The exclusive shortlist – making the most of your job application
Guest post from Liz, director of market research company, Northstar
We recently placed an advertisement for a junior position here at Northstar. With the current job climate as it is, we expected to get a fair few applicants – however to be honest, we didn’t anticipate receiving quite the number we did, over 300! But the more startling aspect of the whole process, was how few of the candidates we were actually able to shortlist – just 10%.
So, what was wrong with the other 90%? And more importantly for those of you out there trying to get your first job in research, how can you get onto the shortlist for interview?
Here’s my top 5 tips:
Top tip No. 1 – If an advert asks for a cover letter with your application – include one!!
At least 60% of the applications we received did not include one, although we asked for one. Use this letter to sell yourself and explain why you want the role and/or work in research.
Top tip No. 2 – DO NOT USE the cover email templates supplied by the job search sites.
The job site we ran our advert on had a cover email which went along the lines of ‘…feel that my skills are perfectly suited to the role’ – oh yeah, why exactly? If you really want a role, and aren’t just sending out your CV to anything and everything in desperation, then write something job specific.
Top tip No.3 – Check spelling and grammar
One of the requisite skills applicants needed to possess was good spelling and grammar – a number of applications did not meet this requirement…
Top tip No. 4 – Demonstrate you are interested in the company you are applying to
Under the recruitment section of the Northstar website, there is a section which asks you to state if you were an animal, what would you be and why? A few of our applicants included this as part of their application – thus we shortlisted a dragon, a seagull, an eagle, a polar bear and a meerkat! But more importantly, to us it showed that applicants could use their initiative and put in extra effort when it counted.
Top tip No. 5 – Make your application stand out
Whether it’s in the way you format your CV, the tone of voice you use or the inclusion of a piece of college work which is relevant to your application – do something a bit different to distinguish yourself and if possible highlight your personality!
Cheers, Liz – Ed