Tackling job applications
To complete a successful job application, you need to have a plan of attack. It’s not just about creating a one-size-fits-all CV, or a customisable cover letter with an insertable ‘name’ field for different recruiters. We wish it were that simple! However, if you approach your job applications in an organised way, you’ll be able to keep on top of things no problem.
You should have one place where you keep all of the application materials. It could be a big Google Doc, it could be an old-school physical notebook, or you could set up a folder on your computer.
Before you do anything else, we recommend setting up a personal filing system. It could be a big Google Doc you can use as a masterfile, it could be an old-school physical notebook you fill with print-outs; or, if you like, you could set up a folder on your computer. No matter what you choose, you should have one place where you keep all of the application materials and resources you come across.
Useful things you can keep in your job applications folder
- A spreadsheet of all of the jobs you’ve applied to. Here’s an example of what this can look like.
- Your ‘master’ CV. Every CV you send out needs to be customised for the role you’re applying to. Why? It shows an attention to detail and genuine care your future employer will look out for. To make this easier for you, create a really long version of your CV you can customise instead of starting from scratch every time.
- Your ‘master’ cover letter. This is a similar concept to your master CV – but we’d advise you not to take it as literally.
- Cover letters will probably take up the bulk of time spent on a traditional job application. Each cover letter should be expertly tailored to a new role. It is an exercise that will help you reflect on why you’d be perfect for the role, and should also fit the tone of voice for the company you’re applying to. Instead, your master cover letter could contain anecdotes and examples of your experience.
- A sub-folder of your customised CVs.
- A sub-folder of your cover letters.
After that, the timeline for your job application plan of attack should look like this:
- Research new roles and put them in your job tracker spreadsheet.
- Dissect each job description.
- Edit your master CV to create a copy for each specific role.
- Write a new cover letter.
- Send the job application and update your job tracker spreadsheet.