Tips for your application
Keep it brief and concise. A letter of application should not be more than one page long. There should be a space between each paragraph and perhaps three or four subheadings along the way to provide an overview of what you have to offer. The application must be easy to read, so write in the present tense and use the active voice whenever possible. Avoid long, complicated sentences. Of course, there must be no spelling or punctuation errors in the application letter. Also, restrain the use of various fonts, font sizes, etc., and write the letter of application in the same language as the job advert.
Target your application. It is important to target your application so that the recipient can see that there is a match between your competencies and what the company is looking for. Spend some time analysing the job advert. Find out what tasks you will be carrying out in the job, and research the company. Do not hesitate to call the contact person if you have any questions about the job. Giving them a call will often enable you to address their needs more precisely in your application letter.
Write about the future. The application letter should not be a prose version of your CV, in which you review your experience to date from A to Z. It should be a forward-looking description of what makes you suitable for the tasks involved in the job by virtue of your knowledge, skills and motivation. Pique the reader’s curiosity and provide a taste of how you will make a difference in the job.
Motivate your application. Of course, companies are looking for someone who has the skills to solve the tasks involved in a job, but they are also looking for someone who is passionate about this particular job and the company. Make sure you include your main reasons for wanting the job.
Tips for your CV
Target your CV for each job you apply for, elaborating on and emphasising the experience and qualifications specified in the advert. It is a good idea to keep an updated, full CV which covers everything you have ever done in your career, but before you send your CV to a potential employer, you must create a customised version, in which you only elaborate upon the areas that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Your CV must contain the following:
- Contact information and the link to your LinkedIn profile.
- Photo. Include a photo in your CV. Choose one where you look friendly, yet professional.
- Profile. Take the time and effort to write a good, customised profile that focuses on the specific competencies that are relevant to the job you are applying for. In 5-8 lines, describe your most important professional and personal strengths. If you do not highlight the right things here, there is little chance that the rest of your CV will be read.
- Professional experience. List your employment history in reverse chronological order. State the period, during which you were employed (be precise), the name of the company and your job title. Bullet point your main tasks/key responsibilities – start with the duties most relevant to the job you’re applying for and highlight your most important achievements/results.
- Education. A CV must contain an overview of your educational background. If you are experienced, it is rarely important to write in detail about your educational background, but if you are a recent graduate, you should write a bit about what you learned during your education. You could write, for example, about your thesis, relevant electives, study visits, internships and studies abroad. Only go into topics that are relevant to the job.
- Courses/further training. A list of relevant postgraduate courses show that you are professionally up-to-date and engaged in the field. Don’t reel off all the courses you have ever participated in. It just muddies the waters. Include a short description of the course (provider, scope and content) if the course involves the development of core competencies.
- Language skills. Describe your language skills in a meaningful way. If your knowledge of a particular language is poor, do not mention it.
- IT skills. If you have experience with specific programmes that are relevant to the job you are applying for, stipulate your level.
- Voluntary work. If you have done volunteer work, which has strengthened some skills that relating to the job you are now applying for, include it in your CV. Make your volunteer work relevant to your professional development. Point out what were your achievements and what lessons you learned.
- Personal. You can include recreational interests, marital status and the like, if they help to substantiate your narrative about yourself. For example, the fact that you have played team sports throughout your life may help enhance the picture of you as a team player.
- Publications. You should only include a list of publications, if it is relevant to the job you are applying for. If it is not, then, under the relevant jobs in your CV, briefly mention that you published X number of articles and provide a link to a comprehensive list of your publications.
- References. You can write the name, relationship and contact information of your referees in your CV. However, if you wish to make sure that they are not be contacted before you have granted permission, write that you will submit a list of referees if requested.