You might have to take part in a range of application processes as you set out in search of your next job or course of study. The application process can be challenging, but with research and preparation, you will develop your skills and increase your application success rate.
At all stages of the application process, from your CV and cover letter through to your performance at interview, you need to be able to demonstrate to an employer that you possess the skills, competencies and experience required for the role.
Identify what the employer is looking for
The first step in the application process is to identify the criteria required for the role. The employer will often clearly outline what they are looking for in the job description or person specification. If there is no clear job description, or if you are speculatively applying, you will need to create a list of criteria that you think would be related to the role. Ways to do this include looking at job descriptions for similar jobs, researching the company and its employees through LinkedIn, talking to current or previous employees in your network, and reading the companies' websites and publications to get a sense of their work, their culture and their values.
Demonstrate that you match the job criteria
You now need to identify examples from your experience which provide evidence that you match the criteria that are required. For example if the job requires that you have team-working, communication and presentation skills, and an ability to work on your own initiative, you need to reflect on your experience to date and think of examples which demonstrate how you acquired these skills through your experience to date - including your academic, personal, and work experience.
Where possible try and use examples that:
- are specific and relevant to the role to which you are applying
- draw on your most recent experience where possible
- show that you were proactive and highlight your achievements
These examples will form the basis of all stages of the application process as you embark on your job search. While a lot of the information and examples that you have will be applicable across a range of roles, always make sure to carefully tailor your applications to the specific role to which you are applying. Demonstrate to employers that you have spent time considering why you want the role, why you want to work in this company, and how this fits in with your career plans. Carefully tailored applications that demonstrate this type of interest and attention to detail will increase your chances of success in your job search.
You can get more information about different elements of the application process below: