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Career Advice

Top Tips on How to Apply for a Job Properly

This might seem like a pretty straight forward blog post and there will probably be a lot of readers thinking “I know how to apply for a job on a job board, its dead simple.” To an extent you are right, job boards have made it incredibly easy to apply for a job. GoToJobBoard for example created a feature called “Quick Apply” specifically for this reason, to make the application process simple and straight forward. All you need to enter is: email address, password, job title, location, upload your CV and BING your application has been submitted. Many job boards even save the information you entered for your last application so that you simply need to click apply and your application is submitted effortlessly.

In the world today, where everything is readily available in seconds, people want everything quicker, mobile friendly, simpler, and smarter. It is expected that job boards should follow the same process and make the application process easier too, right? This is something that I have had first-hand experience of being a jobseeker in the past and using job boards to look for a job. I agree that things should be easier and in fact have often complained about job boards that take forever to fill out an application and submit it. However, I am a little bit older and a little bit wiser now and having worked in the industry for the past few years I can now understand the argument for taking your time when applying for a job.

The traditional way

The old hat ‘spray and pray’ method, whilst popular amongst most jobseekers, is probably the worst way to apply for a job/ jobs. This involves applying for as many jobs as possible in as little time as possible. Usually this will involves uploading the same CV for every job you apply for, using exactly the same information for every application form and applying for enough jobs that at least one of them should come back to you with a job offer. I’m going to be honest here and admit that I have done this in my youth as I am sure you have. It is quite simply a numbers game and people do get jobs through this method but is it really the right type of job and I often wonder how many people stay in a job that they get through this method for longer than a year…

The new way

If you are doing this right now, don’t worry as everyone has done it at one time or another. There is another way though… What if I was to suggest something drastic? What if, instead of applying for as many jobs as you possibly can I suggested that you chose two to three jobs per day and spent an hour applying for each job? “What a waste of time, I don’t want to do that” I hear some people cry, but trust me, if you do this properly you massively increase your chances of actually getting not only a job but a job that you will enjoy.

What do I do first?

First step is to find the right job for you which I have covered in an earlier blog that you can read How to Use a Job Board Efficiently. Next step is to find out as much as you can about that job, really read the job description. Don’t just focus on the job title, the salary or the location like most people do.

Look at what experience is required and check this against your own experience. Is there any equipment or technology which you need to be familiar with? Will you be managing people and if so how many and do you need previous managerial experience? Do you need to drive/ own a car? Do you need specific training in order to do this job and if you don’t have this where can you get it? Find out what you can about the company and its culture. What industry do they work in? What types of employees do they have? Is it smart business dress or dress down, what hours do they work, how many employees do they have in the office? These are all important questions which will help you to establish whether the job itself and the company would be the right fit for you. 

If you find yourself struggling to match the criteria set out in the job description don’t be afraid to leave it and find another job to review. It is better to find a job where you tick all the boxes instead of ticking just a couple. Using these techniques will allow you to find jobs that your better suited for and have a better chance of getting a job with an application.

Your online profile

What else do you need to do then once you have found the right job for you before applying? Make sure that your profile on the job board is filled out with as much detail as possible, try not to leave anything blank. Don’t just use the same old data that you used to apply for your last job/ jobs, change it up a little bit. Look back at the job description, pick out the key skills that they are looking for and highlight them in your profile. Don’t lie but select skills that you have and can demonstrate through your experience; this will make your application stand out.

If you get the opportunity to write a cover letter then use this to demonstrate that you have researched the company that you are applying for and are aware of who they are, what they do and why you like this type of company but most importantly why you would be a valuable member of the team.

Don’t confuse the end employer with a Recruitment Agency which is advertising that position on behalf of an employer. If this is the case then call the Recruitment Agency up and ask them information about the company you are applying for. They may not be able to give you their name for confidentiality reasons but they should be able to give you some background information on the company which will help. So make sure that you modify your profile for each application you make and make it specific to that job you apply for.

The key ingredient

Now finally, the most important part of your application, your CV. How many times have you applied for multiple jobs without even modifying your CV? Again, I admit that I have. One of the biggest mistakes made by jobseekers when applying for jobs on job boards is that they use the same old CV for every application. What if you were to modify your CV slightly for each application? Using the same premise that I mentioned above; read the job description carefully, find what key skills are essential for the job and highlight in your CV where you have shown these skills.

Make sure that you use real examples as well of when you have demonstrated these skills. Even if it isn’t in a work environment, think outside the box. Have you demonstrated skills through any work experience or voluntary work you have completed? What about any sporting activities you have taken part in? Sport activities meant that you are experienced in: team work, discipline, skill development and lots of other characteristics which are attractive to potential employers so be sure to include stuff like this too. Your CV is the window to application and what most employers pay the most attention to so make sure it grabs their attention on the first page.

 

After all this, if you take the time to really focus on the applications you make and switch to a quality over quantity focus you should see people coming back to you more often after you have submitted an application. It is not a fool proof system and as in the rest of life there are never any guarantee’s but I genuinely believe that this approach offers jobseekers the best possible opportunity to not only get a job but also get a job that you will enjoy, are good at and can progress in.

 

GoToJobBoard currently has thousands of jobs in one of the most supportive and caring organisations in the country if not the world, the NHS. If you are interested then please check out the latest jobs and put these processes into practice. Good luck!

Written by Mark Cherry, Operations Manager at GoToJobBoard


 

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