Improve job applications

August 2011

Rejection letterA string of rejection letters can be disheartening, but it’s reassuring to know that you can change things in an instance. With a simple review of what you’re doing right and wrong in your application, you can sharpen your approach and re-energise your search.

Review you

You are the most important part of the entire application process. How you stand out is in your hands, so we recommend you review and update your CV and covering letter.

Some people send standard ‘template’ letters with their application, which can lack character and personality and can often be refused consideration. But defining yourself and standing out from the crowd is how you get noticed.

Quality overrides quantity, so take your time to tailor each covering letter to the specific company, role or project. Some people even include a self photo for extra impact. To get your letter just right, ask a friend or family member to second view it. Their advice on presentation, impact and character in what you say will be invaluable to crafting the perfect letter.

Your CV should be just as strong and personalised to the role you apply for. Try to present it on one side of A4, with your name and details at the top, followed by your education, employment history, achievements, interests or activities, and references. Keep it short and simple. This is your 30 seconds to grab the attention and let your potential interviewer know exactly why you’re the one for the role.

Define your target

An application can be too general and not specific enough to make it stand out. Make sure you research your role well and get informed with regards to all the options available to you.

Your choice of employment can be one of your most important decisions you make and it’s essential that you cover all the bases. Mix your online search with trade press and newspapers, as well as radio and TV. The more you know about what you want from your job, the more unique and personalised you can write your covering letter and CV.

Assess and build

Any feedback should be used positively. A rejection letter can often give you clues as to what you’re doing wrong. Even if you’ve been invited for an interview but refused the role, try to call, write or email the company or organisation and seek feedback on what stood out in your application and what could have been improved.

Persistence pays

To make your presence felt at an early stage, consider contacting the company or organisation soon after you’ve submitted your application. This shows enthusiasm and a good attitude to work and career success. Whether you call, write or email, keep it polite, brief and professional. This will help any potential employer remember you for all the right reasons.

In general, a slight change in the way you approach your job applications can make all the difference. Care, consideration and personality in your covering letter and CV will open doors. Here are a few more tips to help you turn the corner:

  1. Typed and written. Always type your covering letter and CV, unless directed otherwise. Often, paper applications have to be handwritten so make sure it’s clearly presented. First impressions count.
  2. Friendly advice. Ask your friends and colleagues for the covering letter and CV that got them their job. This will give you a great overall understanding of the application process and what’s required.
  3. Skills set. As part of your review, update and expand your skills and strengths. This will help you add more personality to your covering letter and give you more ammunition for the interview stage.
  4. Expand your net. Increase your chances of success by uploading your covering letter and CV online. Such applications are essential. If you don’t have access to the internet, try to visit a library or cafe and spend quality time making your impact.
  5. Different doors. A rejection letter can be the perfect platform to start your search for alternative jobs. Thorough research in a slightly different area can inspire a new outlook to your career.

What’s wrong with my application? - courtesy of Jobsite.co.uk