Whether you are just starting out with job applications or you have been applying for a while now, chances are, you are already asking yourself how you can improve your job application and ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
With so many people applying for each role, you need to make sure you are at least one of the ones that gets shortlisted for a closer look and hopefully even an interview. But how do you go about doing that? Well, let’s start with the basics, there is absolutely no point at just throwing your CV at any and every role you find that vaguely matches your abilities. Employers will see through that and just bin your CV right away! More applications, doesn’t mean more chance of success, more often than not it means more rejection and disappointment.
Even if you have never had a job before, you will have an idea of the type of work you are looking for and also a good idea of what skills are needed to fulfill the role. If you don’t know this, then that is where you need to start! Get doing some market research and find out what qualifications are needed and which you hold. There is no point in applying for a role that requires A-Levels when you only have GCSEs.
Now you know the role you’re looking to apply for, it’s time to look at your CV. Believe it or not, most successful job applications occur when the applicant has rewritten their CV to match the job advert they are applying for. Most employers have only a few minutes to cover initial applications for a role, so they’re going to be scanning CVs and covering letters for the information they requested in the advert and not irrelevant things such as volunteering in Nepal for a summer.
Once you have rewritten your CV to suit the job you’re applying for, it’s time to audit yourself, read through your CV as though you are a potential employer, is your CV well written? Does it flow from section to section? Are there any spelling mistakes? These are all things that potential employers are going to notice. If you’re not confident in your own critical eye, ask a friend or family member to help you.
Lastly, submitting the application itself, now you might think this is the easy bit, but this is probably the most important part. Re-read the job advert, see what the employer is asking you to do when it comes to applying. Are they asking for a covering letter? or are they asking for just a CV and email? At this point, you might be asking yourself what’s the difference between an email and covering letter? The answer is one is a simple ‘Hello, here is my CV’ and the other is a more formally laid out summary of you and what you have to offer for the position. HR departments have been known to instantly delete applications that don’t include a covering letter, as to them, it shows you didn’t pay attention to detail and follow instructions.
If you would like more help and guidance with improving your job application technique, why not enrol and study our Effective CV Writing Tips course, which will help you refine your CV and also create an effective covering letter to help you with your job applications.