Student Career Management

Your task in completing an application form is to convince the recruiter that you are the ideal candidate for the vacancy. This is a very important point. Once you have recognised this, you will ensure that the application form is completed to the highest possible standard and to the best of your ability.

Recruiters receive many applications for every post and are constantly looking for reasons to reject applications, especially in the initial screening process, known as pre-selection.

Your first objective therefore is to overcome this hurdle in order to be invited for interview.

Half-hearted applications are generally easy to spot and weed out. As a rule, therefore, only those applications into which you are prepared to invest time and commitment are worth pursuing. There is usually only one opportunity to apply for a particular vacancy. A successful applicant will have assessed the main requirements of the post and tailored the application to reflect these requirements.

Most recruiters draw up a list of criteria that they use for evaluating each application. A frequently used approach is to develop a profile of the likely successful candidate, based around six broad criteria.

  1. Personality and character
  2. Success to date – e.g. exams, work experience
  3. Intellectual ability
  4. Employability skills and competencies
  5. Hobbies and leisure pursuits
  6. Personal attributes i.e. assertiveness, self-confidence etc.

This profile has three purposes:

  • To draw a picture of what the recruiting organisation sees as a successful candidate so that the appropriate advertisement can be placed requesting applications from the individuals matching the profile
  • To be used in the pre-selection stage to screen the applications
  • To be used in the interview to determine whether or not the applications match the desired profile.

Thus, before completing the application form you must ‘read between the lines’ of the advertised vacancy and draw a profile of the applicant that you think the recruiter in looking for. The next step is to determine whether you match the recruiter’s desire profile. If you think that your profile is a good match then complete the application form Should you meet some but not all the desired criteria you should still apply as it is highly unlikely that the exact match candidate actually exists. It is quite common for successful candidates to have less than 70% of the desired skills and competencies.