4 Keys to a Strong Job Application
It’s the time of year that we reflect and reevaluate our goals, and that often includes our careers. If you’re feeling stuck, or you know it’s time to move on, your job application will be a valuable tool in the upcoming months.
While you may have a solid cover letter and resume complete, read along to ensure that you’re well-prepared and ready to take on the job market.
Do you have references ready to go? You will likely want to note this in your resume and cover letter, as it shows that you are ready and willing for employers to speak to those who will vouch for you.
Be sure to set up your references ahead of time, so that these people have adequate time to prepare their notes and/or a letter of recommendation. It’s a good idea to have 2-3 solid references on file, both in writing and available by phone or email for contact. Ensure that these are people that you’ve worked for or spoken with in the not-so-distant future, so they’re able to speak to your current work and characteristics.
Strong but brief letter
Your cover letter should be thorough – but also brief. This is the challenge of a great cover letter! Begin by conveying your interest in the specific position and company, followed by demonstrating why you’re the best person for the job.
From here, it’s best to include relevant positions and skills that are a match to the position, which is best presented with bullet points. No one likes to be faced with huge walls of text, so bullets are a welcome break, and employers are able to digest your information in bite-sized bits. This is a huge help to them, which helps your chances and makes your information appear more deliberate and efficient.
Resume without errors
Don’t go through all the trouble of writing a cover letter and resume without considering grammatical errors! From spelling to spacing to grammar issues, nothing is worse than discovering that you’ve made an easily-avoided error. It’s better to take the time to fix them before they’re sent in, which can be accomplished with a keen eye and some help from family and friends. Send your job materials to as many people as possible, and be open to feedback and revisions.
In addition to a resume without errors, it should also be concise. Keep your resume to a maximum of two pages, and be sure to only include relevant information. This is more labor-intensive, but it makes a huge difference to employers.
Confidence in your abilities
The number one tool you can bring to your job application is confidence in your abilities – and in yourself. While you can have pages full of experience and accomplishments, if you lack the confidence to back it up, you will look less prepared to take on the job. Job skills are incredibly important, but soft skills like communication and confidence are also key.
When you have confidence in your ability to do the job well, your potential employer will sense this, giving them more confidence in you. Since an employer doesn’t yet know you at this point, it’s a great time to speak to them with authority and expertise with what you know you are capable of accomplishing!