Ultimate Job Seeking Part 2: Application Manifesto
After successful job seeking, the second most important aspect of finding a new career is nailing your applications. Every job specification will be different and, annoyingly, this is the same for job application processes. I won't lie - it can be a tedious, convoluted and even boring procedure at times. But, as with Ultimate Job Seeking, the right knowledge/attitude/mindset/confidence can catapult your applications from drab to fab!
Let's keep this simple and use this manifesto as a guide when completing job applications. Say it with me now, I will...
· Pay Attention to Detail - Ensure your grammar/punctuation/formatting is correct and neat looking. Answer all questions directly and specifically. Don't let the quality slip as your application progresses.
· Be Accurate - When addressing a question make sure your answer relates to what is being asked and is truthful. Close reading is important to demonstrate your ability to follow direction from potential employers. And any embellishment of the truth can also backfire miserably in the interview so it's best to keep it true. Likewise, miss typing your email address can make you uncontactable!
· Address the Essential Criteria - Whether point by point or in an eloquent supporting statement in a cover letter, do not forget to do this!
· Say what you will bring to the job role - Whatever your experience (some will be obviously key to the job specification, other experiences may be less evident to relate), find a connection and comment on why this will make you an ideal candidate for the role.
· Use Examples - When answering questions or saying what you will bring to the job role,back it up with relevant examples of you putting these invaluable skills into action!
· Use Positive Language - Selling yourself can seem a little phony and obnoxious at times but a subtle, powerful way to do this is to tackle every question or cover letter with positive language. Convey enthusiasm for the company's objectives, demonstrate passion for the job role, enshroud your application in a bubble of tireless optimism which serves to project confidence and determination in your personal and professional life! Bonus: it makes your application stand out in a striking, interesting way.
· Be Consistent - This can be grouped with paying attention to detail and accuracy but consistency is essential in its own right! Contradiction, unexplained gaps in employment etc not only looks sloppy but can make you look inconsistent and, consequently, less reliable.
· Proofread - Like a good essay, you might need a couple of redrafts. Check over the questions, job specification etc. Ensure you have answered all questions and as accurately as possible.
· Make Time - Stick to deadlines, never rush an application and for each job application start a-fresh with research specific to that potential employer. It's easy to recycle old material. In fact, this is something that will be a great time saver when you do applications but do not over-do it - employers can tell if your application isn't specific to them. Build up your application content but be careful and sparing when using it to begin fresh applications!
· Update CV - I've accidentally sent away old CVs before. Make sure yours is up-to-date with your latest experience and employment. Also, technology is changing fast. Utilise it to rejuvenate that CV! Simple re-formatting on Word can do wonders for a boring CV that is clumpy and hard to read. Make subtle changes and keep it fresh - simple updates can make your CV shine!
This is simple advice but adherence can be a little trickier because it takes much more time,commitment and hard work than you might think. Tackle applications as you would a thorough and methodical coursework hand-in. Best of luck!
Image Source: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/images/job%20search%20resized.jpg