Posted on June 11, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Whether you are a student looking for an internship or a fully-fledged graduate, having an up-to-date and well-written CV and cover letter is vital. Writing these can be daunting though, especially because it is easy to make mistakes. Here are some handy tips you could follow to find yourself well on your way to bagging your dream job.
This first tip is maybe the hardest, and as a result, the most ignored. To get noticed, you have to make your application relevant to the role you are applying for. Generic cover letters and CVs that do not highlight the required skill set will be quickly overlooked, and yet the HR teams receive a lot of cut-and-paste jobs. A recruiter can quickly spot these types of applications, and it usually means it will go straight into the ‘no’ pile. It is understandable - applying for a job is difficult and time-consuming. But it is crucial to show that you have done your homework and that you have researched the company and the role.
One of the best ways you can make your application stand out is to make it more findable. That involves using specific keywords for skills that recruiters or hiring managers might be looking for in your resume and cover letter. If you are not sure where to start, pick out main skills and qualifications from the job description that apply to you. That way, if search tools are being used to search a database for a potential candidate, yours will show up in the search results. Be sure to integrate these words and phrases into your application naturally in sentences, rather than awkwardly listing words at the end of the page.
Hiring managers are not very forgiving when it comes to spelling mistakes. In fact, just one or two errors or typos in your application could mean that your application is rejected entirely. It is hard to come back from this kind of error ¬- particularly if ‘attention to detail’ is a requirement of the job so do not hamstring yourself with a lazy mistake before you can make a good impression. Ideally, you will have a pedantic friend or family member proofread your application before you send it away. If you are happy to do the spellchecking yourself, take a break or wait a day after writing the letter to ensure you are approaching it with a fresh set of eyes.
Even with a polished resume template and a creative cover letter, there are only so many things you can do differently with your application. In most of the case, you will not have the space to share some of your skills and experiences. The first and most obvious option is to build a strong LinkedIn profile to supplement your cover letter and resume. Another option is to build a website that hosts all of this information in a unique and creative manner. This is especially useful for creatives who can use this medium to showcase images and videos, written content, but it can be a fun way for anyone to present themselves.