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Career Advice

How to Create Top Application Documents for Your First Job After Graduation

When you’ve just graduated from university or completed other studies and are ready to find your first main, full-time job, it can be quite daunting trying to work out how best to go about applying for roles. With no doubt, there’s a lot of competition to go up against, and it’s vital to take the time to do your research so that you put together a resume and cover letter that really stands out from the rest. Read on for some key tips you can follow today to create top applications documents for your first job after graduation.

Understand the Best Way to Structure Documents

For starters, don’t go submitting applications before understanding some of the steps that need to be taken to set up documents in the right way, particularly your resume. For example, because most recruiters tend to have dozens, or sometimes even hundreds, of CVs to get through in a day, they don’t have much time to spend on each one. As a result, the best resumes are those which are easily scannable for readers and which shows within around half a minute that you’re suited for the job.

As you compile your resume, make sure you put the most important details at the start, so that this is the first thing hiring managers see. You also need to break down your CV into various sections, all with relevant sub-headings. You may start with a Profile, Summary, or Career Objective module, for instance, and then move on to things like your career history, education, training, and references. Break up large chunks of text with bullet points too.

When designing an effective resume, don’t try to cram too much onto a page. It is important to have quite a bit of white space (i.e. free areas) throughout so that the document doesn’t seem too cluttered and hard to read. In addition, don’t forget to use a common, clear font in a large-enough size that people can read it without squinting.

Research the Business and Role and Tailor Your Application

Next, before you sit down to write your CV, research the business you want to work for, and get as much information on the role you’re applying for as possible. While you will likely create a template resume and cover letter that you use as the basis for each job application, it is also important to tailor your documents for each role.

When you take the time to get as much data as possible on the company and position, this makes it easier to tweak your documents to make them more relevant, and to help you stand out from the crowd. Many people don’t bother to do this, and recruiters can tell when they’re receiving documents which have been written generically.

Your resume and cover letter need to straight away show hiring managers you have the specific skills, education, and experience they’re looking for. Read over the job ad carefully to ensure each requirement mentioned is covered to at least some degree in your documents.

For example, if the advertisement mentions having a business degree or related qualification for the role, note the on-campus or online accredited MBA programs you have completed, as well as some of the specific things you learned, or results you achieved, during your studies that relate to the position. It is always best to clearly tie in your skills, experience, qualifications, and training to those needed for a role, rather than hoping a recruiter will make the connection for themselves.

When writing your resume and cover letter it also helps to use some of the same keywords as those found in the ad, particularly if the recruiters are using HR software which sorts through applications by looking for set words and phrases. Don’t forget to include the right number of referees too, as per the details noted in the job ad.

Check for Typos and Other Errors

Lastly, as much as you might read over your CV and cover letter time after time before you submit them, it is likely you will miss seeing typos and other errors simply because you don’t have fresh eyes. As a result, it pays to get at least one person, if not more, to read over your documents before you send them in. Other people will likely be able to quickly spot simple typos, grammatical, spelling errors, formatting issues, and even things such as sentences or information not quite making sense.


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