Applying for a job can sometimes be overwhelming – especially if you’re feeling pressed for time or you haven’t been through the application process in a while.
But breaking the process down into parts can help. Here are seven key steps to help you put your application together.
1. Review the application requirements
Take a look through the job ad and see what you’ll need to submit as part of your application. Many job ads will ask for a resume and a cover letter, but sometimes you’ll also need to supply extra documents or answer questions. Make a list of what you need to prepare.
If extra documents are required, it’s worth getting onto these as early as possible in case you need time to work on them, or you need to get them from a third party before the application deadline.
2. Highlight your experience and achievements in your resume
A great resume is key to most job applications, so it’s a good idea to focus on this next. It does the job of showing the employer what you can bring to the role at a glance. It should contain your contact details and outline your skills, experience and education.
Whether you’re starting fresh or updating your existing resume, highlight the key achievements, skills and experience you have that are most relevant to the job. If you’re not sure where to start, need a new resume or feel yours could do with refreshing, this free resume template could be helpful. And if you want to find out more about resumes, this article explains the resume essentials you need to know.
Your SEEK Profile is another way to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers, so be sure to update that while you’re at it.
3. Create a cover letter tailored to the job
While your resume documents your skills, experience and achievements, your cover letter sums things up in a way that matches the job and offers a sense of who you are. It’s all about making a great first impression, introducing yourself professionally and explaining what you can bring to the role you’re applying for.
It should take the form of a brief letter – one page is usually enough. Talk about why you want to work at that particular company: is it something about their culture? Or, perhaps, their previous work has inspired you? Outline the skills you can bring to the role, highlight your most relevant experience and make sure you include keywords from the job ad. You can use this cover letter template to get started.
4. Double-check details and spelling
Spelling and grammar are important, so checking your application documents thoroughly for errors can help you make the best impression possible. Take the time to read carefully through what you’ve written. One way to do this set it aside then come back to it with fresh eyes – you could even try reading it out aloud.
It’s also worth getting someone else to read your application before you send it off – often another set of eyes will pick up things you’ve missed. There’s also software that can help ensure that no mistakes slip under the radar. Grammarly, for example, may be a handy resource.
5. Check your contact details
Make sure it’s easy for the employer or recruiter to call you back – check that your contact details are correct and easy to find. It’s always a good idea to include them in a couple of different places. At the bare minimum, your contact details should be included at least once on every document you submit.
6. Send in your application
When you’re ready to submit your application, it’s a good idea to update the file names of your documents. If you clearly name each file, it’s easier for the recruiter or employer to access it and see what’s what. If you’re attaching a resume, a cover letter and a portfolio for example, make sure you specify which one is which in the file name and don’t forget to include your name as well. Little details like these can make a big difference.
Just before you hit the ‘send’ button on your application, check the documents you’ve attached one last time to make sure everything that’s required is there. It’s always a good idea to save a copy of any documents you submit in case you need them again for this application or want to use them for future applications.
7. Prepare for the call and follow up
If you’re applying for multiple jobs in a short timeframe, it can be difficult to remember exactly what you’ve submitted and when. Throughout your job search it’s worth keeping track of what you’ve applied for – whether it’s by using a simple list or a spreadsheet. For each job include the role title, date you applied, anyone you’ve communicated with about it, and what stage you’re at in the application – for example, waiting to hear back about a second interview. That way if a potential employer calls you can find the information you need quickly and be ready to handle any questions they might have.
You can also keep track of your job search online – when you’re signed in on SEEK, you can track and manage all of the jobs you’ve saved and applied for, plus your previous searches and recommended jobs.
The job application process can feel complicated at times – especially if you’re applying for more than one role at a time. But following these steps can help you streamline the process and make it feel simpler.