Making a successful job application (part two)

Last week I covered how I gather together all the information I have that demonstrates that I can meet the requirements of a role description and person specification when I am making a job application.  Today I am going to talk about the next step – pulling it together into a letter of application, editing my CV or completing the application form.  The aim of this exercise is to make it easy for the recruiter, by outlining how I meet all the requirements point by point, using the information I have gathered.  Sifting applications is tedious and there can be hundreds to go through, so if the recruiter can mentally tick off each requirement when reading my application, and understand clearly how any gaps can be overcome, they are more likely to put me on the interview pile.

My first draft application may be quite long, so I then edit, edit, edit until it says what it needs to as clearly and succinctly as possible.  This is important for any role, but as a governance professional it is likely that minute writing will be one of the skills they are looking for, so my application needs to illustrate that I can write clearly and succinctly.   If I am making multiple applications the good news is that eventually I will end up with a stock of paragraphs which I can repurpose for different applications, so the process becomes quicker.

I also spell and grammar check everything I am going to submit, several times.  Applications full of spelling and grammar mistakes will not get an interview.  When I was recruiting during the old days of handwritten applications spelling mistakes were surprisingly common.  There is no excuse now with easy access to spell checkers, but you still need to check that you meant you to say you were a manager, not a manger!

I always ask at least one person I trust to read the final product to comment on both the content and the spelling and grammar.

Finally before I submit I make sure I am providing all the things they have requested (e.g. application form, CV, other paperwork) and of course submit it all before the deadline.  If I state in my application that I have a high attention to detail and meet deadlines and then fail to do one or both that is a bit of an own goal.

If I do the above well I would hopefully be invited to interview and next week I will cover how I prepare for an interview.

This is what works for me – what works for you? If you are you a recruiter, would you appreciate an application which followed this point by point approach?

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