4 things to do before applying for a job

Written by Stefanie Hopkins


applying for a job

Having just gone through another round of recruitment, I was inspired to write about what to do when applying for a job based on our experiences. So many people still seem to fall at the first hurdle and get the very basics wrong. It’s all about the research and tailoring your application to the role in question, rather than the ‘one size fits all’ approach.

CONSIDER THESE BEFORE APPLYING FOR A JOB

COVER THE BASICS

If the job specification asks for a cover letter, then don’t fall at the first hurdle and completely ignore that and just fire across your CV. Cover letters are requested for a reason – you’re pitching yourself in and explaining why you’re the right person for the job.

PERSONALISE YOUR APPROACH

Tailor your cover letter – at the very least, seek out who is doing the recruiting or who the business owner is so you can address it to a real person rather than the generic ‘sirs/madam’. This approach might be suitable for large faceless corporates but if you’re applying for a role within a small team like ours, it’s really not that difficult to find out who the correct contact is, (especially when the job ad lists a contact email and name!). Alternatively, do a quick search on LinkedIn or just pick up the phone and ask for the correct person.

SELL YOURSELF

Next, use your cover note to say why you would be suitable for the role – this is your chance to expand on your CV and say why you have the relevant skills and experience for the role. Explain how you meet the employer’s needs. What are your unique selling points? Include competency examples where possible to demonstrate why your experience makes you a good fit for the role. Taking the time to make the letter unique to the company and role you are applying for, not only shows you know what you want from your next career move, but that you are genuinely interested in the company – cut and paste jobs are so obvious and lazy. Differentiate yourself!

DO YOUR RESEARCH

If you’re lucky enough to secure an interview (and applying all of the above steps will help you stand out from the other candidates), then the same applies to the interview – research is key (there are obviously lots of other interview tips but this post isn’t about those). Do some research on the company’s clients at the very least, better still, understand their team set up, their ethos and other drivers such as CSR.

If someone turns up to an interview and can’t name a single client we work with (and it’s not hard to find that information, it’s on our website and all over our social media), it demonstrates to me that that person is not that interested in us and couldn’t be bothered doing the research. Which doesn’t bode well for a future career with us exactly. Is that what their attitude will be like in the job?

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