Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to write the near-perfect application for a job

Masters students in journalism pitching their ideas to senior management at ITN. At the Uni we grill our students on how to pitch a brief, an idea, a documentary, and we're told it makes a differenece
I am a senior lecturer, a former broadcast professional who consults for a number of companies and am continually involved in helping companies to hire talent and have recommended journalists, and would-be journalists (highly selective) to employers over the years.

This 10 point guide is for the brilliant, hardworking students and job seekers, who can't get past the application form, despite the fact that you've got all the right elements for the job.

If you're a blagger, this'll help you too but you'll prob be found out at the interview stage.

1. Be generous, but do not overburden your replies. If they want 150 words. Stick to 150 words. Not a letter more, or a letter less, if you can. It's all part of the ritual of discipline.

2. There are list of attributes you need to meet. If you can't the jobs not for you. If you can be meticulous in answering them with examples. Do so, but don't labour the points.

3. Refrain from saying how the job will help you build your career. That's nice, but the employer is interested in what you will do for them.

4. Refrain from showing off with the many things you have done. It may appear unfocused. Be judicious in selecting those that help your application.

4. Don't skimp of info, assuming because everything you've shown so far means you're the right candidate, when asked "why are you the best" you answer, "See what I have said before|". DELETE

5. Don't say this job was made for me! And cut down on the personal praise. The more vain you are, the less attractive you are.

6. Front load the key words required of you. The person looking at your application, will firstly skim read. If she or he misses key words, they may not be enthused to comb through it in detail.

7. Note down your salary. However be aware. If the job is £20,000 and you currently earn £70,000 it will be a tall order convincing those sifting through applications that the salary will be attractive to you.

8. This should be no. 1  really, but if you've got this far, then it'll make sense. Everything firstly lies in your presentation. There may be 100 applications to go through, and the sifter may only have 20 minutes. They'll find all sorts of ways to discriminate. An unprofessional looking document, with badly formatted texts makes their job easier.

9. Don't be funny or humorous. It runs the risk of misinterpretation. Believe me. After I have been through my 200th applicant, I have no sense of humour.

10. If you make it through practice your pitch. We drill our students at the University of Westminster in the art of the pitch. It is a cognitive practice, understanding what the employer is looking for. Get it right and the job is one step closer.

NB. If you're at a university ask your SU or lecturers to brief you on pitches and applying for jobs.