Finished school, looking for new career opportunities, checking your market value? At some point we all apply for a job, most of us not just once in our entire working lives. While some people have great fun creating CVs and writing cover letters, others find it difficult to present themselves in the best possible way and the application becomes an unpleasant chore. If you’re one of the latter, you’ve probably already fed the usual search engines with “How To Apply” and “Cover Letter Samples”, but as an employer, we’d rather not know what the application folders look like, would we? Therefore, we would like to give you a few tips, which are not too complicated in our eyes, but worth following.
- Invest! In time and in the basics. Take your time and get the basics you need to create a beautiful application. You don’t have to shell out your savings for the latest version of InDesign, there’s plenty of freeware you can use to create excellent custom designs so everything looks cohesive in the end. A tool like Canva, for example, is easy to understand and for the lazy ones there are also enough templates that just need to be filled in, but still look like something.
- Get help! The resume and your own writing style are kind of a revelation. Few are comfortable with sharing how they present theirselves and approach companies where they would like to work. But: It is worthwhile to overcome your fear and ask a second person for feedback. This way, not only typos and spelling mistakes can be corrected. The critical view from the outside can help you to optimize the wording, and just because you like the design doesn’t mean that others share this opinion.
- Be different! Admittedly, this sounds like a wall decal. Still, it can’t be said often enough. Be extraordinary, stand out. By this we don’t mean color combinations in the CV, which cause headache. But even in jobs that don’t belong to the creative and media industries, you can stand out from the crowd. The possibilities to be different are numerous: a catchy introductory sentence, a bit of self-irony, good adjectives or even a video. Try to assess the company, and with a little gut feeling, you’ll find out how much you can dare. In most cases, it’s worth it, and your application won’t go straight into the pile.
- Do your research! This should be self-evident, but often it is not. Finding things out has never been easier. Take a close look at everything and everyone that belongs to the company, check out the social media sites, look at the people on LinkedIn. If you don’t have time for that, ask for help from your friend, who could be working at the FBI and is just stalking her ex anyway. Be informed and shine in an interview with points of connection. Make recruiters feel like you’ve researched your prospective employer. Extra Plus: You’re sure to have something ready to answer the question, “What else do you want to know from us?”
- Hurry. Urgently needing a new job is a scenario that ideally does not occur. If it does, time pressure is the number one source of error. To avoid typos, graphic fails and incorrect salutations turning your 30 express applications into a trip to Cringetown in retrospect, go for quality over quantity. This way only five jobs you’re confident about will get cover letters and resumes from someone who took enough time and effort, rather than an unprofessionally slapdash incomplete set.
- One for all. One mistake to avoid at all costs: sending the same application everywhere. The resume and cover letter should always be customized to fit the company AND the job. If you can’t make clear that you already have something in mind with the application, you will most likely not be considered as a candidate.
- Lies. Whether you are Christian or not, the eighth commandment applies. If you can’t meet one of the requirements, lying is definitely the wrong way to go. Instead, consider how you can make up for a lack of knowledge or experience. You need Photoshop skills, but it’s been ten years since you took a basic course? Don’t worry, because you’re willing to learn and you’re not a headcase.
- Reach out. You were in elementary school? And in high school you were stocking shelves at the supermarket on the side? That’s great and makes us happy, but it has no place in your CV. Only events and awards that are relevant to the position you are applying for should be included in your CV. As far as school activities are concerned, please only include the latest relevant career highlights. Little secret: We don’t really care about your A-levels if you convince us.
If you’ve read this far, maybe your first job or a job change is coming up soon. Take a look at our current vacancies at the bottom of the page. Nothing suitable? Then bookmark https://www.zucker.berlin/de/jobs-de/ and when the time comes, we’ll be waiting for you in our mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
A post by Loretta Käch
Photo: AndreoPolino / Pixabay