Top 5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Job Application

Employers, especially the big ones, are increasingly moving towards online applications. This helps them get consistent and uniform responses and provides everyone with a level playing field. It not only provides them with an easy comparison but also allows them to customise the form to their needs. However what about you? How do you make sure your application is good enough to compete with that of others?

Take your time

An application form can take time. Often it can take a couple of hours and sometimes more. The trick is to not rush. Take care to complete it and take your time with it. Choose the time of day when you can get on with it: undisturbed and distraction free. This is your opportunity to show who you are. You are not merely ticking a box. Have all information required at hand. Often not having the correct information can result in leaving a box empty and with the best intentions it can often be overlooked. This is certainly not what you want- it will make you look like someone who lacks attention to detail and may be misconstrued as being lazy! Your prospective employer hasn’t seen you yet and with omissions such as this (harmless as it may seem) they are unlikely to decide to see you at all! First impressions do count and this is all you have.

Refer to the personal specifications

This is the closest you will get to knowing what the employer wants. Therefore read this carefully and have a copy of it when you are filling in your personal statement. Make sure you talk about how you meet every one of the criteria mentioned with examples and the impact it made. It does not always have to relate to work. It can be about a project you undertook as a student or a key role you played in securing a win in a team sport. It is important to remember that you should also be ready to corroborate everything mentioned. This is possibly the most important part of your job application. It tells the employer about the value you are going to bring to the table.

Research the organisation

Read up about the organisation and have relevant details printed and ready to hand when completing your application. Knowing about their recent successes and initiatives is something that will help you tailor your application, making them aware of what it is about them that interests you. It will also tell them you are thorough and have done your homework. This isn’t a mere ‘to do’ list you are completing! This will also help you provide relevant examples of your skill sets that best match their needs albeit you may want to do so subtly rather than overtly.

Keep it precise, short and sweet and stick to rules

You want to hold your reader’s attention and not drown them in vague hyperbolic descriptions of yourself. Be precise in describing your skills like talking about effective time management, your ability to prioritise or analyse data rather than talking about how hard working you are. Often online application forms will have a word limit and it is important you to stick to it. In cases where there are no word limits, decide how much you want to write and make a list of the key information you want to provide. Think about precision of language and read through your statement to check for it. An obvious but crucial trick is to use language from the personal specification. Mimic their language!

You need to also stick to rules rather meticulously. If the employer asks for a resume along with your personal statement, don’t ignore it. Remember to attach all documents they have asked for. This is not the place to use your judgement although it may seem ‘ superfluous ‘! You are not the one who passes judgements here!

Final check

Finally check your application at every point and before you send it. Some forms don’t allow you to make corrections once you have filled it in. Therefore remember to check every detail you fill in at every point. Take one final look before you press the send button. While I understand you have checked all through the process, there is no harm doing a final one.

I wish you all the best in your endeavour.

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