We have a job vacancy advertised at the moment, and are receiving a large number of applications for the position. We’re a small company, with only 5 members of staff at the moment, so taking time away from the daily business to read CVs and assess candidates can be difficult. Therefore making a good first impression on the person reading your application is vitally important.
After going through some 500 or so applications for various positions we’ve had advertised over the years, I’ve put together a short list of key ingredients to a good application:
- Spelling: Make sure you use a spell-checker on your CV/covering letter. CVs with spelling mistakes fall at the first hurdle – especially if you’re going for a job that requires you to write!
- Personalisation: If you really want the job – show it. Don’t send the same application to lots of jobs without changing it. At the very minimum, personalise your covering letter to the specific job you’re applying for. Say why you’d like to work there and why you think you would be good at your job. Ensure your CV re-enforces this.
- Up to Date: Make sure your CV is up to date, and has no mistakes. If you’ve just finished a job or education, make sure you update your CV.
- Brief: Make your CV brief and to the point. It’s not an essay, it’s a summary of your most important information. Employers will contact you if they want to know more about you.
- Accessible: Make sure it’s easy to read. Font size should be at least 11 point and it should be spaced out adequately.
- File Format: Ideally send it as a PDF, if not a Word document is fine. RTF and other file types may not load correctly, and could end up with horrible formatting which could make it unreadable.
- Reasons for Leaving: If you’re in a current position, saying why you want to leave can be very helpful to help employers understand what you’re looking for.
- Gaps: Explain any gaps in employment history.
- Travel: If you give an address more than 10 miles from the job location, explaining how you plan to get there (assuming you’ve checked yourself!) can be helpful.
- Layout: We receive lots of different styles and layouts of CVs. I remember when I created my own CV, I was really concerned with layout. 1 page or 2, bold or underline titles. For us, this really isn’t that important, the content is far more important.
Hopefully this will help you improve your job applications. If you’re applying for work with us, it will definitely help your application to follow the above advice. Good luck!