Effective Job Applications


Resume Preparation

The person who is hired is not necessarily the person who can do the job, but the one who knows how to get hired.  Consequently it is essential to understand the relative importance of resumes to your job search campaign.

Resumes are another avenue for you to present yourself to a potential employer.  Your resume and cover letter can be your most important marketing tool because they are usually your first introduction to the person who is hiring. 

The purpose of a resume is to serve as a marketing tool that will assist you in getting to the interview.  Here are some things it will highlight:

  • Personal Details
  • Skills and Attributes – skills being the technical expertise you have, attributes are the personal skills you have at work ‘the reason people come to you and not others’
  • Education and Training
  • Professional Memberships (if any)
  • Work History
  • Referees


Use a chronological resume (where the last job is listed first in the Work History), unless it is more relevant to use earlier jobs that are more appropriate for the job applying for.  In this case it may be more important to list the first positions first.

Ensure your resume has clear headings that are in line, the wording is spaced out sufficiently, the text is in block with margins, and it is easy to read.  Use a plain, modern font style, such as Arial, in black with bold headings.  The font size should be set to 10, 11 or 12 and should be consistent throughout.  When printing, present on plain white paper.

Be succinct and limit your resume to 3 or 4 pages.  Less is better.  Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors.

TIP – Proof Read Your Resume

Have someone else proof read your resume before you send or submit it, it’s easy to miss things when you are subjective.


Resume Do Nots

  • Don’t include salary requirements, it limits your potential. You don’t want to over or under price yourself before the job is yours.
  • Do not state reasons for leaving employment. Leave this for the employer to find out during the interview.  Your resume should be positive.


TIP - Age Barrier Busters

Do not state your date of birth, do not mention dates in the education section of your resume, use the chronological format and only go back 10 years in your work history.  If previous jobs are relevant, use the heading ‘Previous’ instead of inserting dates.

Creating a Cover Letter and Addressing Selection Criteria

Like your resume your cover letter is an important marketing tool meant to attract potential employers to contact you and invite you to an interview.  Your cover letter is usually the first document read by the employer; consequently it is important you match the firm’s needs or criteria with your skills and strengths.

Firstly highlight or write down the criteria and use each of these as headings.  Next, under each heading or criterion enter your experience, skills and strengths to match.  Once you have done this think about actual examples of your experience.   You will then have all the information you need for compiling your cover letter.

Limit your cover letter to one or two pages at the most.  Use a modern font style such as Arial in 10, 11, or 12 point size in black.  When printing, present on plain white paper the same as your resume.

The first paragraph should start by saying you are applying for the position, state the position name and any reference numbers if given, and where and when you saw the advertisement.  The second and subsequent paragraphs will respond to the firm’s criteria, matching your experience and skills to these, and giving one short example for each. 

Use examples where you have achieved something, it could be large or small.  For example, it could be a project you have completed on your own or as part of a team.

You can end your cover letter with where and when you can be contacted during business and after hours, and your availability for an interview, or simply say that you look forward to hearing from the employer.

Effective Job Applications Workbook

Continue with Effective Job Applications by purchasing the full workbook on this topic. Learn more about Cover Letters using the STAR Method, and how to submit your application.  The workbook is packed with lots of tips, activities, templates and samples to help you improve your job applications. Sharpen your job application skills further by engaging your own private Coach.  Contact us!  In its original state the workbook can be used by facilitators for short workshop presentations.

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