How to Submit a Winning Job Application; Step-by-Step Guide

Step by step

We understand how discouraging it might be to apply for multiple job applications and not receive a callback.
It is important to know that when hiring/recruiting managers post a job or vacancy , they often get more applications than they can go through.  For them, looking through this mountain of applications to find the perfect candidate for the job can be likened to trying to find that needle in a haystack.

This is why you must ensure you put your best foot forward by submitting a job application the recruiter won’t be able to ignore. Here are some pointers to guide you:

  1. Follow the instructions on the Job Ad: Your job application will be ignored by the recruiter if you do not strictly follow the instructions stated on job vacancy. For example, if a job vacancy advertisement instructs you to submit a CV and cover letter tailored to the specific role, and you go ahead to send a generic Cover letter which has nothing to do with the role, this will inform the hiring manager that you have no idea what the role is about and thus you shouldn’t apply for it in the first place.
Job application
  1. CV / Resume : A poorly written or structured CV  will deter hiring managers from taking interest in giving you a chance. It is therefore important to ensure that your CV has a high readability score. This means that it is easy for hiring managers to go through your CV and find relevant information. Hence, when submitting your resume, ensure it is well structured and tailored to the job you are applying for.

Find below other features of poorly structured CVs

  • Distracting format
  • Poor appearance
  • Unprofessional email address
  • Creating one CV for many jobs
  • Poor spelling and grammar
  • Irrelevant information or skills
  • Overusing keyword

*You can learn more about how to create a structured CV in our FREE Soft Skills training. Register here or request for a professional CV review service.

  1. Do not apply for Jobs that you are Underqualified or Overqualified for : We understand that you may want to try out for as many roles as possible, but applying for employment for which you are underqualified or overqualified does more harm than good. 
  2. Include all required attachments: As mentioned in the first point indicated, It is pertinent to follow information stated by the recruiter, one of such is, attaching the required documents or attachments. This could come in the form of a video cover letter, University certificate, resume, portfolio etc. It’s very important to double check that all the relevant documents requested for have been attached to the email before you press SEND. 
Before you send
  1. Don’t break Email Etiquette rules: Hiring managers have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of emails they have received from applicants and job seekers over time. This means that when it comes to applying for a job, the email approach used could either make or mar your chances of scaling through to the next stage

Let’s drill down a bit more on how you can ensure your email improves your chances..

Here are some proper email etiquette checklist you should keep in mind:

  • Send your email to a specific person: Address your email to Dear Mr./Ms. LastName. If you don’t have a name, address your email to Dear Hiring Manager 
  • Keep it official: Stick to formal address style such as Dear Mrs Bukola or Hello Hiring Manager. Avoid casual greetings such as “ Hey”
  • Write a Clear Subject Line: Your email message needs a subject line. If you leave the subject blank, the email is probably going to end up in a spam mailbox or be deleted. Another important point is to ensure that the position you are applying for is clearly stated in the subject line of your email message. Finally, make sure that the subject line is relevant to the email content.
  • Keep it brief: People tend to skim, or even ignore very long emails. Keep your email brief and straight to the point.
  • Choose a simple font. Avoid ornate, difficult-to-read fonts. Use basic fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Cambria. It’s also not advisable to use colored fonts, either. Use size 10 or 12 points, so that the email is easy to read.
  • Write like it’s a business letter. In general, your email messages should look a lot like business letters. They should include words, not acronyms, slang, or emoticons. The email letters should be written in full sentences and paragraphs. Begin with a salutation, and end with a send-off and your signature.

Finally, don’t forget to include your contact information in your signature, so it’s easy for the hiring manager to get in touch.

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