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Career Advice

Job Applications – the details matter

Closing time and date
In most job advertisements, the employer will clearly stipulate the date by which all applications must be received. It generally does not matter how good your application is if it is received after the deadline. HR departments stipulate a date and on occasion even a time for a reason – that is their cut off point, so don’t deviate from it.
If you are posting your application and are unsure if it will reach the employer in time, best not to leave it to the standard post, even if first class. To ensure it gets there on time, you can ask Royal Mail about their Special Delivery option where items posted are guaranteed to be delivered the next day. Don’t leave things to chance.

Grades and Dates
When completing your form, be extremely thorough in checking that you have accurately declared any dates on the form – be they dates that qualifications were obtained or dates of employment – i.e. your job history. If the job criteria stipulates that you must have achieved certain grades, don’t make any errors on this count either. Making basic errors like this could potentially prevent you getting shortlisted for interview – even if you do actually meet the criteria for the post. After all, the employer will only shortlist based on what you declare – there are no second chances.

Spelling and grammar
Many of us these days get quite lazy and completely reliant on spell checkers, with the result that when we are faced with writing manually, as may be the case with an application form, we are less observant with regards to spelling mistakes. If you are not that confident about your spelling ability, the best thing to do is to write your answers in MS Word first and have any errors identified and corrected. You can then either copy the answers directly if completing the form manually or else simply cut and paste into the required sections of the form. Have someone else look over it also to see if they can suggest any amendments or grammatical improvements.

For some of you, these may seem very basic tips and are just a matter of common sense perhaps; however having worked in HR and having been responsible for vetting thousands of application forms, I know only too well that the little things like this… the details can become the big things by preventing your progression in the recruitment process.

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