If only application writing was simple with a precise set of rules to follow. That way you’d know you’re doing exactly the right thing all the time. Much of the time this isn’t the case. However, the good news is that based on modern trends, there are tricks you can use to boost your chances of success.
Figuring out those online forms
Application processes have developed and changed over time. You might have noticed the rise in online application forms. CVs were once the magic key to applying for a job but now they are often supplementary to online questions.
What is the point of online application forms?
A standardised form simplifies the selection process for the employers. It means they have consistent data for all applicants. Another bonus for employers is that it enables them to gather information not included on your CV such as: your previous salary or reason for leaving your last job.
What is the point of CVs and cover letters?
Within the application form, you might be asked to upload a CV and/or a cover letter. In this situation, you might worry about what you’re supposed to include or not include in each document. To shed some light on this, consider your CV as a snapshot of your career so far, just to give the employer a glimpse of what you’re offering.
Now consider your cover letter or online answers as an opportunity to expand on your CV and deliver the details. This will be the personal touch that links your CV skills to the role you are applying for.
If you work from this understanding then you might find yourself making more confident and informed decisions on how you apply.
Using detective skills
Many of you are searching for the answer to the question: exactly how much should you write? There are general rules but each employer has their preferences. In this situation, the first step is to do research, i.e. try to find a word restriction. If this does not exist, see below.
Here is how you can look for further clues to make this decision…
• Think about the nature of the role, if you’re going into finance, there is no place for prose so keep it condensed. That means strictly keep your CVs and cover letters to one page each.
• If you are being asked a series of online questions, restrain yourself from writing essays. If they ask you four application questions you might want to write one or two paragraphs for each question they ask.
• Ask yourself, alongside application questions, are they also asking for a CV and a cover letter (or a cover letter under the guise of ‘additional’ or ‘supporting’ information above a giant text box)? If the answer is yes, specifically answer each question but don’t bring in material that you have covered elsewhere if it’s not directly answering the question.
That's it for now but hang on for Part 2 where you will find out about the rising 'Resume Robots' that may be handling the fate of your application. Read for tips on how to beat them!