Tailoring your job application

Hiring managers are ideally looking to fill vacant jobs quickly. Tailoring your job application makes it  easier for the hiring manager to see your potential and you are more likely to get an interview.

Use your research about the organisation and the role you are applying for to tailor your job application.

Prioritise the selection criteria

The first step is to prioritise the selection criteria the employer has specified in the job application. For each criterion reflect on examples of how you have used that skill in past situations. Examples can come from part-time employment, course placements, and university projects, extra-curricular or volunteer activities.

Select your strongest examples. Allow plenty of time, great applications take longer than you expect.

Use real examples as evidence

Consider how you have used your relevant skills in past situations. Describe your past actions in a way which reflects how the skill will transfer into the role you are seeking.

For example, the skill 'oral communication' is general. Consider how the role will require you to use that skill. Will you be negotiating with clients? Explaining policy? Training others? Making presentations to groups?

Identify an example which reflects the needs of the employer and use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result) when describing your skills.

Speculative applications

In some fields and in a tough job market advertised vacancies can be rare. As part of your job search strategy, plan to make speculative applications, also known as cold calling.  Use the most applicable medium for that organisation; social media, email, phone or face to face.

As there is no advertisement, you need to think about why the organisation needs you, what you have to offer and in some cases, why they should create a vacancy for you.

Research and contact the most appropriate person conveying your specific strengths and how you fit with their organisation. Your communication should show your genuine interest and enthusiasm.

Prepare a speculative application for an organisation:

  • you have identified as a workplace of interest and there are no advertised vacancies or
  • to gain internship, volunteer or degree relevant experience.

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