When applying for a job, it’s crucial to make your application stand out from the crowd. The best applications we see are those that clearly and concisely bring to light their experience within the context of the role they are seeking. This grabs employers’ attention and makes them want to learn more. Here are our top tips on ensuring your job application makes a positive impact.
Start with research
Before you begin your application, it is important to do some research into the company and the role you are applying for. By demonstrating that you have read a little about the organisation and its context in the world, you will come across as interested and motivated, as well as better positioned to tailor your application to the job.
Tailor, tailor, tailor!
Prudent tailoring of your CV, application and supporting statement to the job at hand, goes miles in highlighting your engagement and relevance to a potential employer. Generic application materials stick out like a sore thumb and do not impress what so ever. Remember that we in 2016 received over 800 applications for 10 positions (!).
Open your cover letter with a ‘personal profile’ highlighting skills relevant to the job you are seeking, and give examples throughout your application that firmly showcase your strengths, skills and successes within the context of the role you are pursuing. If you pitch your experience to look both impressive and highly relevant, an employer will start to imagine you in the role. Remember that everything you write in your CV and cover letter can potentially be talking points at a later interview. Do not oversell yourself and do not write that you speak four foreign languages, if you only know how to order a beer and a meal.
Keep it concise
It is critical to present your application material in an articulate but concise way. You may have a lot to offer but if your most pertinent experience gets lost amidst 15 pages of you explaining unique leadership skills based on the years you were a youth football coach, you put yourself at a major disadvantage.
Employers have limited time to sift through numerous applications so clear, concise, topical answers are essential to making your relevance easy to digest.
Tell your story
This is all about providing context. Briefly, why do you want this job – How does it fit / enhance / compliment your career path to date. Employers don’t know your background so give them a better idea of where you are coming from. This will provide a clearer picture of your motivation for the job, and can also show that you have done your research on the company / role.
The cover letter
Unsurprisingly, the heart of the application lies in your cover later. This is your chance to address the criteria needed to do the job as laid out by the employer directly. For example, if an employer numbers the various criteria of the person specification, use corresponding numbers to show how you fit the bill for each element of the list. This will leave the employer in no doubt what you bring to the table in the areas they have been designated as key for the role.
Give your pledge
At the end of your cover letter, hit home what you will bring to this role if appointed. This is your opportunity to tie your experience and understanding of the job into a vision for the role. There is no need to say a lot here – you won’t be an expert on the job – but show the employer that you are forward thinking, eager to learn and quick at adapting and are already picturing yourself in the position.
Re-read and edit
Before you send off any job application, step away from it, clear your head, and then check it over later with fresh eyes. If appropriate, have someone independent read it over as well.
Application presentation is very important; most employers won’t give you a further glance if your application is presented poorly. Mistakes made here will be regarded as lack of attention to detail and will most definitely lower your chances of getting through to the next round. Have you followed all instructions and included all information required? Have you checked for spelling / grammatical errors? Does the application flow and convey your experience clearly, concisely but in a dynamic manner that will earn you an interview? If so, you have achieved a compelling job application.