If you are serious about getting a job I can help. I’ve sat on the other side of that hiring table and know exactly what employers are looking for. Plus, having a degree in Behavioural Science and a Diploma of Human Resource Management gives me additional knowledge to help people get jobs. After seeing the job applications people submit, it’s no wonder some remain unemployed or in substandard positions.
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There are plenty of qualified and experienced people out there who expect their credentials to speak for themselves. Trust me, they don’t! Unless you get work through someone you know, landing a job all comes down to the quality of your job application and employment documents.
Recently I began writing professional employment documents like resumes and cover letters. Unlike job networks which rely on people remaining unemployed, I want clients to land the type of job they deserve. I worked for one of these places and lasted less than two months. It was horrible!
So let me get on with the advice: Employers receive plenty of job applications when they advertise a position. They sort them according to how interested they are in hiring you and if your application doesn’t appeal initially, you’ll rarely get a second opportunity to impress them.
What are employers looking for?
Knowing what a potential employer is looking for is vital. It’s not just the information on the page either – there is a lot implied between the lines that potential employers and HR staff search for. This includes:
Is the job important to you?
Have you spent time on your application?
Have you done your homework and know what the job and company are about?
Do you take pride in your work?
Can you meet deadlines?
Can you communicate effectively?
What sort of personality do you have?
Do you have the skills they need?
What sort of experience do you have?
Who can they contact to confirm your claims?
When people submit ten job applications in a day with generic resumes and cover letters, employers recognise it. It doesn’t tell them that you are passionate about working for them, so you will be instantly overlooked. Instead, spend time on job applications and approach each one like you would an interview to get the best results.
The aim of your job application is:
- To get you noticed and entice employers to hire you.
- Give employers all the information they want in the most effective way possible.
How to get your job application noticed
Submitting a high quality job application is the ONLY way to get noticed. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way.
- Documents need be well formatted, well written, without errors and easy to read. When employers look your job application over a second, third and fourth time they will be comparing it to others. If it’s substandard, you and your documents will be cast aside.
- Keep documents brief, precise and accurate, but don’t skimp on information. You need to include your qualifications, the skills you have and your previous experience. Resumes produced via instruction of job networks often lack the detail required to secure a job. Remember, their job relies on you not having one!
- As a guide if you’ve held several positions and have various qualifications, a resume under 3-4 pages won’t have enough detail. Your cover letter should be about 1-2 pages, depending on your experience. Key election criteria can vary, but 75-150 words per response should be your aim.
- Add some personality and human qualities to your resume and cover letter. This can be done via formatting, backgrounds, images and wording. Tell the employer what sort of person and employee you are. Let them know your most desirable qualities and persuade them to hire you.
Look at your documents objectively and think to yourself, have you told them everything they should know? Has it been presented with effort, care and pride? If you were to compare it to others with similar qualifications and experience, how does it compare? Most importantly, would you hire you? If you aren’t happy with how this initial representation of yourself is portrayed, it will need work. Either do it yourself or hire someone who does it professionally.
One vital tip: If you get employment documents done professionally, make sure they can be self edited! I can’t stress this enough. This can potentially save you a significant amount of money and plenty of grief. Check out the following examples of successful employment documents:
Click here for a resume example
Click here for a cover letter example
Click here for an example of a successful Key Selection Criteria
How to give employers all the information they want
Use the list above which outlines what your resume will tell employers. For example; let them know this job is important to you by spending time on the application, make the resume relevant to the company and position, use keywords mentioned in their mission statements and always get your application in on time. If you can’t submit it in time, be pro-active and contact them to negotiate a deadline.
Also, each industry has keywords you’ll need to include in your resume and cover letter. For example, in the construction industry ‘safety’ and ‘standards’ are primary keywords to include. If it’s the community service sector, use words like non-judgmental, empathy, diversity and tolerance.
What NOT to include in your resume
Lastly, it’s all well and good knowing what to include but you also need to know what to exclude. I recently rewrote a cover letter which highlighted the persons inadequacies instead of focusing on their strengths. Remember to include ONLY information which tells the employer why they should hire you. It’s best to exclude anything which presents you negatively. You’ll have enough competition without taking yourself out of contention!
Image via resumeaust.com