March 30, 2021, by School of Medicine
5 Top Tips on how to ace your job application
Hi everyone, I’m Becky, a third year MPT student, who is currently applying for post graduate job positions. In this blog post I will be discussing my top 5 tips that you can use to enhance your job application, highlighting what you need to include in your CV, cover letter and how to win over an interview panel.
But first a little about me and why anyone should take my advice on job applications. I successfully applied for my first job in 2018, during my first year of university, in a Nottingham restaurant called Bistro Live. I am still currently employed there (however not working due to COVID) and have had a total number of 13 separate jobs in the past 3 years since that first interview. My friends and family would describe me as frustratingly lucky when it comes to my success with job applications, but I will endeavour to explain why this is not the case with my five top tips.
So here they are…
1. Keep your CV brief
My first tip for job applications is keeping your CV brief and to the point, it should be no more than two pages long! If you have a lot of work experience choose maybe the top three or four jobs that most relate to the role you are applying for and bullet point the key responsibilities of those roles.
If you do not have much experience use your education, any volunteering experience and hobbies to highlight transferable skills such as organisation, time keeping and working well under pressure to show employers that you could do the role just as well as someone with a bit more experience.
2. Write a cover letter
Although your CV is important, employers tend to only look at them to make sure you have the basic qualifications and that you would be suitable for the role. So, what makes you stand out to employers? The answer to this is of course your cover letter. Therefore, NEVER EVER apply for a job without a cover letter! I can guarantee that most employers will not view your application and you will not get the job.
But what should you include in your cover letter? This depends entirely on the job specification for the role you are applying for, it is important to know exactly what skills the employer is looking for and from there you need to show examples of where you have gained these skills. Luckily many of these skills are transferable, for example in a person specification for a clinical physiologist job in the NHS, one of the skills they are looking for is the ability to work alone and in a team. In my cover letter, therefore, I would use an example of in my bar work when I needed to work with other people to provide a service or maybe mention that I often work alone to complete work for strict deadlines while at university. I would aim to highlight multiple skills at once in my scenarios and I may not provide examples for every skill on the specification, but I know that proving I have experience in what they are looking for is what is going to make me stand out.
3. Any experience is better than no experience
The most important aspect of applying for a job, particularly a graduate one, is being able to prove you have the skills they are looking for in the job/person specification. This comes from experience and so the most crucial piece of advice I could give to anyone is try to get some work experience, any work experience. My first job at Bistro Live was perfect for this, I only worked Friday and Saturday nights, but from this I had transferable skills, such as time keeping, organisation and the ability to work in a fast paced and pressurised environment, all skills that employers are looking for, no matter what the role.
It is not always the easiest task getting your first job so it may be beneficial to volunteer or even try and get some experience with friends and family. One of the most important jobs so far in my life was when I offered to work as a receptionist at the school my mum works at, it provided me with so much experience that could easily be transferred to other roles and so made applying for other jobs 10x easier.
4. Don’t over prepare interview answers
Interviews can be nerve wracking and it can be very tempting to prepare everything right down to the last detail. Now I’m not saying don’t prepare, especially if it is for a professional role, because it is important to know what you will be discussing when you go into the interview. However, it is vital that you come across as genuine during the process and this cannot be done if you have memorised specific answers to questions (unless you are an absolutely brilliant actor). Instead have a few examples of specific skills lined up in your head, take a breath, relax and smile, you will find that this will go much further for you than sounding like a robot.
5. Sign up for networks and free agencies
LinkedIn is a great source for finding new job opportunities, but it is something I have only found fairly recently. Since signing up, I have had multiple agencies contact me with jobs they think I may be interested in and many of those have been a perfect fit for me. I find that agencies are an absolute life saver when looking for work because they do most of the hard work for you. They find the roles, send off your CV, give you interview advice and really sell you to the employer, I once got a job through an agency that I didn’t even have to interview for! It is true however, that not all jobs can be accessed through agencies and so if you are looking for something specific you are going to have to put a bit more work in, but if you’re looking for maybe a temporary role to get your foot in the door then they are perfect.
That concludes my top 5 tips on how to ace your job application, these are all based off of my personal experience and so I cannot guarantee that utilising them will ensure you get every job you apply for. However, they are definitely good to help you get started and build a portfolio around you and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a DM to the MPT Society Instagram @uon_mptsoc where I will be more than willing to answer any of your questions.
By Rebecca Stevens
No comments yet, fill out a comment to be the first