We often get asked ‘what is the best way to apply for a job?‘ Sometimes we really think it’s as easy as writing a quick cover note and sending a resume/CV for the role. Well… it’s not that straightforward. More than ever, especially in today’s climate, you have to get it right from the start – first impressions count!
What do we mean by that?
You need to have all of your tools together before you even attempt to apply for a role – a current resume, draft cover letter, a good social media profile and a range of answers about your skills and experience, your motivation, and salary expectations. We receive so many applications on a daily basis, especially when advertising administrative roles, and it is really obvious when a prepared person applies for a role – they really stand out (in a good way). If you are not prepared, send an old resume, have no cover letter, no referees prepared, do not meet the criteria and have not outlined your intentions for applying… there’s a very good chance that you just wasted your time.
Now let’s break down what makes a good application:
- Reading the job advertisement – it is really amazing that candidates do not do this. We always say – print it out and highlight the points that the employer is seeking – experience, qualifications (if any), and the type of company. Do you meet some or all of the criteria mentioned? If unsure call the employer/HR/ recruitment agency to find out more.
- Preparing a cover letter – It is good to have a draft letter on file. It is most likely that you will be applying for similar roles during your job hunting. The best way to create a letter is to highlight the position title at the top, state where you found the advertisement, then open with a paragraph introducing who you are and what you currently do and draw on similarities with the role advertised. The next paragraph should state your intention for applying and what you are seeking from the role and company (not always known if through an agency). Next outline your skills that directly relate to the advertisement in bullet points so that they stand out. Close with a short blurb about how to contact you to discuss the application further.
- Current resume – yes… a current resume. We have a lot of resumes that come through that have not been updated. Update it so that you area ready to submit it. Whilst this is a broad statement, we do not believe that any resume is wrong. What we find however, is that most resumes do not sell your skills and experience very well. A good recruiter can read between the lines and will call you to clarify past roles to get a better picture of what you have done.
- Social media – Check out your profile(s) on Facebook, LinkedIn and other ones that you have. Make sure that they are clean and professional. If on Facebook, close your profile to friends only if you want to keep it private. We still see quite a few ‘bad things’ that can influence a decision to call you.
- Referees – Ask for 2-3 referees to vouch for you. Let them know that you are looking for work and ask if they would be happy to speak about you. At our end it makes all the difference and can speed up the process of recruiting you.
- Be ready for the interview. The tools above will already have you prepared and we will cover the interview in our next blog.
Now is the time to revisit what you are currently doing and get back to basics. Get these things right and you are well on the way to moving to a short-list.