If you are currently in the market for a new job then the chances are you will find out about newly available roles through mediums like newspapers, magazines and websites – once you have received the particulars of the job, employers will most likely be rather specific when asking people to apply.

Before You Apply
Make sure that you have read fully the advert, and that you meet any ‘required’ criteria – employers ensure they put this in job adverts so that they don’t receive applications from unsuitable applicants – and to save you time.

If you do not read the job advert fully, you may be missing key instructions that the employer wants you to do – for instance including a reference number or writing in black ink. Some employers want you to specifically exclude things from your application – for instance they may not want to see a CV that accompanies your application, they prefer you to complete their application and send that in on its own.

Completing your Application

  • Write as neatly as you can – always include a covering letter unless the job specification tells you not to.
  • Write N/A (not applicable) instead of leaving any sections or boxes blank but do not abbreviate or shorten any other words
  • Tailor your application to the skills and experience outlined in the job specification – if you are sending in your CV, change it slightly to highlight relevant points by subtly changing words or sentences
  • Include full address and contact details – it is not good manners to accept calls regarding applications at work, so include your cellphone number and email address
  • The education sections should always begin with your high school and results there, you do not need to include primary school details
  • If you are currently studying, then include details in the education section, explaining clearly that you have not yet completed the course
  • Always list your past jobs with most recent first, and be sure to list voluntary jobs too

Even if you are confident everything – spelling, grammar – is correct, it is recommended to read it over and having someone else check it for you before sending.

Some people choose to take a copy of the application or CV with them to the interview though this is not always required. If you do take one ensure that it is printed nicely and in good condition (holding a scruffy looking CV will not do you application any good). In addition, if you use customised CVs, you should remind yourself of the examples you have used in the CV so that you can mention them in the interview but also add some new ones in your answers.

Keep a copy of your application, and refer to it again if you are called for interview. If your application is one you are very pleased with, you may wish to use it to help you the next time you write a job application and covering letter.