For most jobs, you need to write an application, whether you’re sending a solicited or an unsolicited application. Many of the same things apply to both types of applications. Arts Karriere has gathered some tips on how to write an application.
Your job application is your opportunity to arouse the employer’s interest. It’s a matter of making the employer curious about who you are so that you can be invited to an interview.
Remember: Make sure that your name, address, phone number and email are visible on your CV and application so that the employer can easily get in contact with you. Read the application thoroughly and send it in good time.
CREATE A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP
- Write your application in plain, everyday language and focus on the communication. Try to avoid clichés and slang expressions, and write in a way that feels natural to you. Try not to sound academic, and avoid long sentences and a high readability index. Don’t be over-polite with phrases such as “I am hereby sending an application for the position”, because it creates a certain distance to the recipient.
- Instead, you can use humour and metaphors as this helps build a positive relationship. That’s what it’s all about!
- Your application should catch the reader’s attention and make it clear to the reader that you understand the company’s needs. In addition, your application should be brief – we recommend one page maximum. Insert spaces between the sections and choose type size 12.
TARGET YOUR APPLICATION
- Standard applications which have obviously been sent to many different companies will not capture the interest of the recipient. Be sure to read the job ad carefully so that you can target your application in the best possible way. It might also be a good idea to do some research on the company. For example, you can check out their website or LinkedIn profile.
- In many cases, it may be a really good idea to call the company to ask detailed questions. You can, for example, ask about the tasks mentioned in the job ad. How should they be prioritised? You can also ask about the company’s strategy and organisation. However, you should only call if you have relevant questions. Don’t call just to draw attention to yourself. You need to show that you’re focused. If not, it might annoy even the nicest employer.
- Also make sure that you meet the application requirements so that you don’t waste your own or the company’s time.
- It must be clear in your application that you’re very interested in the company, the work assignments or the industry. In other words, your application must be motivated and targeted so that there is no doubt in the recipient’s mind that you want this particular job.
SHOW HOW YOU CAN CREATE VALUE
- When you’re applying for the position, it’s important that you present your motivation for applying and that you describe your competences. Of course, you shouldn’t oversell yourself, but you should be positive and forward-looking in your application. It must be very clear to the recipient how you can contribute to the company and how they can benefit from having you as an employee. You may want to spend some time explaining how you with your particular background can create value.
- You can also write something about how you intend to approach the tasks and solve them – it’s difficult, but it will be appreciated if you try. This way you show your interest in creating value for the Company.
Apparently, almost 80 per cent of all jobs in the private sector are never advertised. That’s why it’s worthwhile to send unsolicited job applications, even though they are more time-consuming.
When you write an unsolicited application, many of the same rules apply as for solicited job applications.
TARGET YOUR APPLICATION AT A COMPANY OR INDUSTRY
- There are two ways to send an unsolicited application. You can either target your application at a specific company, which requires a good deal of research. Or you can target your application at a specific industry and send the same application to several companies.
- The disadvantage of sending an industry-oriented application is that it can be difficult for the individual company to see exactly how you can be of use to them. Here it’s very important to consider what you can do and what you want. It’s primarily in the private sector that positions are not advertised. However, there are examples of temporary positions in the public sector that are not advertised. But generally there are rules stating that public-sector positions must be advertised.
DO PLENTY OF RESEARCH
- When you send an unsolicited application, it’s very important that you show that you have knowledge about the company. It’s therefore recommended that you use your network – friends, family or connections on LinkedIn – to form an impression of the company, and that you ask them for advice and information.
- You can also keep up-to-date on companies by reading the business sections in newspapers, or you can do extensive research on the company.
- When you send your application, you should also use this knowledge to make sure that the right person receives your application. The recipient should preferably be someone with managerial responsibility or with the authority to make decisions on recruitment.
BE DETERMINED AND PERSISTENT
- First, you should find something special that you can offer the company. Remember that you shouldn’t beg for a job; you’re applying because you have resources to offer the company. You might present good ideas regarding the company. Perhaps you have heard about a project they’re working on and to which you know you can contribute. Or perhaps you have simply read an article about the company in the newspaper and think your profile matches the company. Be forward-looking and visionary. The boss or departmental manager should be able to say: “Hey, here’s someone who is exactly what I’m looking for or someone I might need some day.”
- You need to present arguments for your relevant competences and for why they match the company. These can, of course, be your professional qualifications, where you describe the fields of work for which you’re qualified. But because you don’t know what specific position you’re applying for, you can increase the focus on your personal qualifications.
- Make sure that you’re clear and concise so that the reader knows exactly why you’re writing. Consider whether you want to write an actual application or whether you just want to write an email and attach your CV.
- Conclude your application by saying that you will contact them next week to follow up on your application. That way you have a legitimate reason to call and talk to the recipient of your application. Don’t leave messages with a secretary, but rather find out when the manager or the HR officer will be in. Don’t expect them to call you back, so keep calling until you get through. The ball is in your court.
- Prepare some questions about the company and about a possible position. Start by asking if they have read your email. If they haven’t read it, then summarise it. Set the stage for a personal interview. If they reject you outright, you might ask what they would do if they were in your shoes and really wanted to work in that particular line of business – is there something you could have done differently in your application? Maybe they know someone in the business who needs a person with your qualifications.
Sending unsolicited applications is time-consuming as it requires a good deal of research. And you also have to prepare yourself for a lot of rejections. But it’s often worth it – it only takes one application to get lucky and find a company with the right needs.