I’ve reviewed a few job applications recently and have found myself saying the same thing to all of the students ‘why are you applying for this job? Why do you want to work for this company?’ Liz mentioned in her recent blog the importance of researching employers when applying for a job and I can’t stress enough how vital this is. Employers want to know you are interested in them and they need to see this in your application. They want to know that you’re not just applying because you need the money (which is another blog post in itself).
It’s so important that employers themselves are telling us this:
Understanding of what our company does better than our competitors
Being more clued in about the line of service they have applied for and why they are interested
Read our website and know more about what we do and why. Be able to explain why you want to work for us
More knowledge on the firm, commercial awareness etc.
Right, so we’ve established you need to talk about why you want the job but how do you do this research?
- Firstly, check out the job description. Some are more useful than others but they can often be a good starting point for gaining some insight into the company or the team that you would be working with.
- Go to their website. Who are they? What do they do? Who are their clients? Their competitors? What are their products? A lot of companies also have their annual reports on their website. What are they writing about? Reporting on?
- Do they use social media ? If so what are they tweeting, blogging, face booking about?
- Have you met anyone who works there? If so where did you met them? e.g. employer presentation, careers expo, through a friend.
These are just some methods to find about more about the organisation and the job.
You then need to identify something that peaks your interest or something you can connect with so you can write about it in your application (and if you don’t find something then you need to seriously ask yourself why you are applying in the first place!).
Where do you write about it? A cover letter is a great place to do this. It’s a chance to be more personal and really ‘speak’ to the employer.
Finally, what do you say? It doesn’t have to be long but you do need to be specific and not only say what appeals to you about the organisation or job but WHY it appeals to you. For example, “I see from your website/annual report/recent blog (etc) that your organisation values X and I really admire that because……..” or “I had the pleasure of meeting your colleague Ms. X at the recent Victoria University careers expo and was excited to hear that the role would give me the opportunity to demonstrate X and Y which I know that you look for” or “I enjoy being able to demonstrate X and Y and having read your recent article on X I know that you look to hire people with a similar attitude”.
The Guardian put out a good article about this topic a few months ago so have a read of their advice here.
Don’t forget we have our daily drop in times for getting your job application checked.