The focus in the application should be on what you can do for the company in which you are applying for a job. In the application, you can elaborate on the experiences you have listed and explained in your CV.
As with the CV, it is crucial not to take any knowledge for granted. Make sure that your competences are put into context. Otherwise, the reader will have to translate your skills, merits and education into their company’s vision and operation – a task that requires time and knowledge. Both of which they might not have.
Despite the very personal genre of the application, there are some basic guidelines to follow:
- Remember to talk about yourself - but as an asset for the company.
- It might be a help to think of the application as having three parts, the ‘you’, ‘we’, and ‘I’ parts.
‘YOU’ is about the company. It is written to them and includes what motivates you to work just there.
‘WE’ is about you and the company. This part contains the future perspective of what you can do for the company and how some of your concrete experiences will be put into play if you get the job.
‘I’ is about you and contextualizes some of the personal competences and – if you find it suiting – a small presentation of some more personal details such as hobbies and spare time activities. Just remember to weigh your words as the details should be part of the narrative of the application and not stand out as a sore thumb.
- The application is a good opportunity to show your writing style, analytical flair, and to back up some of your claimed competences. E.g., relevant points in your application will intrinsically show your analytical skills as they are the product of a good understanding of the job ad, and a good sense of humor is easy to state but hard to pull off in writing.
- Research, research, research…
Always remember that the CV and application are the tip of the iceberg. The remaining, invisible 90% are your reflections on what you want to do, sorting out what you can do, and, of course, many other things that has an impact on who you are and what you do.