Make your Job Application Stand Out

23 May 2014

The OSA Guide to the Ultimate Job Application


“Although the way we apply for jobs has changed with the advent of online forms and LinkedIn, from our experience many recruiters still like to see a CV accompanied by a cover letter” says Sophie Gregson, Director.

 “The combination of documents should reflect who you are and what you have to offer a potential employer, so it’s important to spend some time on them both and get them spot on.”

 Working with a recruitment company, like OSA, will be of huge benefit for you at this stage. We have literally seen thousands of job applications and know industry standards as well as what works and what doesn’t. Pop in and see us for advice.


Nail the basics

  • First impressions count; purchase some decent stationery
  • Make sure your contact details are easy to find and are correct
  • Layout will give insight into your attention to detail so make sure it is faultless
  • Maximize the readability of your CV by separating information into sections with clear headings, working in chronological order
  • Bad spelling and grammar will eliminate you from the running regardless of your skill set
  • Provide relevant professional experience only, prospective employers probably don’t need to know you passed Grade II Violin


Eliminate the cheese

  • Do not include any clichés. Stock phrases such as ‘works well in a team’ mean nothing in reality. Give examples instead
  • Reading it back shouldn’t make you cringe. If it does, get back to the drawing board
  • You are not applying for a TV role, anything that sounds like it is from The Apprentice should be left out


Find yourself an editor

  • Ask family, friends or us to give you their honest critique
  • Give them the job role and ask them if you have provided enough evidence to convince them that you have the skills and experience necessary for the job
  • If you haven’t worked through at least 5-6 drafts it is not ready yet



Make it specific

  • Tailor your CV to the specific job specification you are applying for
  • If you are sending out cover letters and just changing the company name you are applying to, then you are missing the point
  • Do some research into the company you are applying to and reference it in your cover letter. You can even talk about industry-wide issues if they are relevant to the role



Deliver your personality

  • More and more companies are hiring by personality profiling as well as experience
  • Don’t just replicate what they have written in the job spec, inject some well thought out wit and a sense of personality into your application
  • Elicit intrigue rather than going for the hard sell. You want to leave them certain that they want to meet you
  • Write your application yourself, do not be seduced by companies offering to do this for you, promising to include a host of relevant ‘key words’. You not only need to get your personality across in your application but it is also a good process to go through as it will highlight gaps within your skillset and areas you need to therefore focus on.