With so much competition applying for jobs, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd
As the Frontrunners Project Officer, I would see hundreds of applications every round and receive feedback from the supervisors on why students weren’t shortlisted for interview. This showed me that writing a good application can be quite straight forward.
Simply follow these 6 steps and prepare to shine!
1. Read it!
First off, read the job description thoroughly and make sure it’s something you want to apply for. Employers know when an application hasn’t been written with the job in mind, and these will automatically be put in the ‘no’ pile. You need to read through the job description and ask yourself: ‘am I eligible?’; ‘do I have the right skillset for this job?
When reading through the job description it’s always beneficial to write down any examples you can think of to match those being asked for. Feedback from supervisors often mentioned students not referring to the criteria or giving enough examples. If you’re not sure on how to structure your examples, read the Essex Application pack and our blog ‘Are you Struggling to Showcase your Skills’.
A great way to add that extra something to your application is to show that not only do you match the skills and understand the role, but you know about the company. If you refer to this in your application it shows you have taken an interest in more than the role you are applying for, and that you are likely to become an asset to their team.
3. Mind Your Language!
I frequently come across applications or cover letters that start with ‘I believe’ or ‘I think’. If you’re not convinced, why would the employer be? Give a strong application by telling the employer that you are amazing and you do have the right skills. This confidence will make you a stronger candidate when they’re shortlisting.
Also, does your passion for the role come through your language? You have the right skills, you’re able to evidence them and you’re interested, but this needs to come across to the employer. Don’t go over the top with the language you use, as you want your voice to come through, but talking about what you know about the role, the company and how it will benefit you in your career will show your enthusiasm and can make all the difference.
4. Sleep On It!
Writing an application needs to be done with care. Remember this is the only insight an employer will have of you, and you want to make it count. Complete your application and take a break (you don’t have to actually sleep!) but let your unconscious think about it for a while.
Taking a break can help you to read with a fresh pair of eyes, and spot any errors you may have missed the first few times.
5. Check it!
One thing I see on applications (and something I’ve done myself) is applicants repeating themselves. Whether this is with examples or certain words, try to spot these and change it up a bit.
Asking someone else to read through your application is another great way to spot room for improvements. If they’re struggling to understand the point you are making, this could also be the case for the employer. Don’t be too proud or shy to ask for help, you are trying to show yourself in your best light, use all the help you can find!
Book a Taking Action appointment at The Employability and Careers Centre to check your applications before you submit – use every opportunity to bag that interview.
6. Save it!
When on the Frontrunner Team, I occasionally received requests for the placement descriptions to be sent after the deadline, as students would be shortlisted for interview but didn’t have a copy of the description. Be aware – other companies won’t generally do this. If you don’t save it, you won’t have anything to refer back to in your interview preparations.
Over the year we have a number of events to help you write successful applications and CVs and prepare for interview. Make sure you sign up on CareerHub while there are still places.