Getting an employer to read your application in full is not always easy.
Apparently the average scan of an application is just six seconds! Essentially, the employer is looking for the key details that alert them to a potential candidate.
Following are 10 VERY SIMPLE steps to creating an application that is more likely to be read.
- A professional email address
This is the employer’s first impression of you, so it’s best to make it a good one. Save your whimsical, rude, sexual, or cutesy email for your friends and family, it’s just not professional. Can’t get your name? Try adding Mr or Ms at the front. Eg, ‘mrdennishosking@…’. It looks a bit better than ‘dennishosking123@…’.
- Turn your CV into a PDF
Without a doubt, this is one of the simplest things you can do to make a great impression. Any software you’re using to create your CV will have an option to convert to a PDF. Converting your CV to a PDF ensures it can be read on any device or computer. It also ensures the CV looks the same to the employer as it did to you when you sent it. Personally, I’ve seen hundreds of CVs that CAN NOT be what the candidate was looking at when he/she sent it.
- Keep your CV to less than two pages
Your CV is (a) not meant to be your life story and (b) is not going to land you the job on it’s own. The sole purpose of the CV is to get you to the next stage in the job interview process. As a rule of thumb, the better qualified you are, the less space you need.
- ALWAYS include a cover letter
Every. Single. Time. There is no situation where you should not include a cover letter. And not as part of the CV. The purpose of the cover letter is to encourage a closer look at your CV. Always make use of the cover letter space when applying via HealthyPeople – this way your cover letter is right there in the application email.
- Address the criteria laid out in the job ad in your cover letter
I totally get that you’re keen for a job and that you’re applying for multiple roles, but you’ve got to make the applications count! We often see candidates sending the exact same details to multiple employers. Every ad is different and should be treated as such. Sure, there will be similarities, but look for the differences – it’s likely that’s where you’re really going to strike a chord with the employer.
- Use simple, consistent formatting
There is no value in fancy CV formatting. It might stand out, but not for the right reasons. You want it as easy as possible for the employer to find the information they’re looking for.
- Spell check, grammar, capital letters in all the right places
I hate to say it, but a well written cover letter is the exception rather than the rule. It’s such a pleasure to see a well formatted cover letter with well structured sentences, appropriate capitalisation and correct punctuation. These skills are highly underrated. I get help with EVERYTHING I write. You should too.
- Tailoring the cover letter and CV to the role
Further to the need to address the key criteria in the ad, find out what you can about the employer and adjust your tone to suit. Your approach to a corporate health gig, for example, should be different to a CrossFit role. This also includes acknowledging the person mentioned in the ad. If no name is provided, try opening with ‘For the attention of the recruiting manager at XYZ Gym’.
- Avoid over-sharing
Leave out the details of your marital life, kids, age, personal challenges, financial situation, etc.. Not only is this information a distraction, lessening the focus on your skills and experience, it has no place on a job application. Employers want to be confident that you can keep your professional and personal life separate.
- Stick to the facts
Passionate is not a fact. Three years training for [XYZ] event is a fact.
Motivated is not a fact. Finding new business in [market/area] is a fact.
Driven is not a fact. Consistently exceeding KPI’s in [XYZ] area is a fact
Team player is not a fact. Contributing to [particular] outreach program is a fact.
All of these buzz words (and more) are bandied about on too many CVs. They do nothing to distinguish you from every other application. Get specific. Give the employer something to sink their teeth into.
There it is. 10 simple ways to make your CV and cover letter POP! None of these points have any bearing on your level of experience or qualifications, they are things that ANY candidate can do to increase the likelihood of moving to the next round in the job application process.
Do you have anything to add? Please include it in the comments.
PS. For a weekly dose of industry, sign up to our newsletter via the banner below.