So, you have a job description right in front of you but you don’t know where to start – you want to make sure that your job application is the best it can be. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The question keeps running through your mind: how do I make my application stand out from the rest? TheGrad may be able to help…
First and foremost – research the company!
Before even planning for the interview stage, carefully research the company and the industry you’re applying for. What does the role determine and what’s expected of you? You need to learn what skills they are seeking from you. Think about your skill set broadly and really aim to advertise those. When we say advertise, we mean advertise in your job application and aim to advertise them during your interview. Have a wise think about which skills you have that match the relevance of the job role. It’s also important to brainstorm on the elements that attract you to the role itself – don’t forget about yourself and what it is you want and what you want to get out of it.
TIP: If you don’t know where to start with your research then take a deeper look into instructions that a company has written in the job description. Research the application procedures too, which is usually found in the ‘About us’ or ‘Careers’ section of the company website.
What is your educational background and qualifications?
A lot of application forms ask you to list your educational background and the qualifications you have, however, there may not always be adequate space to fit it all. If that’s the case then you should summarise your module titles, the courses and even attach a separate document listing the exact outline of your educational background to give the employer a full understanding of what you have achieved. You can then include any other details that may be important and it could be those details that win you the job, so don’t be too brief.
TIP: If you have any qualifications that aren’t accredited by the UK then it may be worthwhile stating the UK equivalent. Don’t let any qualifications go unmissed. Provide details of how many UCAS points the qualification equals to, for example. If you visit the UCAS website it will give you information on the comparability of international qualifications so you will not be stuck for any conversion.
Including your employment history in your job application.
A very wise statement that is broadly trusted is to write your employment history in reverse chronological order. What that means is, is to start your list with the most recent job position that you’ve been in and work your way down. Remember to start with the job title and the name of the organisation. If the company that you used to work for is highly reputable, this can really work in your favour. Also, mention where it was that you worked; which location, which country? This helps your potential employer understand what your previous intentions were, what your drive was and what ambition you obtain at the core.
TIP: If you are applying for a job that requires a DBS check, then make sure that you include the month of employment, in relation to your last job. Don’t forget to mention key responsibilities and achievements from your last job too – what did you do that was outstanding and that impressed your last boss?
Interests and achievements – what are they?
It is just as important to state what your hobbies are and what interests you as it is stating your employment history. The reason why is because it gives the potential employer a true indication of who you are on a personal level. Just because somebody is hiring you it doesn’t mean that you should shy away from who you are. Sometimes, a personality of someone can shine through that much that it wins them the job. When a person can openly express their interests and enjoyments it can be quite appealing, so always keep this in mind. Demonstrate your sociable side and how you can work with others, in a team, and this will be highly impressive.
The almighty yet dreaded ‘personal statement’!
With a personal statement, it can feel quite natural to overwrite and overdo it. Stick to the word count and space provided to ensure that you are meeting the company’s requirements. Make sure you don’t go over the top and that you’re precise about your skills and achievements, in a way that really demonstrates who you are as a person. If you can, back up your claims with evidence, with factual proof. For example, state a fact about something you improved in a business; say what increases you achieved in customer satisfaction, company profits or whatever it may be, that way you are truly standing as a strong and well-rounded individual with confidence on your background experiences.
References – use what you got!
At least one of the two references you submit should be work-related, the other can be related to your university journey. For example, you can submit a reference from your past work and you can also submit a reference from a personal university tutor. This will give the employer a thorough idea of what you have been doing and who you are.
The underlying message is to not panic! Applying for jobs can be extremely scary but if you have confidence in your job application then you’re well on your way to success.
Written by Gemma Smith