documents), and EPSO can ask for them!
STEP 11 - Other useful tips when filling the competition
Keep in mind the following tips/advices when filling your application for an EPSO competition:
1. 80% of the candidates are waiting the last day to fill and send their application for a competition. It means that you have several thousand of candidates accessing EPSO's website. The consequences are that you might face some difficulties to send your application (the website can be very slow or down). There is a risk to miss the deadline and your application won't be sent! EPSO is not responsible for such issue. So don't wait the last moment by filling and sending your application at least 2-3 days before the official deadline!;
2. If you decide to apply for several competition during the year, you can save the content of your application on your computer (education, professional, motivation & strength,...). You will save time for the next application, instead of writing from scratch every time. By copying/pasting, you will fill your application much faster!
3. When writing your application, pay attention to the spelling and grammar mistakes. With mistakes, the perception of your application will be lower!
4. Each section of the application can be saved. So if you don't have the time to complete it in one day, you can continue to fill it later.
5. As you have a limited amount of characters to describe a diploma or motivation, your explanation should be precise, clear. We recommend you to use short sentence, precise verbs and words with the right level of information. One example which is effective for the field 'Project Management: "Definition & Implementation of the new ways of working across the organisation";
STEP 12 - It is time to prepare the competition!
After completing the application, you should now prepare the competition itself. As there are thousands of candidates applying (more than 50 thousands for the AD competition), you need to prepare yourself to be amongst the best candidates and succeed the competition.
Each step of the competition requires a specific preparation: application, computer-based tests and the Assessment Centre. On our website, you can find some tools and information to support your preparation:
- Practice the Situational Judgment Tests with more than 200 questions! Check our packages here!
- We have defining an optimal planning to prepare the SJTs. 40 days to master SJTs!
- For the Assessment Centre (AD5 and AD7), you can prepare the AD Case Study with our online simulation. Check the simulation here!
With this guide, you have now all the useful information to apply for the next EPSO competition!
There is currently an open competition for AST3 profiles, with the deadline of January 22nd to send your application. It is time to fill your application and then start to prepare the computer-based tests. Keep in mind that the most prepare candidates have higher chances to succeed and get an EU job!
Good luck and GO FOR IT!
The ABILITUS Team