Have you ever found a few jobs that interest you on the same day and decided to use the same cover letter and resume for them all to save time? If you have, you are not alone. Creating applications for multiple jobs can be time consuming but there are ways to make it quicker and easier.
Step 1 - Create your cheat sheet
Getting your cheat sheet started will take some time but persevere! Once it is done, it can save you hours. What is your cheat sheet? It is a document separate from your resume and cover letter that contains examples of what you have done in the past.
To get started, list out all of the criteria you can think of that the types of roles you are applying for have (also list other skills and experiences that you have that the roles may not ask for). Common criteria can include:
Once you have your list, start writing examples of what you have done in the past that relates to that criteria. Be achievement focused. Using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) response as you would in an interview is a great way to approach this task, you may need to shorten the examples for a resume but when it comes to interview time, you have a list of relevant stories you can practice and tell! When you are writing your examples, make sure you note what role that experience comes from so you can easily insert these into the correct places in your resume.
Step 2 - Find the jobs that you want to apply for
Once you have identified the roles you wish to lodge an application for, take the time to understand the criteria. If it isn't clear from the advertisement, reach out to a hiring manager to find out more, look at similar roles and make sure you research the company.
Step 3 - Write your cover letter
Be professional but let some of your personality shine through. Steer clear of subjective statements (link) and use your examples from your cheat sheet because the purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself as a candidate and address the essential and desirable criteria of the role. A general template of a cover letter is:
Job reference, if applicable
Salutation (Dear Mr/ Ms/ Sir/ Madam)
Opening Paragraph: Introduce yourself and why you are writing. Concisely outline your current career and any special professional interests and abilities.
Paragraphs 2-5: In these paragraphs you will state why you want to work for this employer and address the essential and desirable criteria. Include other skills and expertise that you have that you feel is relevant to the role. Briefly outline your current and past studies, finishing dates and any outstanding academic results. Show your enthusiasm for the role and the employer; demonstrate that you have researched the opportunity and the company without copying sentences from the website.
Closing paragraph: Confirm that you have enclosed your resume (and any other documents) Thank the employer for their time and express your interest in attending an interview, finish on a positive note.
Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, Kind regards,
Step 4 - Customise Your Resume
Before hitting submit on your application, open up your resume, use your cheat sheet to insert 1 or 2 of the most relevant achievement examples under each of your roles. A hiring manager will not spend a lot of time reviewing your resume before deciding if it is worth further consideration so these examples will help tell them what you can achieve for their company and grab their attention.
Step 5 - Submit Your Application
You should now have a winning application ready to send. When you do, keep a record of it with notes from your research to refer back to later if needed. Also set a reminder for a follow up date in your calendar if you haven't heard back.
A final note: If you are relying solely on applying for jobs online, you may be in for a lengthy search. It is undoubtedly the most common search method and therefore has the highest competition. I recommend including a proactive search through networking and cold calling. If you would like to find out more about these methods, feel free to get in touch.
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