Smarter accounting

What an employer is looking for

1 May 2018, Companies, Employer, General

How do I know what an employer is looking for?

When you apply for a job, you need to do your own research and work out what an employer is looking for.  You would hope that the employer has taken time to draw up the job description and other details of their business for the application pack.  You need to show that you have read all the information provided and customise your application to evidence this.

Ask yourself what an employer is looking for and what you are going to do to address their requirements.

Do your research

Most employers will have a website and social media presence.  Make sure you read everything that is relevant, this will help you work out what an employer is looking for in their employees.  You can gather vital information including the culture of the organisation and how they refer to themselves.  Many businesses will have a legal name but refer to themselves by their brand name.  If you reflect this in your communication, you will already show that you are a good fit.

If the company website includes details of their values, make sure you relate your application to them directly rather than referring to vague values and generic terms.

Get the basic details right

Some employers like to use application forms and others will request a CV and Covering Letter.  Make sure you comply with their instructions.  If you don’t follow instructions in the application process it doesn’t give the right impression.

Use the name of the company and make sure you get it right!  You should never recycle your covering letter or use the same template for every application.  If your application is to the wrong employer, you will likely be relegated to the bottom of the list.

Read the job description

You must assume that the employer has taken time and effort to describe the vacancy.  You need to show that you have taken time to read it.  List the elements in the job description and person specification and tick off the items that you feel you can evidence.  Make sure you structure your covering letter to highlight these strengths.

If anything is listed as required in the job description, make sure address these in your application.  For example, if the job requires advanced excel skills you are better using your covering letter and CV to include relevant information rather then focusing on experience that is not relevant.

Break the mould

If you use the same template for all your Covering Letters you are signalling to the recruiter that you have not taken the time to read the job description.  Your letter allows you to show that you have researched the company and that you are a good match with the job requirements.  You should also consider tailoring your CV for different jobs.  Although your qualifications will be the same, the way you present yourself should be tailored for different employers, especially where you are considering a career change.

Be professional

The recruitment process starts from your first contact with a potential employer.  You always need to be asking yourself what an employer is looking for.  Sending a professional looking CV and Covering Letter with a poorly typed email is not going to do you any favours.  The first impression the employer has is your initial email.  Make sure you refer to the vacancy and state that you are attaching documents.

The presentation of your CV and Covering Letter is crucially important.  You need to ensure that it is being viewed exactly as you intended.  For this reason I would recommend that you always send them as PDF files.

Be Truthful

A degree of confidence is helpful when applying for a job but restrain yourself from making unsubstantiated or inflated personal claims.  You should not include qualifications on your CV that you haven’t obtained yet.

You are not normally in the position to say that you are perfect for a job so leave it to the recruiter to make that judgement.  If you make any objective claims in your application make sure you can back them up.  You don’t need to list every single certificate you have ever received, but be prepared to bring anything that you do list to the interview.

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