Tips for new job seekers: Filling out job applications

There are usually several essential job criteria, and your resume or CV must show that you meet these. It's usually best to write a special resume or CV with each application, to make sure you can show you do meet these criteria (we actively try to discourage people from doing One-Size-Fits-All resumes and CVs, because they're usually not good fits for the criteria). Even in the same line of work, jobs are different, but you must meet the minimum requirements.

Desirable job criteria

You don't actually have to have these qualifications, but they're a big help if you do, so they have to be given a lot of attention. Again, write your application so that it matches these criteria, as much as possible. The desirable criteria for jobs can vary greatly, and is another good reason for making sure you do specific resumes and CVs for each application.

Meeting job criteria

Making sure you do yourself justice in your application can be a job in itself, and it can be a detailed exercise. When writing your application, use a checklist approach to make sure you don't leave out any of the criteria, particularly the essential job criteria.

You'll see a list of criteria in job ads in point form. Copy this, or use it as a reference, and do each point in the criteria one at a time. Make sure you use the exact same descriptions for job criteria as in the job ad. These are often keywords, and the people or computers examining your application will be looking for them.

Checking your application

Do not, ever, send out an application without checking it. Get into the habit of double checking everything you send out, on principle. It makes you a lot better at spotting mistakes, which are often stressful when you find them too late.

These are the things to look out for:

  • Typos
  • Misspellings
  • Bad grammar
  • Missing information
  • Incorrect information
  • Leftovers from other applications

These are some of the built-in pitfalls of the application process. Even with the best of intentions, it's quite possible to send out a mess. It's a very good way of not getting a job, as well.

You can see why we suggest doing a special application for each job. You can use your basic resume or CV as raw material, but it has to be fitted to the job application.