12 dos and don’ts of job applications

Writing a job application can seem like a big task, Here are some tips from ABDO to help you succeed. 

  1. The same application won’t work for all jobs: tailor your application to the company
    and role. Don’t just copy and paste: instead
    • Research the role that you are applying for and find out about the key duties and responsibilities
    • Read and understand the job description.
    • Investigate the company that you are applying to, their background and their values.
  2. Do apply for roles where you meet the required specifications. This might be the educational requirements, an ability to drive, fluency in languages. Make sure you know you can get to the job location and can fit in with the working hours. Don’t apply for roles where you can’t fulfil the role requirements.
  3. Do follow instructions. Whatever those instructions are, be it information needed,  the format (CV, personal statement, supporting letter) and file format, the content  and level of detail, make sure that you do what is asked.
  4. Don’t start your application email with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’. Do use the name of the person you are applying to, or if you don’t know the name but know the role, use that instead, e.g. For the attention of the Recruitment Manager.
  5. Do pay attention to detail. Complete applications fully. Don’t leave sections incomplete or unanswered. Have someone else check your spelling and grammar.
  6. Do be professional. You’re not dropping a message to a friend; you are trying to impress a potential employer. Don’t use text speak, acronyms, jargon, slang or humour.
  7. Do make sure your employment history is correct. Check dates, and explain any gaps in your career history.
  8. Don’t lie about or exaggerate your previous experiences, be that work history or personal achievements and activities. It’s just not worth the risk of being found out.
  9. Do ensure your contact details are correct and up to date. Phone and email are the bare minimum needed. If your email address is one that you have had since you were younger and is now embarrassing, get a new email address with professionalism in mind.
  10. Do practice handwritten applications. Ahead of completing the actual form write down what you plan to put into each section on another piece of paper. This helps you check for mistakes before filling in the form. It also gives you opportunity to get all of the required information to hand.
  11. Don’t be wordy! If the application asks for 400 words, or for 2 sides of A4, a longer response won’t gain you any points. Recruiters will be put off by an 8-page essay and will take it as an indication that you don’t follow instructions well.
  12. Don’t miss deadlines! Be aware of closing dates for information. If you don’t hit these, it will show the company that you aren’t as focussed as other applicants.

Remember these tips when filling in your applications and it will help you get to the next stage. And if you want to learn more about how to succeed in an interview we have more tips for you here.

2 Replies to “12 dos and don’ts of job applications”

  1. […] late! When you work in retail, punctuality is important, as shops have set opening hours. In your job application you may want to mention examples that show you are punctual – have you reliably turned up on time […]

  2. […] your local area. Check out websites, social media and shop windows. Send in your CV or fill in the job application form, and see what happens. You will gain experience in applying for jobs, you might get an interview, […]

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