If we’re being honest, applying for jobs isn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world. And long applications can feel daunting, especially if you are new to the graduate job hunt. However, with our top tips you will be writing great application forms in no time.
- Focus on your skills
While this may seem like an obvious one, this tip means more than simply listing the things you are good at. When talking about your skills, make sure you focus on how they apply to the job description and the competency questions.
Make sure you back this up with some real life examples. For instance, if you have said that you are organised, you may want to mention how well you juggled a part-time job, being treasurer at your university society (which also shows off your mathematical skills) and your studies. If you are talking about working well in a team, give an example of when you have worked in a team, what challenges you overcame and how you overcame them. Be honest, you don’t want to be left embarrassed when you are asked to elaborate in an interview.
- Make it easy for the reader
Keep your CV as clean and as concise as possible. Use a font such as Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri to make sure that your CV is easy to read. Keep paragraphs short and sentences concise, avoid waffle. When listing your career history and education, make sure it is laid out clearly.
When looking at your CV as a whole, ask yourself the following:
- Is it neat and well laid out?
- Is it user to friendly and easy to read?
- Does it make you want to read the whole thing?
- Is it an appropriate length?
- While it might be tempting to list every achievement (and we’re sure you have had lots of them) a CV that is too long will not get looked at by recruiters. Keep it as clean as possible.
You can read more on different ways to layout a CV here.
- Proofread your application
There is more to proofreading than running a spell check. Of course, you should be checking for spelling mistakes but there are many other things you should be looking out for.
Read your CV aloud to yourself and make sure it flows well. A sentence may make sense to you because you know what you are talking about, but it might not make sense to an employer.
Make sure that your CV sounds professional. Keep sentences short and concise and avoid superfluous phrases and adjectives. Try and avoid clichés, no matter how much of a motivated, detail orientated, multi-tasking team player/self-starter you are. Of course, you might have no choice but to use these phrases in which case you should expand on the concept to make it more than just an empty cliché.
- Read through the requirements thoroughly
Firstly this is to make sure that you have all the right documents ready to submit but it is also to make sure that you are answering what they are asking.
Go through the job description and tailor your CV and cover letter to the requirements. Don’t regurgitate what they are saying, give examples of how you utilised the skills they are asking for. Tailoring your CV and stating exactly why you are suited to the job will significantly increase your chances of getting an interview.
- Check your social media!
You don’t want to spend hours slaving away writing the perfect CV and cover letter only to find the recruiter saw your expletive-filled rant at Southern Rail on Twitter. Spend some time auditing your social media accounts so they are employer friendly by making sure your privacy settings are at the highest they possibly can be. If your social media accounts must be public, make sure they are free of anything that could show you in a bad light.
Following these tips will make writing applications a fairly straight-forward process. As long as you keep your sentences short and concise, back up your statements with examples and show how you meet the requirements, you will increase your chances of getting an interview.