That’s why your CV or application form really needs to stand out if you want to get the job!
- Fulfill the job application criteria.
This may sound really basic, but if you don’t do what is required, you’re unlikely to be considered. If you’re asked to send a CV and cover letter, make sure you spend time on both and get them over to the named contact before the deadline. If you are asked to fill in an application form, make sure you complete every section, giving as much relevant detail as possible. Make sure your contact details are correct and up to date before sending off your application. You won’t be invited for an interview if the hiring manager can’t get in touch!
- Do your research.
Before you fill in your application, do a bit of research on the company. A basic search of the website will give you valuable insight into what the organisation does and what its values are. Read the job and person specifications carefully. Use the knowledge you have gained to demonstrate that you would be a good fit for the role and the company. Don’t be tempted to send off a generic CV or application form. You will really grab the hiring manager’s attention if you are able to explain what you can uniquely bring to the position through your CV’s personal statement or in your application form answers
- Be clear, concise and relevant.
Hiring managers don’t have time to read through hundreds of dense applications. It’s vital that you make a good first impression and follow up with details of relevant skills and experience. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point, cutting out unnecessary waffle. Use bullet points where possible. Avoid any fancy fonts, colours or tables, making sure the text is easy to read in a short space of time. Make sure the examples you give are relevant to the specific role. If in doubt, leave it out!
- Let your personality shine through.
Nobody wants to hire a robot, so use your application form to show that you are human and have an engaging personality. Use positive language and avoid cliches. Talk about your passions and abilities, giving details of how you have pursued or used these in your studies, previous roles or in your spare time. Make sure you have been honest throughout, or you could find yourself in an embarrassing position during an interview. Sell yourself without being tempted to exaggerate or overembellish. Be confident without coming across as arrogant or entitled.
- Double check your application.
It’s really important that your CV or job application isn’t riddled with typos. If you are copying and pasting from another application form (not always advisable!), make sure you change all references to the job title and company. Get a friend, family member or careers advisor to look over your application and provide feedback. Thinking objectively, would they employ you if they were in charge? They may be able to help you draw out the most important aspects and cut back on unnecessary detail. They may also spot spelling or grammatical errors that you have missed.