Applying for a job and looking for some advice on how to boost your chances? Then here are some top tips on how to improve your prospects of getting invited to the first interview:
Write a tailored cover letter
Although there’s some debate over the usefulness of cover letters in this day and age, it’s still worthwhile if you want to tell the employer a little more about your motivations and what you can offer. If you don’t know the name of the person who might be interviewing you, address them as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and finish the letter with ‘Yours faithfully’ followed by your name. Consider mentioning what you like about the company, how you think you could be an ideal fit, and the skills and experience you hope to get from the job.
Proofread your cover letter and CV to make sure there are no obvious mistakes
It happens. Even when you think your CV is perfect, you may miss a very basic error that might be the first thing your recruiter/prospective employer sees. The spellchecker won’t pick up on everything, as you might just use the wrong word by accident.
For example, imagine writing ‘skulls’ instead of ‘skills’ and giving the impression that you wanted to ‘build your skulls’ at a ‘skulls academy’? This is probably a common mistake, because ‘u’ and ‘i’ are next to each other on a keyboard/keypad. However, this type of error shows a lack of attention to detail, which will reflect poorly on you as a job candidate. Therefore, ask a friend or family member to read your cover letter and CV before you send it.
You might not think this would help you stand out from the crowd, but you’d be surprised. Recent research from the Personal Career Management Survey has found that over 80 percent of CVs have one or more spelling or grammar problems.
Don’t use the wrong company name
Another common mistake is when people send the same generic CV to multiple employers but forget to change the name of the company. Chances are, the hiring manager won’t be charmed if they know you’re applying to one of their competitors.
Make sure the dates make sense
If you’ve had previous jobs, make sure the dates match and that there are no unexplained gaps or overlaps. Any obvious errors will also suggest a lack of attention to detail and could give a bad impression. You should also ensure that your CV is up-to-date and includes all your most recent qualifications, achievements and any relevant work or voluntary experience.
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Here at BASE, our job is to match-make outstanding candidates with outstanding employers. Of all the people who complete BASE’s programmes, we aim to get 70% of them into secure, sustainable employment so they can build the career of their dreams.