A person who applies for a job is «marketing» their labour and is advertising themselves and their services. After all, your only wish is to support your potential employer in carrying out his tasks and make your skills available to him - because you are the best!
You have worked out your career plan, you know what you can do and what you want, and you have identified a job that meets your requirements exactly. The next step is the application. It is nothing more than a range of services, which you as an applicant have to sell to a company as persuasively as possible. Even when you make the first contact, the company gains its first impression of you. When you then submit your written application, your well-formulated covering letter must persuade the HR executives that they should take a quick look at your documents; and that you are precisely the person that they should get to know. Usually this is your only chance, for as a rule HR departments spend 60 seconds looking at applications, and if you are lucky then perhaps twice as long. Relevant information must therefore stand out at first glance.
An application dossier consists of the following:
- Résumé or CV (Curriculum Vitae)
- Recent photograph
- Copies of employment references
- Copies of degree/diploma certificates and specialist qualifications
- List of referees
- Handwriting sample (if required in the job advertisement)
- Covering letter
- Other documents may include: certificates of further education and training.
The banal-sounding golden rule with applications, which still has not got through to some people, is: it is not only the content but also the appearance that matters! Dog-eared documents or documents with coffee stains on them, missing documents or a collection of loose pages will very quickly result in the HR executive returning the application with a rejection letter.
How you present your application dossier is very much up to you. An administrator may choose a relatively neutral folder, whereas a graphic designer is likely to design his or her application folder in such a way that it can be regarded as a first sample of his/her work. It is better to be low-key where originality is concerned; most HR executives adopt a more conservative attitude in their jobs – and assess dossiers accordingly.
Try to avoid using plastic as much as possible! Natural materials create a better impression. In the stationery store you can find folders that are appropriate for applications: letter files, clip binders or even insert folders with a thermo or spiral binding system. The choice is enormous.
However you choose to go about it, one thing is clear - your written application is your business card, with which you create that notorious first impression in the mind of your potential employer. A tip for smokers: do not put the dossier together in a smoke-filled room; the "scent" stays on the documents and can, quite literally, get up the HR executive's nose.