Job applications can be quite stressful, and because we all want an easy life, it can be tempting to just send the same CV and cover letter to every job you apply for. A much better idea is to tailor your cover letter to the position – show your interest! Here are things to think about when you’re completing a job application and hopefully will help you get that interview!
Understand what the employer is asking for.
If you’re applying for a Product Design role, don’t send the same application you sent for a Customer Service role. By the same token, if you’re applying for bar work, don’t repeat what you said in your application for a summer internship.
Most jobs will have a person spec, listing all sorts of different essential and desirable skills. Make sure you are well aware of what the employer is looking for when you write your application; list the skills you have that are on the person spec, and give examples wherever possible.
Match yourself to the job description.
You must review the job description thoroughly before you begin your application. Check the responsibilities that you will be given and use previous roles where you have gained these skills as an example to support your capabilities. The most important part of your application is to show the employer that you are competent and able to fulfil the requirements. Make sure you have done this before anything else!
Apply in good time.
You might be tempted to wait until the closing date to send off your application because you want to maximise the amount of time you can edit and check your application. However, you also need to remember; as soon as some roles have a sufficient amount of applicants, they close – sometimes even before the stated closing date, so ensure you apply with plenty of time to spare!
Focus on your opening.
CVs and Cover Letters are read swiftly. Recruiters have lots of applications to go through, so make sure yours stands out. The best way to do this is to ensure that your opening is sharp, concise and interesting. Focus on how you meet the requirements.
Ensure you have the correct company name and job role else your application will definitely be rejected! Check the spelling, punctuation, grammar and that the content follows.
Break down your skills.
Let’s say one of the keys skills required are communication skills. In this case, don’t just say you have excellent communication skills because of X, Y and Z. Instead, break down and clarify what communication skills you have developed and how.
For example, are you good at verbal communication or are you also experiences in written communication? Do you have good listening skills as this is also part of communication? How do you display you are listening? Are you able to communicate in large groups or only on a one to one basis?
Breaking down your skills allows the employer to have a clear idea of what you are good at, and makes you a strong candidate as your application is more personable and details the skill accurately.
Draft and redraft.
Check your application a couple of times before you send it off. I usually finish my application in good time – way before the closing date and go back to it a day or two later. Doing this helps me to identify mistakes in wording, spelling the flow of the application itself.
It is also a good idea to try and get someone else to read over your application for you. I find it is always better to get a second opinion as it sometimes hard to criticise yourself.
If you want to demonstrate that you have a specific skillset, you don’t need to waffle on and give tonnes of examples. This will probably bore the interviewer, especially if the skill in question is only a minor part of the role. I’m not saying don’t provide details – just don’t overdo it and add unnecessary information and over-explain what you are saying. Remember – stick to the point and don’t go off on a tangent.
A lot of people are not actually aware that lying on your CV is illegal and is equivalent to fraud. So, I can’t say it in a simpler way; don’t lie and don’t exaggerate either.
Your employer can do their research by contacting previous employers and your educational institution so it’s not really worth the hassle. Ensure you speak the truth and nothing but the truth. Remember, they can also check your LinkedIn profile to collate information about you.
Make sure your contact information is up to date.
You’re probably thinking, well how can I get this wrong? It seems so simple, yet a very easy mistake to make. When you send out multiple CVs to several employers, you tend to copy and paste the information from one to another. So, next time you do this, just make sure you check the email address and contact number are valid. This can be the difference between you being invited to an interview and not being invited!
Highlight your achievements.
Don’t just assume that your achievements will just speak for themselves. If you are proud of something you have done, and it correlates with the job you are applying for make sure you make the reader aware!