Blog » Job application tips and pitfalls

Job application tips and pitfalls

16th September 2019

Spending time completing job applications and getting them right will pretty much guarantee you get to the next stage in the recruitment process.

With that in mind, our friends at Hunter Savage have put together some helpful tips and common pitfalls to avoid when completing that all-important job application.

Job application tips

Application forms

So, you’ve found a job you want and now the application form fills you with dread. However, the trick is to break the process into bitesize tasks to make it much more manageable.

Remember it gives you the opportunity to outline your education history, and the key skills and experience you have that are specifically relevant to the job. 

The application form enables the employer to see your literacy and written communication skills. 

It is important to refer back to the specific skills and qualities that the employer is looking for as you complete the form.

You’ll make a great first impression if you do your research on the company, finding their values, competitors and browsing their digital platforms should help build some background information.

Importantly, don’t leave it too close to the deadline before getting started and give yourself time so you don’t have to rush.

CV submissions

Some job applications will request a CV as opposed to completion of an application form. In these instances, it’s important to create a short and concise cover letter to accompany your CV.

The cover letter should outline how you meet the essential criteria for the position.  It should be no more than a couple of paragraphs in length.  Remember the aim of the cover letter is to make it as easy as possible for the company to identify how you meet their shortlist.

Time to work on your CV.  

It’s imperative to tailor your CV specifically for the position.  The CV should be clear, concise and easy to read.  Simple is best.  We advise the following layout:

  1. Personal details
  2. Education & qualifications (most recent at the top – this can be at the start or end of the CV)
  3. Work experience – this is the most important element
  4. Start with your most recent employer and work backwards.  Include dates (month & year), company name and job title.  Follow this with key responsibilities. It’s best to detail your duties in bullet point format.  
  5. Additional skills – this can include IT packages you’re proficient in, driver’s license, training courses
  6. References – available upon request

Basic tips when making an application

  • Research the company and the job role
  • Make sure all your employment dates are correct
  • Proofread thoroughly for spelling and grammar errors
  • Re-read it to ensure you are clear at all times
  • Always be truthful

Common application pitfalls

Take your time and avoid making any of these blunders:

  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Addressing the application to the wrong person
  • Not following instructions on the form
  • Not tailoring the application form/CV to fit the job you are applying for
  • Leaving gaps in your employment history
  • Missing the deadline

Remember to keep these tips in mind when making your job application the best it can be.

Style tips

A good writing style will certainly improve the quality of your application. Demonstrating confidence and capabilities by giving short, to the point and positive answers will illustrate your suitability for the role.

Use powerful verbs to describe your contributions i.e. achieved and inspired and include descriptive words like consistent, determined and adaptable. Don’t waffle, and ensure you select appropriate examples of your achievements from previous experience. Be enthusiastic and passionate!  

More job application tips and advice on the nijobfinder blog.

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