Essential job application tips

We’re launching Career Focus TV, to provide a multi-media platform careers service. We’re interviewing industry leading professionals to give the inside track on ways into different sectors. Here’s a taster of some job application tips. Please comment with your thoughts.

Get through the first sift

Employers receive so many applications that they do a first sift to get the numbers down. This first sift will get rid of anyone with spelling mistakes, grammar errors- especially if the role demands attention to detail. Draft your application and then leave it for a bit. Come back to it fresh or get someone to check for those pesky typos.

Avoid generic applications

It may feel productive to apply to loads of jobs with a general CV and covering letter. It really isn’t! Employers can instantly tell if you’re mass applying and you will be sifted out. You need to explain why you want the role and specifically what relevant skills and experience you have for THIS role!

Work out what they want

Go through their job description and make a bullet point list of every skill they’re looking for and every main duty you will have. This is a good way to read between the lines of what they are looking for.

Then go through this list and make notes of your skills and experience that is relevant to each one. This will give you plenty of material for your covering letter and its great interview preparation.

Prioritise the order of importance

When you have your list of skills and job duties, it will become clearer what they’re looking for. You may see the same words popping up several times. This shows that this is a key skill for the role. Make a note of these and be sure to dedicate the most time on the areas that seem most important.

Be specific

We’ve all seen The Apprentice candidates who claim to be the best at everything with nothing to back it up with. Have an example to back up every claim you make. If you say you’re a good communicator, explain a time you communicated well in a professional or academic environment.

Show your passion

An employer can tell the difference between someone who really wants the job and someone who wants any job. Don’t be scared to explain directly why you want this job and do this in the first paragraph. This sets you apart from the onset and shows that you’ve done your homework.

It’s good to assume they will only read your first paragraph, so make it amazing! Mention your biggest success or achievement, why you want this job and why you’d be good at it.

Keep it clear and concise

Write in short, direct sentences and make every word count. Cut out any waffle or anything that isn’t directly relevant to the role. Make it easy on the reader to see your best skills and experience, and don’t make them sift through loads of jargon!

Making your application stand out has never been more important and following these tips is an excellent start. If you keep making high quality applications you will soon start to get interview!

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