Working Your Way Through Your First Job Application
Applying for your first job is easier said than done. You approach it with such enthusiasm, you’re certain you’re about to bag your first career move. Things start off nice and simple as you fill in a few personal details. Then, the enthusiasm slowly evaporates as you make your way through the application. How do I answer this question? What does that mean? Oh no, I’m never getting a job now!
To make matters worse, fail at submitting a good application, and your chances of getting the job are over before they’ve even really begun. You sit patiently waiting for an email that never arrives until finally concluding that you’re not hearing back from them. As such, it’s important that you submit the perfect job application to give you the best chance of being called for an interview or progressing to the next stage.
If you’re getting ready to fill in your first ever job application, stop what you’re doing and pay attention to this advice first:
Read Through The Whole Application
I learnt that job applications are much easier to work your way through when you’re aware of what lies ahead. If you see one and decide to just start it right away, you don’t know what the rest of the application entails. It could mean you put information in one section that would be better off in a later one, meaning you have to go back and edit it all – it’s just effort! But, by reading ahead, you know what needs to be done and can start planning better.
Follow Any Instructions
Most job applications will have a couple of instructions you should follow. This might include something like attaching your resume to the application or writing a cover letter. If you’ve been given a job application to fill in by hand, it might have instructions about the colour pen to use and that you should write in block capitals. Right off the bat, you can damage your chances by failing to read and follow any instructions.
Pay Attention To Question-Wording
A lot of people struggle to answer questions given to them on job applications. Either that or they waffle on about something irrelevant. You can make life easier and submit a better application if you use the questions themselves to form your answer. Employers will usually include details in their questions that are important to the job role. This is particularly true if they ask any essential criteria questions. People often want to know how to write selection criteria responses, and it’s easier than you think. For example, let’s say a question asks if you have any experience working in a team. This is such a common question, and it’s easy to answer when you look at the wording. Here, you’re focused on teamwork, so answer it using examples of teamwork wherever applicable in your life. Even if you have no work experience, you can call on school or college work in groups as teamwork, or volunteering, etc. The same goes for any other questions, use what they give you to formulate your answer and prevent yourself from waffling.
Reflect The Application Tone
As well as looking at the actual wording of questions, you need to pay attention to the tone of writing too. Is everything very formal and strict, does it feel like a firmly professional tone? Or, is it more relaxed and laid back, even jokey perhaps? The key here is to reflect the tone of your answers. Don’t write a casual application if all the questions are professional and it’s clearly serious. Likewise, you don’t need to be overly professional and serious if the opposite is true of the application tone. Companies pay attention to how your responses are written as it shows them if you fit their style.
Read Over And Edit If Needed
Don’t finish your application and send it off straight away. Nobody’s perfect, we all make spelling and grammar mistakes from time to time. Give your application a thorough read through to spellcheck it and ensure it meets the mark. If there’s one thing, I’ll say it’s that your application should cover all your strengths. If you read through it and find you’ve not pointed out some of your key strengths, edit it and add them in somewhere. You need to show yourself off in the best way possible, make sure your application does that.
After this, you can submit your application and wait for a response. Unfortunately, things get harder from here as you may need to prepare for an interview! But, just take each step at a time and remain confident that you can get the job.