Applying for jobs

Applying for jobs is a skill that you can learn.

Applying for jobs

Resumes and CVsWork desk job search

A resume or a CV (curriculum vitae) is an essential tool to have when applying for a job.

The purpose of your resume/CV is to:

  • Tell your story
  • Advertise yourself
  • Showcase your results
  • Get you the job interview.

Some job advertisements will tell you how long your resume should be. However, if there are set requirements, keep in mind that recruiters spend only an average of 6 seconds looking at your resume.

Your resume should not contain private information such as images, marital status, age and religious beliefs.

Check out this ‘Business Insider’ clip on what not to include in your resume.

Visit Job Jumpstart for more tips and information on how to build a great resume.


Tailor your application

A job advertisement will provide instructions on how to apply for the position. Most will require a resume/CV and a cover letter and/or statement. This should address your suitability for the role, based on the selection criteria in the advertisement or the position description.

The selection criteria refer to the skills, qualifications, experience and knowledge required to perform the job.

Sometimes a job advertisement will contain a list of desirable selection criteria. This means that you don’t have to possess those skills and knowledge to perform the job, but it would be an advantage if you do.


Cover letter

Your prospective employer will read your cover letter before they read your resume. The cover letter should explain clearly how you match the position you are applying for, and make them want to read your resume. It will also illustrate your written communication skills.


Proofread your application

Make sure you proofread your resume/CV and application letter for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Also, ask a friend, family member or mentor to read over it before you send your application.