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Top tips for applying to jobs

20 Oct , 2014  

Spelling mistakes, incorrect email etiquette and not following instructions: these are all common pitfalls I’ve noticed when people apply to jobs. I’ve previously worked in recruiting and one aspect of my current role is recruiting. I have had the pleasure (discomfort) of sieving through hundreds of applications in the search for a superstar. Here are my tips on how to impress and make sure your application stands out.

  1. Don’t be generic: Approximately 90% of all applications I receive have no relevance to the job they are applying for. Yes it is okay to have a generic CV, this makes a good foundation, but that’s exactly what it should be, a foundation that you should build upon and tailor to every application that you make. So please edit your CV and cover letter and tell us why you fit into OUR role. A good test for this is to remove the company name every time you have used it in your cover letter and replace it with another company’s name. If it still makes sense then it’s not specific enough to the company that you are applying for. A structure I am in favour of is:

Answer the following:

  • What experience have you had that matches with the requirements of the role
  • What is it about the position and the company that makes you want to apply for them
  • What can you, as an individual bring to the firm
  1. Actually write something in your email: You’d be surprised how many applications I receive where the applicant doesn’t bother to write anything in the body of the email. Not even a hello. This is ignorant and a waste of the recruiter’s time. If you are going to bother writing something in your email, make it good. I suggest writing a brief 2/3 sentences that compels the recruiter to open your CV and cover letter. Don’t make it generic and don’t include what your earliest start date could be. You haven’t even been offered a position yet so stop laying out your terms.
  1. Follow the instructions: It sounds simple but you would be surprised how many people ignore this simple piece of advice. We understand that you are probably applying to a few different roles and that’s okay. However, that is not a reason for lack of effort. If you want to be hired you have to prove you can follow some direction. If the application asks you to include your Linkedin/twitter/blog/other requirement, include it. You only have yourself to blame if you didn’t make it through to the next stage.

Once you do get the seal of approval and are invited for an interview, don’t stop there! You need to make every effort to research the company, the employees/founding team and make your case of why you are the best fit for the company. Read my next blog to see what questions an applicant should ask to an interviewer.

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