Top Tips to help you nail your job application

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Applying for a job is the first step to kickstarting your career. In most instances, when applying for a job, you may be asked to fill in an application form. Most employers use online application formats for job applications, for example, an email, PDF or online application databases.

Email

Your application is made up of your CV, cover letter and other required documents sent as attachments to an introductory email.

Forms

You may be asked to download an application form, such as a Microsoft Word document or PDF. You then need to fill in the required information and upload it again, along with your CV and other required documents.

Online applications

Some companies have online portals which process all applications online. These portals use a database., which captures your answers to questions about your relevant skills and experience. You may also be asked to upload your CV and other supporting documents.

Completing the form

The website will often have an “Apply now” link or button. In some cases, you may have to register and create a username and password. Make sure you remember your login details so that you will be able to return to your application later. Type your responses into a separate document and transfer the information into the form or database. This allows you to spellcheck your answers and guards against losing information if the computer or website crashes. Always take note of the word or character limits for your answers. Use similar words in your answers to those used by the employer. Often, word recognition programmes are used to screen applications.

Keep a copy of your application by printing it. Read it to yourself and get someone who knows about job applications to give you feedback. This will help you when it gets to the interview stage. You would need to remember exactly what you told the potential employer. Before clicking the apply button, make sure you have included any relevant attachments, such as a CV, cover letter, statement relating to the selection criteria. After you have sent the application, you will usually receive an automatic response acknowledging your application.

Answering the questions

Always respond to every question. If the question is not relevant, rather write “not applicable” rather than leaving it blank. Never write “refer to CV”. This makes you, as the applicant, look lazy and uninterested in the position. Complete any optional questions that give you the chance to explain how your interests, abilities and career goals match the organisation’s requirements. Provide relevant examples to back up your responses to questions. This is particularly important when answering behavioural questions. You may also be asked to take an online psychometric test. You will usually have only one chance to take the test, so make sure that you are relaxed and prepared before you start.

Author: Lawrence Jugmohan, Software Quality Specialist