Are you a student looking for a job and don’t even know where to start with your job applications? Don’t worry, I’m sure you’re not the only one. The truth is that at first, it can be quite a challenge: starting to prepare your CV, having to write a cover letter (which you never knew existed, by the way)… It could be catastrophic. However, even if you don’t have a lot of work experience – which is most likely the case; if you learn about how to make good job applications, you’ll realise that it’s not as complicated as it seems.
To make your job applications look good, you will have to work hard to get into the mindset of the person who is going to hire you. Wait, can anyone read minds? No, but it’s true that some recruiters have already revealed the main characteristics they usually look for in a good candidate. Being a student with little experience, I’m sure you’re eager to know what we’re talking about. Grab a cup of coffee and continue reading this student application guide, this is just the beginning!
Dear CV: how important you are, and how difficult it is to decide what information to fill in! It is well known that a CV is the most important document, the first thing that the person who reviews your job application sees about you. It provides a first impression, gives clues about
your personality and gives ideas about what kind of worker you are… With the CV, you bet all your cards.
However, in a CV, it’s not just the work experience that counts, although there’s often that confusion. If you’re a student entering the world of work for the first time, then it’s normal to feel pressure and insecurity when comparing yourself to others already in the field. But don’t panic! In fact, if you’re a recent graduate or undergraduate, you’ll most likely apply for a junior-level position. So your previous work experiences aren’t the only thing you need to focus on.
Did you know that it is crucial to have a skills section on your CV? In addition to including the skills that you have gained from your studies and certificates, it is also crucial that you mention your soft skills. These give the recruiter an idea about your personality and motivations, and also shows how you could grow professionally within the company. Sometimes this says more about you than any simple previous work experience.
Soft skills are gained through extracurricular activities as well as volunteer programs. Make sure to mention any that you feel you have acquired in your personal life. They don’t specifically have to relate to your educational career, they simply give you an idea of how (besides knowledge) you could bring something special to the company.
Achievements and hobbies
If you do not have much previous work experience, then you will also be interested in excelling in your achievement and hobbies section. Perhaps you have played tennis professionally? Or do you have a certificate in an important language that will help you in your job? This kind of thing also helps the recruiter get a sense of what kind of person you are, and shows that you have other aspirations than just making money.
These are just two of the most important sections to include if you are a student applying for a job, but there are many more! You can always continue to look at sample CVs for inspiration and learn more about how to make a good CV.
While the CV is crucial in student job applications, the cover letter is no less significant! When a recruiter is undecided about which candidate to continue the selection process, then this document takes on even more importance and can make a difference. This is because it gives an overview of your real motivation for the position, and really shows whether you have made an effort to be considered at all.
To write a good cover letter it is super important that you do a little research on the company and its values, and that you keep them in mind when writing it. You should also be careful to make it specific to the type of position that you’re applying for. It’s no use talking about your dog-walking experience if you’re going to work as an engineer. Unless you mention how it has helped you with time management… Get creative in making it relevant! This is much appreciated when you haven’t had many other previous positions.
Yes, if you’ve caught the attention of the recruiter, then he’ll most likely search for your social media profiles. Once they have an idea about what kind of person you are based on your CV and cover letter, it is quite common that they want to verify that they have the right impression. Make sure you do a good job of cleaning up your profile if you have it in public view and get rid of any posts that might offend, or give the wrong impression of who you are. In the end, if you are hired, you will represent the company in one way or another!
Another great way to look professional is to have a LinkedIn profile. It’s actually like having a small CV on the web; but it can add to the impression you make on recruiters if you create industry-related posts, for example. In addition, LinkedIn has many other professional benefits that can be useful for your future: you can create your own network of contacts, demonstrate your skills with their online tests… It is 100% recommended, whether you are looking for a job or not!
If you have followed all of these tips, and have been well informed about job applications, then it is likely that you will be contacted for a job interview at a later date. It is most likely to take place online if you don’t live in the area, so make sure to be professional on the video call! If, on the other hand, you haven’t been lucky enough to get a call, don’t worry. There are
plenty of fish in the sea, and just because you’re not contacted doesn’t mean you’re not worth it. Sometimes, the key is to be consistent and continue applying for other positions. Either way, never forget to make each of your job applications unique!