AAU Career

Application

The job application can be difficult to get started with:

  • There has to be the right balance between talking about yourself and the company
  • It requires a certain amount of preprocessing before you can start writing
  • And the text should like to hit the right "freshness" - all depending on the recipient you don't necessarily know, of course.

But it is a learning process and practice makes master. Of course, you may be lucky to hit right at the right time, but otherwise it is a good idea to practice writing applications - because that is a genre in itself.

Let's take a look at what an application should and can include, how it can be structured and a few elements that are good to avoid.

The application – solicited and unsolicited

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    How do I get started with the application?

    Research eases your job.

    Like all (good) texts, an application must communicate something to someone in the right way. However, "right" is indeed a relative term that can be difficult to define in the given situation. Therefore, some work needs to be done before the writing can begin.

    In addition to the research section, you should consider the purpose of the content your application:

    • What kind of profile would you like to come across as?
    • What abilities would you like to showcase?

    An application is often accompanied by a CV that supports the content of the application.

    When that is the case, it’s important to ensure consistency:

    • Do you use the points from the CV in your application?
    • Is it evident in your resume, where you have gotten the skills that you highlighted in your application from?
    • What relevance criteria have you set for what you have included in your CV?

    The unsolicited application features an extra function, namely it wants to make the company aware of the need for a new employee. It is not diametrically different from the application that refers to a job listing, but you have to start from scratch rather than with the knowledge, you have from the job posting.

    When the preparatory work is done, you have come a long way. The next step is the communication.

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    What should my application convey?

    In this section, you’ll find some good pieces of advice and some examples of what your application should convey to the reader:

    • That you know what the company is doing and that you are curious about their field.
    • What your motivation for working exactly in that particular company is.
    • Talk about the company from their perspective.
    • Don't focus on what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company.
    • How will it benefit the company if they hire you?
    • "Show it, don’t tell it! "If you want the recipient to know that you are good at analysing, analyse well. If you want to communicate that you’re good at communicating, then communicate well.
    • Use examples to make your experiences relevant and "alive". Too general descriptions of what you can and will do, does not leave a clear image in the mind of the reader. Descriptions of you “as a person” can seem very trivial without examples.
    • "Be unique" or "stand out" is easy to say and difficult to practice. What is it that you need to separate yourself from? Obviously, you cannot know this without having read all the other applicants' applications, and the company has no idea either, until they’ve read through everything.
    • Therefore, rely on your own abilities and skillset and clarify why you are a great match for the company. And if you have some peculiar and well thought out idea for ​​how to stand out from the crowd, why not try it out?
    • Write as yourself. If you are not someone who cracks jokes, do not pretend to be. If, on the other hand, you are a jester, then throw a small quip or witty remark into the application - if your research tells you it may be appropriate.
    • The point is; if the reader of your application cannot "recognise" you at the job interview, something is wrong. It is not a very desirable position to be invited to a job interview on the basis of “acting” like someone you are not.
       

    RECOMMENDATIONS ON FORM OF THE APPLICATION

    • The application must not be longer than one page
    • An application should have a catchy and accurate headline
    • Preferably, divide into several sections with associated subheadings that make it easy for the reader to make an overview
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    How about the form?

    • The application should be 1 page max
    • An application should have a catchy and telling headline
    • Divide into several sections with small headings so that it is easy for the reader to form an overview
       
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    How can I adjust my communication?

    Also, don't forget to focus on your communication.

    Depending on the company's own language, it may be a good idea to turn down the academic language and avoid excessive sentences.

    Do not be overly polite with "Mr." and "Mrs." or phrases like "I hereby apply for the position ...", because it creates distance to the recipient.

    Use language and phrases you find natural to use and which reflect your way of being - and the company's way of communicating - such as humor or metaphors.
     

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    How can I should them how I can be of value to them?

    In your application you must show your great interest in the company, the tasks or the industry. In other words, your application must be motivated so that the recipient has no doubt why this is exactly the job you are applying for.

    You must write yourself into the job so that it is clear to the reader how you can, with your background, add value to the company. Be specific about the job posting, and write something about how you envision yourself approaching the tasks and solving them. It is difficult, but you win points making the attempt.
     

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    How can I make a video application?

    There is not one right way to apply. In some places you may be asked to submit something other than a written application.

    For example, the video application has become more and more popular. There are several guides available online for the technical part of a video application; e.g. concerning sound and light - use them if applicable.

    You can also send a video to the recipient, even if they did not request it. Maybe you better show what you can and who you are if you are allowed to say it instead of writing it?

    In terms of content, do not think that the message should be significantly different from written material.

    The form of communication and thus the possibilities are different, and if it is something you find natural to do, you should take advantage of it. It may be easier to have a twinkle in your eye and "be unique" on a video if you are comfortable in the situation, but if you are not, the effect may be the opposite. Take the edge of the awkwardness of the situation by recording yourself sometimes and get used to seeing and hearing yourself speak and preparing yourself well - well in advance.

     

    Think about these things when making a video application:

    • Get into the tech so it looks as good as possible and sounds as good as possible.
    • Make a screenplay where you set the frame for the video; how long should it be, what themes would you like to discuss?
    • Make a manuscript - or at least some clues that helps you speak naturally.
    • If you are following your manuscript, please do not read it. Learn it by heart instead.

    Keep the video professional and also be aware that there should be nothing that steals focus from you as an applicant and the message you want through - such as a messy background.

    Remember that just like a regular written application, your video must also be tailored to the specific job you are applying for.
     

Divide your application into bits

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    How can I divide my application into eatable bites?

    To structure the writing, it’s a good idea to divide the application into separate parts. We work with a three-part application where you start from the company's perspective and gradually include your own perspective. The parts don’t necessarily take up equal amounts of space, and there may well be parts that overlap. See it as a rule of thumb.

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    The "you" part - what do I include?

    The first part can be viewed as a "you"-part.

    This is the beginning of your application and this is where you relate to the company and give your perspective on the reality of the company.

    In the you-part, you should take into consideration questions such as:

    • "What do you see as important challenges for the company?"
    • "What does the ‘landscape’ around the company look like?"
    • "What is your motivation for working within this particular area in this field and this company?”

    Be sure to make it clear that this particular application is written for this particular recipient, and that the perspectives you provide show an understanding of the company's situation and conditions in the "market". In this context, the "market" may also refer to the political decisions that are made in and around public organisations.

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    The "we" part - what do I include?

    Part two we call the “we”- part.

    This is where your set of skills is merged with the company's needs. Make it as clear as possible how and what skills you will make use of in the position. Make as little room for interpretation as possible, as it will help you get your message across as intended.

    Answer the questions:

    • "What will happen if you get hired?"
    • "How will you solve the tasks?"
    • "What value can you contribute with?"
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    The "I" part - what do I include?

    The last part of the application is the "I"-part.

    This is where you tell about yourself. Maybe you have some personal skills that you would like to emphasise, or maybe you want the reader to get some information that might be a little outside of what you have been able to explain in the other parts. Remember to think about why it is a good piece of information for the reader – if you can’t find a reason, you might consider leaving it out.

    When describing yourself and your skill set, it’s is important that you attach some examples or stories. Chances are that the recruiters will see many roughly identical stories in their pile of applications. Therefore, you have to make sure that your examples stand out. For example, it is easy to claim that you are "structured" -  but how can you show it in the application? You can do this by providing an accurate picture of how you are structured and in what situations.

    Questions to keep in mind when writing the I-section:

    • "How am I as a colleague?"
    • "How do I prefer to work?"
    • "What should the reader know about me, which may be a bit off topic?"

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