I’ve read that lots of people will be dashing off application forms for new jobs this weekend.  I’ve just finished recruiting for a post at Share, and as usual, there was the mix of excitement at a few excellent applications, and despair at the poor quality of so many.  So here are 6 tips to help you to get to interview and beyond:

  1. Use the personal statement part of the application – or whatever the employer has asked for – to set out your vision for delivering the job you’re applying for, and how, point by point, you meet the criteria specified by the employer.  Give examples. Don’t tell them stuff that’s just not relevant.
  2. Do your application in advance, so that you’ve got time to go back to it, edit it, ensure that it’s as good as you can make it.
  3. Check your spellings and grammar.  Don’t rely on a spell-check – if this isn’t your strong point, get someone to proof-read it for you.
  4. Make sure your formatting’s consistent, especially if you’ve cut and pasted material in.  For example, you should use the same font and font size throughout.
  5. Do your research, and most especially if you’re going for a senior post.  Take time and trouble to understand the organisation you’re applying to.  What are their aspirations?  What are their values?  How much do theirs accord with yours?  It’ll be on their websites and in their company or charity accounts.  What’s happening in their particular niche?  If they’re an arts organisation, are they affected by funding cuts? How?  If they’re delivering care, how are they affected by new legislation?  If they’re local or regional, what’s happening in that part of the world? Are there any major infrastructure developments? Political shake-ups? I’d even look at census information to get a feel for the demographics.  Have you amassed enough information to do a SWOT, so that you can tackle any question with confidence?
  6. If you’ve been asked to prepare a presentation or practical task, start working on it as soon as you can.  Think it through, prepare it, make sure you go to the interview with all the tools and handouts that will set you above the competition.

Now go and make some employer’s day!

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