the job application: when to apply for a job

the job application: when to apply for a job
We have given lots of advice about creating the right job seeking tools, but what about when it comes down to the crunch and are ready to apply for the job? How do you know when you are truly ready to press send? 

There are few things you need to get right before you apply. 

Stay calm and never rush into sending your application through. There might be a deadline for final applications, but don’t let this panic you into sending in an incomplete application. Take your time and make sure you have completed the following as thoroughly as possible before you submit:  

1. Have you researched the company?

It’s important to know as much as possible about the company you are applying to. So many candidates will apply by saying that they “would love to work for this company”, but cannot say why. This not only looks like you have missed a trick at the application stage but may also reflect badly on you when you reach the interview stage.

Spend some time researching the company online and looking at reviews from other employees (if you can). This will not only benefit the application you send but will also give you a better idea about the company you are applying to, and if you really want to work there.

2. Have you chosen and asked your references?

Don’t just assume that your last employer will automatically be a good reference. Take this part of your application into your own hands and make sure you ask the relevant people to be your references in advance; this could be your last employer, your school teacher or a professional colleague if you haven’t had a job before. 

Remember to engage with your references before you submit the application with their names on, just in case they are unable to be your reference or do not want to be. 

Read more about choosing the right references here.

3. Have you adapted your online brand?

When a new employer sees your name pop up on their application list, the chances are they will Google you or search you on Facebook/LinkedIn. 

Our advice is to make sure that your social networks are as “professional” as they can be. The last thing you want is to have thousands of drunken images for your future boss to scroll through. Of course, you don’t have to remove your networks – just tone them down a little.

Read more about how to build your social media brand

4. Have you have customised your CV?

No matter how many jobs you have applied for, it’s never a good idea to send through the same generic CV. Not only might you get caught out by recruiters and employers alike, but it’s also unprofessional and could hinder your chances as securing an interview.

Make sure you use your original research on the company to understand more about what they are looking for, and be sure to tackle the keywords they have included in the job description with your personalised view on each one.

Here are 3 things on your CV you need to customise.
  
5. Have you written a convincing cover letter?

Like your CV, it isn’t simply 'one cover letter fits all'. You need to ensure that your cover letter has been tailored to the job description and company in the same way that you edited your CV. It doesn’t have to be long and too detailed, but it does have to make an impact. Remember, this is your ticket to an interview, so spend the extra time making sure it’s the best it can be.

Read more about writing an awesome cover letter.
  
Once you have completed these five crucial elements you are ready to send! Just make sure someone checks through each element for you – another pair of eyes is invaluable when it comes to writing. 

To get more great career advice about applying for a job and staying focused during the process, read real career advice from real candidates
Posted: Friday, 14 July 2017 - 9:00 AM