So, you’ve found a job advert that sounds right up your street. But hiring managers have a lot of applications to sift through, so how can you give yourself the best possible chances of landing in the YES pile and going forward to the interview?
In this blog, WE’ll cover every step of the journey – from seeing the ad, to finding out if it’s really the right job for you, tailoring your CV and messaging, to submitting a stand-out application.
Firstly… do you really want the job?
The first thing that WE advise is that you research the company that is offering the role. Take a good look at the website, social accounts, who works there, and what they’ve been doing recently.
Does it seem like a good culture fit?
Do the company values align with me?
Am I excited at the idea of working here?
Also, familiarise yourself with the job spec and consider:
Am I capable of fulfilling the role?
Do I have proven experience that demonstrates this?
Will I be challenged in this role and have opportunities to learn?
If the answer to all the above is an absolute yes, then great! It’s time to put some real effort into a stand-out application that cannot be ignored.
Shine Up Your CV
Tailor your CV and highlight what makes you different
You’ve probably heard it before: you need to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. CVs are often repetitive and whoever is looking at yours is probably also looking at 10, 20, or 100 candidates with similar experience. Make yourself stand out by tailoring your summary according to the role, and highlighting the areas which really differentiate you from other candidates and give them the prime spot on your CV. By this point, you’ve researched the company and the job spec, so this should be easy enough to do. Don’t forget to include keywords from the job spec wherever you can.
Make the most of your first introduction
Now that your CV is optimised and ready to go, it’s time to craft your initial introduction message. This could be a LinkedIn message, a cover letter, or similar.
Keep your message brief, and specific
Our best advice is simple: say less, with more impact. Go for quality over quantity by focusing on:
why you want to work for the company
what you can bring to the company you’re approaching and why it fits them
Be specific in what exactly about the company has made you want to work there, and exactly what skills, experience or qualities you bring to the table.
Refine your Portfolio
Creatives – you’ll want to make your work accessible in as few steps as possible.
Make sure your portfolio link WORKS before sending off your application.
If you need to password-protect your work, keep the password simple.
The more clicks required or pages to sift through, the more likely you are to lose the person viewing your work. So, keep it streamlined, and only present your best and most relevant projects. Quality is so much better than quantity!
Nail the application
Put effort in
It might sound obvious, but often applications are unfinished or rushed. It’s always noticed, and these applications usually fail! Don’t leave your application to the last minute – give yourself time to answer the questions or tailor your message to a high standard.
Be confident, and don’t downplay your strengths. You’re competing for a role you really want, and therefore you need to stand out, so try not to be too modest. Make sure to mention your top skills and how they meet the job criteria.
Use real-life examples
You’re familiar with the job description,so think about times in which you’ve already demonstrated the capability of carrying out the requirements. Use these examples when answering your application questions. The key here is to make every answer as relevant as possible to the role and the company.
Use the STAR technique
You might have heard of this one already, as it’s a common technique used in applications and interviews. The STAR technique is a simple formula for keeping answers informative but to the point.When giving a real-life example of your capability, follow this format:
Situation (your job and problem at hand)
Task (what you needed to do)
Action (how you approached it)
Result (how it went)
Before you submit… ask someone to proof-read
This is a no-brainer, but so often overlooked! You’ve just put so much work into your application, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. You don’t want to send it off before checking for typos. Demonstrate your literacy by ensuring your application is checked for spelling and grammar at every touch point, from your CV to your cover message and application answers. Grammarly is a great tool for this.
So you’ve researched the company and decided this is the dream role for you. You’ve tailored your CV, crafted the perfect cover letter, nailed the application and spell checked the lot. Time to send it off and sit tight!
But, what if I don’t hear back, or I get a generic “you’ve been unsuccessful” email?
If you’ve followed all the steps above, it’s unlikely that you’ll be ignored or unsuccessful. However, sometimes applications can and do get missed. If you haven’t heard back within a reasonable time, you should absolutely follow up! Get in touch with the hiring manager or, if you don’t hear from them, go to whoever is their senior. You’ve put a lot of effort into applying to work for them, and you deserve a response.
If you’ve been told that you are unsuccessful, without further information, you are within your right to request feedback. You should ask – again, you put time and effort into applying. The feedback can help you to improve your job applications in the future, especially if you apply for another role at the same company.We hope these tips help you in putting together stand-out applications!To browse opportunities currently available at WeComm, visit: wecomm.co.uk/our-jobs
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