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When it comes to applying for jobs and making your application a winning missive – one size definitely does not fit all! When I am recruiting and screening a significant pile of CVs and applications there is nothing more despair inducing than realising that I am reading a batch of CVs, erectile most of which have been sent out a significant number of times before.

Sometimes it is really obvious that this is a standard issue application.. sometimes the writer has not even checked to make sure that they have referred to  the correct organisation. “I am really excited about the opportunity to work for NASA and fly to the moon”  says the applicant to the local bank.  “I would really enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the space program”. Well I am sure you would but that is probably not going to happen at the local shoe shop. The person reading the application deserves the courtesy  of getting their name correct (and their gender) and the role and organisation you are applying for correct too. But a good application goes further: it demonstrates an understanding of the skills and challenges of this job. It is tailored to the specific job you are applying for.

So one of the very first rules of making a job application is that you have to tailor your application to the job you are applying for. But this is a concept that many people struggle with; so just how does one tailor an application?

Firstly look at your Cv, medications For too long people have thought the CV is a standard document with every detail of their past in it when it needs to be a breathing and alive and tailored pitch for a particular role.  Have you expressed a career objective in your CV? Is this job (that you are applying for ) actually in line with that objective? Have you given your self a profile statement? Is that profile a description of the person they are looking for? (and if you are not what they are looking for, prescription just why are you applying?) You can’t change where you have worked or what jobs you have done, the tailor can make many different garments with the same cloth.  But look at your achievements – do they demonstrate that you have achieved the things they need you to achieve? Are you speaking their language? Are you showcasing the skills they are looking for? You will have undertaken a number of tasks in your last role, have you thought about the order that you mention them in? Have you used great adverbs and adjectives to show that you accomplished those achievements in the way they want you to work?

I recently looked at a Cv of someone whose greatest highlight was playing a key role in saving lives in crash whilst waiting for an air ambulance. I am not for one moment suggesting that he is not a hero…. But the job was not looking for daring do or for feats of bravery. So think ‘what do I want the reader to see and be attracted to?’ What have I done and achieved that is of most interest to my reader? ‘ Think about changing the order of your achievements to highlight your most relevant skills. Is your Cv a job description with no qualitative statements that show you were successful? Think about which achievements you include.  Really demonstrate that you have the right experience for the new job. Delete points that suggest your interests or skills lie elsewhere. Just as a tailor clips and shapes each suit to fit the size and shape of the wearer, clip and shape your application.

Secondly, think about your supporting documents, whether it is a cover letter, a supporting statement or both.  These documents are your opportunity to demonstrate how you deliver the role achievements and a showcase for your skills. In your covering letter, show tat you really have done your work on that organisation and know why it is attractive. Tell, that organisation why you are specifically drawn to it and that role. And if you are doing a  supporting statement  choose great examples of having cracked the problems they are facing. Make sure you tell them about the end results of what you have done (or contributed towards) so that you show you understand their mission and purpose. My administrator may have spent most of the day photocopying and fixing interviews but what she contributed to was client retention and candidate satisfaction. It’s great to see that someone understands why they do the day to day tasks in their job.

And finally, what is really sad when there is so much free help and advice on the web (and my site included) that someone has not bothered to look at it. So their submission is outdated and outmoded. And yet they are still surprised that they don’t get an interview.

One size does not fit all and an application needs to be thought through so that you really communicate with the reader and tell them the very relevant information in as succinct a way as possible. Good luck with your tailored applications.. and don’t forget a tailor needs their scissors as well as their other tools.

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