Persistence, research, and some more persistence! ‘How do I apply?’ ‘What are they looking for?’ ‘How do I get them interested in me? The key to success is perseverance and learning as much as possible about the company or industry you are targeting – not only will this approach help get you noticed, it will help you get hired – companies actively look for people who have ambition and want to learn.
So where do I start?
This will of course largely depend on the job you are targeting. If the employer is advertising a position then simply reply with your CV and cover letter. If there is no contact address, always begin with a phone call (this gives you a chance to gain an edge on other applicants; find out exactly what the company are looking for, who you should address your application to, what you might do to improve your chances).
In some cases, you may be required to complete an online application. This is relatively self-explanatory so we won’t dwell too much but a good exercise is to use your CV to ensure you cram as much as possible into the form and always support your answers with evidence (‘I am a team player because’¦’, ‘My role as cashier demonstrates that…’).
Other companies are much less formal. Often restaurants and bars will require you to drop by in person for an informal chat (these companies are much more concerned with finding someone who is presentable, friendly and outgoing rather than finding out where they went to school). When meeting an employer, make sure that you are presentable and have all of the information they may ask of you, ‘do you have any relevant training?‘, ‘ When are you available? Do you have any holidays booked in the next 6 months?’. Its a good idea to take a couple of copies of your CV along to the meeting.
In cases where there is no vacancy advertised you will need to cold call. This may seem daunting at first but just bear in mind that the only people you’ll actually have to meet in person are the one’s that want to meet you (rejection is just part of the process, smile and move on).
The follow up…
Follow up all job applications with a phone call or email (if nothing else, it shows that you care and gives you a chance to gain valuable feedback, good or bad!).