Job Applications

You have looked around and a few jobs have caught your eye. There are a number of ways that you could be asked to apply:
  • Telephone or call in person
  • Send Your CV
  • Fill in an Application Form

The 'Informal' Chat

More often than not a job selection that is purely based on a telephone chat or 5 minutes worth of chitchat over a reception desk is going to fall into these categories
  1. It is a short term opportunity
  2. The position has a very high staff turnover rate (telesales)
  3. You are simply going through a preliminary selection procedure before being asked to submit a proper application
  4. It is an interview with a recruitment consultant (who may send your details to the recruiting company on your behalf)
Be aware of this and take it all as a learning experience. Make sure you ask the important questions in your 'quick chat' as mentioned in the job interview page. You need to be sure that it is right for you before being made to jump through hoops!

Sending Your CV

Always prepare a basic CV that details your background, education and job experience. When applying for a particular job edit that CV slightly to give greater emphasis on the areas in your CV that your feel demonstrate your suitability and ability for the position you are applying for.

If for whatever reason you can't edit your CV then include a cover letter that highlights these facts

Please don't just send out photcopied applications with no personalisation whatsoever. Your initial application is your first chance to stand out from the other applicants. And first impressions do count. Depending on the type of job you are applying for there may be scope to be a little creative - but don't go overboard.

Completing an Application Form

Employers that want you to complete an application form do this because there are certain specifics they want to know and they want the applications to be easy to assess (in a common format) possibly due to high expectations of applicant numbers.

There is always a section in application forms where they will ask you to explain why you feel you are suitable for the job. This part is very important. If the job has listed essential or desireable requirements you must list how you qualify for each of those. Remember earlier when I said you should also consider life experiences? Well, if 'team playing' is an essential requirement but you have always worked solo, perhaps you have played for a football team or go on activity weekends? Each of those will tick the 'team player' box. Other skills that life experience gives us could be:
  • Number skills - Do you manage your monthly bills? Do you consolidate your bank statements each month?
  • People Person - Do you go to regular meetings? Book club? Mums and tots? Brownies/Guides?
  • Computer skills - Have you ever written a letter on your computer? Do you keep a spreadsheet of household bills? Do you send emails? Do you use the internet for shopping or take part in social networks?
  • Physically Fit - Do you have a children or pets that you take out for daily walks or playtime at the park? Do you walk to the shops? Do you do housework? You don't have to attend a gym (or lie about attending one) if you do any of those on a regular basis.
  • Good communicator - Do you negotiate great mobile phone deals for yourself? Are you a butterfly who organises social gatherings? These require communication skills.
If you meet all the essential requirements from a job specification and indicate as such on your application form you are very likely to get through to the interview stage. This is particularly often the case when applying for positions within the public sector.

Whatever happens, never lie. Even the smallest white lie can grow out of control and it may not have been necessary. Being economical with the truth is a better option unless you are withholding something of importance!