When I think back to second-year, when I was frantically applying for every single actuarial placement I could find (which, let’s face it, isn’t very many…so was supplemented with analyst jobs too), I know I’d have loved honest, down-to-earth advice about applications from a student perspective. So that’s exactly what I’m doing!
Yes, you are probably going to want to make a few small changes to your CV for each job you apply for, but having the majority of it done, up-to-date and ready puts away a big chunk of work.
Certain questions come up in most applications, often worded slightly differently, often banded under ‘competency questions.’ Getting these right is crucial to doing well in job applications (I’ll be doing a dedicated post in a few weeks). Whilst the questions always cover the same skills, you’ll probably need to tailor response specifically – but having base answers can save so much time. What you did, how you handled it, the result.
Don’t Rush & Check Through
Obviously there are occasions where you might be up against a tight timeline (I remember once forgetting to apply for a job until the closing date – though I did end up being offered it!). For the most part, however, try and complete applications slowly and thoroughly. Rushing can mean silly mistakes.
Spell check even simple things like your address. I would advise never using auto-fill for a job application as it can occasionally fill the information into the wrong box – now is not the time for that kind of mistake!
Research & Make Notes
Make sure you do your research on the company, it’s values and (most importantly) the role. You’ll want to tailor your CV to the job so this is crucial – and I’m pretty sure this is the main reason why I’ve had success in job applications so far.
When I apply for any job I make notes on the company and the role. I also document the application date, details about the process and closing date – then I’ll have a rough idea when I might expect to hear back.
No two job applications should be the same, you need to hint at the company, at its values, drop subtle notifications that you meet that specific job specification. This is especially important if you’re applying for a whole host of slightly different jobs (i.e marketing vs advertising roles) as your application won’t seem generic.
What are your tips for job applications?