Getting a job is one of the hardest tasks known to man. You go through all the hard work of gaining qualifications and sitting down and searching through the web or newspapers looking for jobs only to suffer knock back after knock back and slowly getting increasingly downhearted.
A lot of the time, the reason why job applications are unsuccessful is down to the initial application. We hear so much from career advisors and recruitment agencies about the importance of a standout application, one that really jumps out at the employer and ensures that yours doesn’t become just another application in the pile on the desk.
The obvious thought that goes through many minds at this stage is “right, bright colours and images” but this can work against some because they go too far and the application becomes unprofessional – it’s a real catch 22 situation.
So what do you do? Get noticed, but don’t be in your face – that just adds to the confusion – so here are five tips for creating a standout job application that will stand you in good stead for earning yourself an interview at the very least, (hopefully!)
- Do your research. When you start to fill out an application, you need to consider who it is you’re applying for a job with. You need to tell the employer about everything that is relevant to the position in question, which includes your qualifications and all the details that show why you meet their criteria. To do this, go through the company website, or even pop in and get a feel for it if possible, and you can then show a thorough understanding of the business and why you’re perfect for a job there.
- Read the instructions. Many people go wrong when they don’t read the questions on the application form properly. They glance at it once, get an idea and begin to fill in their response and without realizing it they’ve gone off topic and not answered the question sufficiently. Check, check, check again and then begin to write. Even try writing your answers on a separate piece of paper to make sure you’re happy with your response before writing on the application form.
- Answer all of the questions. Don’t leave any questions unanswered, as this will automatically indicate a lack of understanding or ability. Before sending your application off you need to make sure everything that requires an answer has one, and not just one to ensure it’s filled in, one that is good enough to get you an interview or the job itself.
- Be consistent throughout your application. When you send in a CV, you need to include all of the dates. Where a number of applicants for jobs fall is when they then talk about their qualifications and get the dates wrong, which shows inconsistencies to the employer who may feel that you are lying in your application. Make sure every date you mention is correct and backed up with evidence.
- Proofread it! After taking the time to get your application right, don’t fall at the final hurdle by allowing spelling or grammar mistakes to be your downfall. Proofread everything you’ve written to ensure it is correct and makes sense.
Thanks to Chris White for this article.
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