Step 1 Prepare yourself
• Get all your basic information together: personal details, education etc.
• Contact the people you want to use as referees, to get their permission and to confirm their contact details.
• Think about why you want the job.
• Think about what you have to offer and what makes you stand out.
Step 2 Find out what the employer wants
• Check closing dates; if possible, apply before the deadline. Some employers start processing applications before the closing date – and they are usually deluged by last-minute applications – so if you submit yours early you may get more attention.
• Read the job description and personal specification to find out what skills and experience they are looking for.
• Research the organisation for more clues about the kind of applicant who would be successful.
Step 3 Write your application
• Give yourself enough time: writing a good job application is likely to take longer than you expect.
• Draft your answers first, before you start filling in the form.
• Read the application form right through before you write anything. Follow all instructions and answer the questions asked (yes, it is a bit like an exam!).
• If there is a question that does not apply to you, write ‘not applicable’ or ‘N/A’ in the appropriate box. This shows that you have considered the question and is better than leaving blanks.
• Make your answers relevant, interesting and personal. Your aim is to write your own interview invitation, so you want to stand out.
Step 4 Final checks
• Spell check and proof read your application. If possible, ask a friend or careers adviser to check it too.
• Check that you have included everything you’ve been asked for.
• Keep a copy of your application, so you can go over it before the interview.
• Sign and send!
Ref: Grad Ireland 7/06/12
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