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I Need a Job! 15 Top Tips to Ace Your Job Application

With everything going on right now, you may be thinking, “I need a job, but how can I make my job application the best?” Well, you came to the right place…

The past few months have been a blur, to say the least. Considering the recent furlough scheme and the mass redundancies, it’s really no surprise that so many professionals are on the hunt for new jobs, right now.

Whether you’re in one of these conundrums, are leaving your current role under restrictive covenants, or are on the lookout for your first role, applying for jobs is tough. What’s more, with all this change and competition in the job market, making yourself stand out is more important now than ever before!

To give you some inspiration and tips on how to give it your best shot, you came to the right place. These 15 job application tips and tricks should get you through this difficult time…

1.  Write a Simple CV

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Your CV will most likely be the first part of you that your potential new employer will see. Alongside your cover letter or covering email, your CV should outline your career so far, your education, and your hobbies and interests.

You CV should be as simple and professional as possible, but also a little bit unique and eye-catching. After all, it’s likely they’ll be sifting through a lot of potentials, and yours needs to stand out. Some tips for writing the best CV include:

  •     Don’t put every single job role on your CV in detail; outline the most relevant ones with a bit of detail on why this makes you a good fit for them.
  •     Tailor your CV to the job role.
  •     Got gaps in your CV? Fill them with your extra-curricular activities and side hustles.
  •     Write about what you like to do outside of the workplace.
  •     Using readable fonts in a good size.
  •     Maybe even try a video CV.

2.  Do Your Research

Doing your research about the company, both before your interview and even before you’ve handed in your CV, is essential. Generic CVs and cover letters won’t get your far. So, it’s important to make sure you explain why your skills, previous roles, education, and extra-curriculars have set you up for this job in particular.

It’s also worthwhile to talk about why you want to work there. Why have you chosen this company; is it the culture, their brand message, the clients they work for? Whatever it is, be clear about why you’re passionate about what they do.

3.  Tailor Your Skills to the Job Role

Once you’ve done your research, your cover letter should be an ode to the company you’re applying to, as well as an ode to yourself. Showing off your skills, where you used them, and why you think this would make you a great fit for them is essential. This demonstrates that you’ve done the research, and that you’d squeeze into their system well.

4.  Don’t Forget to Talk About Your Hobbies and Interests

It’s obviously important to discuss your career, education, and skills, but don’t forget about your extra-curricular activities! These are just as important as anything else, as it’s vital to show that your life doesn’t just revolve around your studies and work life. Whether it be a side hustle, a sport, or social activities, don’t leave these out.

5.  Explain it All in Your Covering Letter

Your CV doesn’t have to have your entire life story on it, but your cover letter can go into a little more detail. Use this to show off the research you’ve done, and explain why everything on your CV makes you the match for them. 

Be careful, though, as you don’t want to bore the reader! This may put them off entirely. So, make sure to keep your cover letter to a concise length, and be as succinct as possible.

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 6.  Send Examples of Your Work

 Now we’ve got the CV and cover letter out of the way, it’s time to show off what you can do. It’s unlikely that these two necessities will show your creativity in its best light, so make sure that you have some outlet to exhibit your skills

Whether it be a link to your website, or a PDF showing some of your creative juices flowing, it’s up to you. But, these examples shouldn’t just be generic samples. Again, you should pick the best showcase of your work that’s tailored to this company in particular.

7.  Put Together a Portfolio

A great way to show off your work is through a portfolio. Sending specific examples of your work is great, and very useful, but you should also give them the option to see your variety of work too. This way, you can prove your versatility, and demonstrate why you’d be a good investment.

A website is a good place to house all of this information. Or, a simple PDF file, which is well-organised and easy to look through, will do just the trick.

8.  Aim for Perfect Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar

Proofreading everything you send is paramount to show off your attention to detail. It may be wise to get a friend or relative to check through it all before you send it off, otherwise you might miss some glaringly obvious mistakes. This way, you can ensure everything is perfect, and that you come off as professional and put together as possible.

9.  Have an Online Presence

 In the modern world, do you even exist if you don’t have social media? Obviously, not everyone is particularly active online, but it’s important to be visible on the internet so a face can be put to the name.

Alongside all the usual social media, like Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn has become really important in recent years. So, making sure you have a professional LinkedIn profile is super important. What’s more, if you have anything more than this, like a blog or a website, even better; it shows you are present, committed, and haven’t got a suspect past…

10.                Make Sure Your Online Presence is Appropriate

With this in mind, it’s really important that this presence is tailored and professional. Of course, your Facebook pictures don’t have to be completely professional, and showing a bit of personality and fun is great. That said, remember that everything stays on the internet forever, so be sure not to post anything that paints you in a bad light.

 11.                Be Unique

Every single person out there has probably said that they have “good time management” and “attention to detail” on their CV at some point. That said, don’t just spill out the usual jargon when you’re talking about yourself.

 Of course, if you do have these skills, then make sure you show an example of when these skills were proven. But, be creative, and think of some skills and descriptions which truly represent you, and not just Jenny from the block.

12.                Be a Storyteller

 One word answers won’t get you anywhere. Be descriptive when you’re talking about yourself, and paint a picture of what has brought you to this job application. This way, you can demonstrate that there really is a person behind all this information.

That said, elaborating doesn’t mean lying. Be sure not to tell any fibs, or exaggerate at all, as this will be found out sooner or later.

13.                Dress Appropriately

Okay, so you’ve made it to the interview stage, but what now? Well, first and foremost, dressing appropriately is very important.

This doesn’t mean dressing in a suit and tie, or heels and a power suit. Of course, if you want to, then please do go ahead, as it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Instead, what’s most important is that you dress for the company. So, if you know they dress down, maybe don’t turn up in traditional “work” clothes. First impressions are everything, and your clothing is a good way to sense whether you’ll be a good fit.

14.                Be Yourself in the Interview

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 This is, quite possibly, one of the most important elements of the interview phase. Being unapologetically yourself is a sure-fire way to get noticed, as it’s very clear when someone is holding back during an interview. But, why is this so important?

Well, not only will this show off your personality, and demonstrate whether your demeanour fits theirs. Ultimately, you could be hired based on the personality you show, but what if you’ve been fabricating it this whole time? In the end, they’ll figure you out in a heartbeat, so being upfront at the start is essential.

15.                Persevere

 Finally, something which can’t be spoken about enough is to persevere. Hunting for jobs is a gruelling process, and you will be shot down more times than you can count. Picking yourself back up after these fails is so important; never stop, and the right job is sure to come your way.

I Need a Job! Ready to Get Started?

 So, now you know some of the best methods of completing a job application, I think you might be ready to go ahead and apply! As we’ve seen, there’s a lot that goes into applying for a job, and it may seem like it’ll take a lot of time and effort. You aren’t wrong there, but every minute you spend on a job application will be worth it in the end.

Have you got any more tips and tricks to add to our list of ways to ace your job application? Or, perhaps you’re struggling to get on the ladder right now, and this has provided some insight. Let us know, in the comments below, how you’re getting on, and perhaps we can help one another find our new jobs.

Good luck!

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

6 Comments

  • mummyofasquarepeg

    Some great tips here. It is going to be tougher to find jobs after this pandemic because so many people have lost their jobs and businesses gone bust. Is this is great. #StayClassyMama

  • chickenruby

    Some fantastic tips there Kate, especially the first 3. I used to support people returning to work to write CV’s. Soon I’ll be having to write mine for the first time in 12 years and will really have to focus on the first 3 tips having been out of work for so long. Thanks for linking up with #pocolo and hope to see you back soon

  • loopyloulaura

    Great tips! I seem to fall into jobs or find opportunities with my employers. I think flexibility and reliability are key as well as knowing what the company need and being confident about promoting yourself to meet their criteria. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

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