Acing your next job application

Inspired by a presentation by Richie Smith of Hays Recruitment given to job seekers on a recent Jobcare Jobnet course.




You’re searching for a new job and find a suitable role that really interests you. You see from the jobsite that 38 other individuals have already viewed or applied for the same role – so what do you do? How do you convince the employer that you’re the best candidate for the role? How do you stand out from the competition?






Apply for far fewer roles and spend more time focusing on making the most of the job applications that you are ideally suited to.


Quality trumps quantity every time. Do not apply for the role by sending over your generic one-size-fits-all CV. Go through the Job Description and the Job Specification with a fine tooth comb to firstly find out if you satisfy all or most of the employers’ requirements. Don’t waste your time or the employer’s time applying for unsuitable roles. You will have a much higher success rate in obtaining interviews and improving your self-confidence at the same time by applying for roles that you are a good “fit” for.



The questionnaire




So you’ve found a suitable role; now to work on your application. Applying for a job is a bit like answering an exam question. The clues are all in the Job Spec and the Job Description. The employer is effectively telling you the answers they are looking for and all you have to do is provide them with those answers (as long as you are telling the truth and not claiming experience or qualifications that you don’t have). You should have a master CV which includes all your experience, everything you have done, every project, campaign, achievement and course you have completed. You then use that master CV as the basis to customise a specific, targeted CV for each application. If something isn’t relevant to a particular application, leave it out.




CUSTOMISE your CV to match what the employer has told you they are looking for.


Identify and highlight the keywords in the job description and job spec. Incorporate these keywords into your CV in as natural a way as you possibly can – the content should flow and not just look like you have cut and paste these keywords into your CV.




Image result for job description with keywords highlighted



Mirror the employers’ language into your CV e.g. manage and coordinate, conduct, develop and implement, monitor etc. Ensure that your CV lists your relevant experience and skills in the same order as is listed in the job description and job spec. A busy HR manager whittling down a large pile of applications will be delighted to see an application that clearly gives them what they’re looking for. Make their job easier while increasing your chances of being called for an interview.




Close-up Of A Businesswoman At Desk Holding Resume



So the next time you are job searching, stop and think before you hit that apply button, follow the steps above and maximise your chances of success.





For further information on improving your job search, contact Jobcare.
Jobcare’s mission is to help people get over any obstacles between themselves and appropriate work. We offer a range of services, courses and work programmes for unemployed people. If you are seeking employment and would like to avail of our services or if you are an employer who would like to get involved in helping the unemployed, please contact us at:



(01) 677 3897, or email us at or go to