Blog: Application checklist for candidates – 10 top tips

You have found an opportunity for your dream job; how do you give yourself the best chance of securing yourself an interview?  Check out these helpful tips on how to make the most of your job applications and take the first step to success.

Employers may choose one of several methods of obtaining applications. These can range from completion of ‘on-line’ application forms via a recruitment portal, requests for CVs and covering letters or recording of short videos, usually less than two minutes long, that a candidate submits with a job application to evaluate the candidate fit with the organisation’s culture.

Regardless of the employer’s process, when taking your next step on the career ladder, you will feel more confident if you have spent some time to review and refresh your CV. This is your ‘shop window’, and opportunity to really showcase your skills and qualities and how they match to the requirements of your potential new employer.

Take a look at our top ‘do’s and don’ts on the application process.

Top 10 Tips

  1. Review and refresh your CV. This is an important step regardless of whether you are submitting a CV and covering letter or completing an application form. Make sure that your contact information is up to date, someone may be keen to get hold of you! If it’s out of date you might miss that vital email or call.
  2. Take the time to understand the application instructions and follow them; remember that the recruiter is going to have to narrow down the field somehow and so don’t fall at the first hurdle! For example, if an application form is required, do not send your CV and write ‘see CV’ on the application form.
  3. Use the job description to tailor your CV to the requirements for the role, reordering areas you want to give greater emphasis to, removing less relevant points. Be mindful of being succinct.
  4. Use a covering letter to explain why you are applying for ‘this job’, and your attributes to give an insight into your personality. Explain any gaps or questions you imagine the recruiter may have. For example, any gaps in your employment history, why you have applied for a role in Manchester when you live in London, why you are wanting to take this next step in your career.
  5. Consider the culture of the new employer and the style of your CV, does this fit? Is it too casual or too formal?
  6. If completing an application form, gather all the information you need before you start. For example, dates of employment, qualifications, details of references. Do not leave any sections incomplete.
  7. Consider whether the application form requires competency-based examples. If so, refer to the job description of person specification and structure your answers describing the situation, the task, your actions and most importantly the result!
  8. Use statistics or highlight awards/accolades to demonstrate your achievements – you’ve worked hard, so don’t be shy about celebrating your successes. Anyone who is not interested in these, may not be cultural fit for you
  9. Video applications are becoming a popular with recruiters. Again, follow the instructions, keep to stipulated time frames, practice what you are going to say out loud with a friend or in the mirror! Smile and be yourself!
  10. There will be more to you than just a list of where you have previously worked, tasks and experience. Recruiters are not just interested in your knowledge and skills; they want to see how your achievements will translates into what you can do for their business. This is what will increase your chances of being offered an interview.

A cautionary note, avoid using acronyms and jargon, don’t assume that the reader knows what they mean, you don’t want the reader to feel inadequate or become bored and switch off!  Avoid cliché statements and strive to be original.

Remember that increasingly employers view social media profiles during a recruitment process. Be mindful of your social media content and privacy settings.  Just in case you missed it – read our top tips on reviewing and refreshing your LinkedIn profile here

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