Over the past 10 or so years I have been involved in recruitment people for IT jobs in the organisations I have worked for and assisted clients filling internal IT positions. It is pretty clear from some of the applications that most people simply don’t have a clue when it comes to applying for a job.
A few simple things to do when applying for a position:
- Write a cover letter using a professional letter format. Make sure the cover letter references the key points from the job ad. Many applicants don’t bother to write a cover letter or use a less formal format. The letter shows you have read and understood what is being asked for and that you have put effort into your application.
- Make sure you CV is current, includes the correct contact details and includes a brief outline of you recent employment history – enough to show your skills and experience. Include your references, don’t ask for references on application. Finally include some hobbies and interests.
These things are important because employers like to interview people who have put effort into the application. If you have just send a generic CV and not taken the time to include a cover letter or even confirm you are eligible to apply, then don’t expect to be looked at in a good light. Chances are your CV will end up in the ‘No’ pile.
If you are luck enough to get an interview, make sure you turn up:
- Be prepared to talk about yourself. Make sure you can clear articulate why you are applying for the position.
- Do not put down your previous employer, workmates or users. Employers look for people who can deal with these types of people professionally.
- When answering questions don’t be verbose, but don’t be to brief either.
- Don’t speak in a mono-tone. You are excited to be here right!
- Make sure you have read the companies website, so you understand what they do and recent news.
- Even if you don’t have a question for the interviewer, have a question for the interviewer! Something about the position but avoid questions like “how much sick leave do I get”. Show you are interested in the company and what it does.
- Be polite, shake hands and say thank you.
In my experience 80% of people fail to do these basic things. Get these simple things right and you will find yourself in the top 20% of applicants for the job. It is interesting to see who “turns up” to the interview and who just goes through the motions. Trust me, you don’t need to put much work in to be better than average!