Ace Your Applications This Festive Season

Congratulations, you’ve made it through to the Christmas holiday, Doesn’t it come around quickly?! The festive period is certainly a welcomed break from the first term whichever year of study you may be in; a spell to relax, regroup and enjoy some thoroughly deserved ‘me’ time.

However, the Christmas break also gives you a moment to plan, prep and organize your next steps for the coming year. Your applications, CV’s and covering letters can be perfected over this period providing you allow yourself some uninterrupted sessions to focus on some stand out pieces of work.

Here are a few pointers to consider when tackling your applications:


TIME MANAGEMENT
Christmas can be a chaotic and manic period, whether you’re rushing to buy last minute presents or have cleared your whole diary to complete your application, time management will still be key. If a career path isn’t immediately obvious to you, then why not test yourself to see what fits?

Online psychometric testing will require its own dedicated time, but it’s time well used. As you learn and familiarize yourself with the process of which you might be faced with in the following months to come, the way forward will become far clearer. By completing a few practice runs you will be reducing your anxiety and be more sure of what to expect.

Furthermore, some recruiters close their application window early if they are overwhelmed with applicants. This factor should give you more motivation to sit down and allow yourself plenty of time to get your application in before you are left with a matter of days to complete it and apply.
Rushing your applications can lead to mistakes and will not allow for any reasonable adjustments to be made, so using the ‘little and often’ method to complete your application will help you manage your time effectively.


DO THE RESEARCH
It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that your application stands out amongst the rest.
Many employers that you apply to may not want to see your CV, but instead, will want to see a well-researched, specific and tailored application. Researching not just the business, but the wider industry is important as you may not be right for them but more importantly they may not be right for you.  Exploring the company website, checking recent news and reports, and understanding the latest happenings within the field are crucial. Reading around your application is crucial; to show your passion for the role and your information finding capabilities. This will make the difference between you and a competing candidate.
Additionally, be selective when applying for positions. You don’t want to apply for a job that you will not enjoy, just because it is available. Make sure to do your homework. How far is it to commute? Will you be able to afford the travel costs? Most crucially though, Is the position exactly right for you?


EXPERIENCE
References are essential for applications, and at this point you should have completed a work placement or achieved some form of academic award or recognition. References can be had from a past employer or someone who oversaw you within education, such as a teacher or academic tutor. References cover all of your experiences, challenges and successes; these will need to be drawn upon here. Make sure your referees are prepared for potential requests, and that they are not asked at the last minute to produce one.

This part of the application is your chance to shine, here you can really underpin why you think you will be right for the position. How will you contribute to their workforce, what will you add, what can you offer that they cannot receive from the next candidate. Drawing upon real experiences, real problems and real solutions will help construct a strong application. The skills you have developed and the training that you may have received can be used to influence the reader of your application, but also subjectively, prepare you for impending interview questions.

Being an ‘enlarged’ version of yourself both on paper and during the interview process can be a very useful tool. By using your experience and gaining confidence from any encounters you may have had will strengthen your application.


CONCLUSION
Finding a balance between working on your application and recharging your batteries over the Christmas period is your first port of call. Understanding what is expected from an application and managing those expectations stage by stage will help with the planning process. However, preparation is key; researching the employer, the job role, and the application process itself will need to be at the forefront prior to a successful submission.

Good knowledge of the recruitment timetable is essential to grab the opportunity that suits you best, making sure your application is job specific is one thing, however how to apply and more importantly when is another. Vacancies, registration schemes, pool applicants, agencies and speculative applicants will all have their own timetable of expected applications. Researching which process suits you best and how they manage their applicants will allow you to plan and prepare with a solid deadline to work to.


By Holly Barry

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