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Applying for a job

Do you know how to structure your CV?

Not knowing how to structure your CV is one of the most common problems jobseekers face, so we’ve laid out a simple structure to help you.

CVs should be tailored to each role you apply for, but to save time first create a general CV which can be easily adapted for each employer, based on the job description.

Contact details

Make sure to use the phone number and email address that you use most often. You don’t want to miss an opportunity by failing to respond to your invitation to an interview in a timely fashion.

Personal summary

Ensure the first area at the top of your CV is a summary of your experience and includes specific applicable experience in relation to the job ad as opposed to generalities.

Skills

Include a skills section to capture the reader’s attention by making it clear what you can offer. Use a brief bulleted list of the skills and key strengths that you possess that are relevant to the role, such as software packages you have worked with.

Experience

This section should include your work history and any relevant volunteer or work experience placements. Talk about business or project successes and showcase your skills and experience.

Your other considerations should be:
  • Work backwards from your most recent job and don’t leave any gaps (if you travelled, say so)
  • If you are a graduate without much experience, highlight the relevant skills that you gained in your course
  • List your highest qualifications by institution, course name and grade achieved
  • Make sure to include any training courses or professional/industry standard qualifications
  • Include any memberships to chartered institutes or relevant organisations.
References

Actual references are rarely included on CVs. It is usually fine to simply say ‘References are available on request’.

HOW TO WRITE A COVER LETTER

What is a cover letter?

Your cover letter is an introduction to your CV and a chance to capture the attention of your reader. It should aim to demonstrate the qualities that set you apart from other applicants.

1. Have you demonstrated your skills?

Each job application should be tailored when you’re applying to show you are the right person for this job. Underline the keywords used to describe the skills, training and experience required in the job description. Search through your own career history for specific examples of how you can demonstrate you have what the employer is looking for.

Your cover letter should complement your CV by highlighting the most relevant aspects relating to the position. We suggest making a draft, then when you are satisfied that it reads well ask a friend to review it.

2. Have a clear subject line:
  • Address it to a person; never just ‘Dear Sir or Madam’
  • Always quote the job title, the reference number and your name
3. Keep it on one page

Be clear, focused on the point of the cover letter or email. List your skills and experience with examples of why you are the right person for the company.

4. What to include
  • You’ve tailored it to every specific application
  • It’s on one page
  • It’s addressed to a specific individual
  • It creates an action plan for specific future contact
  • Give it to a friend or someone in your network to review

While some job roles require a cover letter, most will only need your CV. 

HOW TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND ONLINE

Your brand is what sets you apart from other professionals. It should reflect your values, skills and experience across a number of mediums. Your CV, personal appearance and personal network are all part of your brand, but your presence and actions on social media are how most recruiters and employers will come to know you.

Does your social network reflect your professional skills?

It’s vital to ensure your social networks reflect the best of both your personal and professional brands. To that end, we’ve compiled this guide to using social media (LinkedIn in particular) to help improve your standing in the job market.

Important considerations
  • Any social media profiles you have should be considered a part of your personal or professional brand.
  • Be aware that potential employers are likely to look at these to get a reflection of you.
  • Always be careful about what you post or share, and make sure you’re always presenting your best side.
  • Your professional brand is how employers and peers see you, and is no longer solely about your CV.
Your LinkedIn profile

Just having a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough, you need to be engaged with your sector or industry area. Luckily, LinkedIn makes it very easy to connect with other professionals and find industry related groups and content. Here are a few ways to make yourself more visible to potential employers and to find out more about the latest developments in your area.

1. Post ideas

LinkedIn provides the opportunity to showcase your skills and interests. Make sure you post and share articles that are of interest to you and relevant to your industry.

2. Make connections

One of the most important aspects of LinkedIn is the ability to connect with people. Be careful of overextending however as the quality of your connections on LinkedIn is more important than the quantity, so only link with people you feel are relevant to you.

3. Get involved with Groups

Groups provide the opportunity for you to learn more about your industry by asking questions and networking with others. Most are tailored to interests and industries, so search for the ones most relevant to your industry and location.

4. Follow companies

LinkedIn is built to help people find jobs. By finding the organisation and looking for people working for the company with a similar job title to yours, you can review their profile along with their key responsibilities. This gives you an idea of what you should be aspiring to, should you wish to work for this company in the future.

5. Skills and endorsements

List your skills and let other professionals you network with endorse them. This gives each of your skills a rating based on feedback from other users, it’s a great way to demonstrate to potential employers not only your library of skills, but the benefits they have added to the organisations you’ve worked for.

LinkedIn is invaluable to any job seeker, but it’s not the only thing you can use to enhance your brand. To see what else you can do, as well as how best to use your social media accounts, download our guide above.