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December 5, 2020

The do’s and don’ts of applying to companies

Are you looking to start your first job, or take on a new challenge? Applying for jobs can be stressful, even for people with lots of work experience. So what can you do to get that coveted position in the bag? How can you make sure your CV doesn’t land in the bin? myLIFE shares advice for a successful job search and the most important do’s and don’ts.

If you want your application to a big company to be successful, there are certain habits you’ll have to develop. Let’s start with the do’s:

DO keep your CV up to date

Your CV is often the thing that makes your first impression on HR recruiters. In addition to your education, your curriculum vitae should highlight your professional experience and special skills, like foreign languages for instance. Be sure to update it to reflect the current state of affairs, and make it as comprehensive as possible.

Your CV is just one in a sea of others, and recruiters will only skim it quickly. To make it stand out, use a clear and well structured design that is visually appealing. Just like you, the ideal format for your CV is always evolving, and it should be transferable to new media platforms like LinkedIn. Try to make it original, and as concise as you can.

DO target the right companies

Some people incorrectly believe that the more applications you send out, the more responses you’ll get. When looking for a job, it’s better to select employers that interest you and that are likely to be hiring people with your profile, or that need your skills. It’s sure to make you even more motivated. Don’t forget to check the websites of your favourite companies regularly.

DO use job search platforms

Job search sites mean you can quickly get an overview of the current employment offers in Luxembourg. They might be categorised by sector, position or company. Stay proactive in your search by setting up job alerts so you’ll know when something comes along that matches your specifications. Register as a job-seeker with the unemployment office ADEM to access job offers through them, too.

DO read up on the position

Once you have a position in mind, take the time to read the job description carefully and learn about the company. Before you apply, it’s important to ensure that you match the recruiter’s requirements and share the company values. And make sure that for each application, you write the correct job title on your documents! It would be a shame for a silly mistake like that to put you out of the running.

DO adapt your cover letter

When writing your cover letter, stack the odds in your favour by changing the content to suit the position and company in question. A customised cover letter explaining why you match the job description will have a better chance of being read through than a boilerplate letter of motivation. A small amount of extra effort can yield big results. Don’t hesitate to end your letter by addressing the reader directly and making them want to grant you an interview.

DO send spontaneous applications

So you haven’t yet found a job offer that suits you? Don’t sit around waiting for one to materialise. Sometimes, you have to give luck a hand – by sending a spontaneous application! Some companies appreciate this, and will keep your CV on file for when a position opens. This type of application is often a good way to start a dialogue or initiate contact. Once again, professional social networks like LinkedIn can be a big help.

DO attend job fairs

Be proactive! Job fairs are the perfect occasion to meet multiple recruiters in one place. Take advantage of these ‘speed meetings’ to introduce yourself and demonstrate your interest in the company. The key is to stand out from all the other candidates! That means you’ll need to come prepared. There are lots of job fairs in Luxembourg hosted by organisations like Unicareers.lu, Moovijob and RTL.

There are also certain things you shouldn’t do if you want recruiters to consider your application (the “don’ts”). Here are a few of them:

DON’T fabricate

It may be tempting to ‘pad out’ your CV, especially if you’re a new graduate, but lying about your skills or past experience is never a good idea. Recruiters will (almost) always find out. If you lack experience, highlight your motivation and desire to learn. It’s better to sell yourself as a capable candidate hungry for opportunity than to try and build your career on a lie.

DON’T skip revision

If your CV and cover letter are full of typos, your application will probably go straight in the bin. Bad spelling or a shaky writing style will not be appreciated, and may even stop recruiters from reading further. If you don’t want to miss out on the position of a lifetime, have your application proofread by someone who knows what they’re doing.

DON’T appear immature

If you want to get the job, your CV has to be impressive and professional at the same time. You want them to take you seriously, don’t you? If so, make sure you don’t use the email address you made when you were 14 years old. It’s a simple fact that fluffy-unicorn-princess69@aol.com will raise more eyebrows than john.smith@gmail.com. And if you choose to include a picture on your CV, make sure it’s appropriate for professional purposes, and not one taken on holiday or by the pool.

DON’T neglect social media

In this digital age, using social media to find jobs is essential. For example, LinkedIn allows you to subscribe to different company profiles, view their job offers, and message their recruiters to show your interest. Earn brownie points by showing you took the time to read the recruiter’s profile. It’s also a good opportunity to expand your network.

DON’T be discouraged by silence

Did you send out your application a while ago, but haven’t heard back? Don’t hesitate to remind the person indicated in the job post. This will show the employer that you’re enthusiastic about the position. But be sure to use a light touch – you wouldn’t want to antagonise your intermediary. Don’t reach out until the official response period has elapsed. Recruiters generally have to deal with several applications at a time.

Take our advice, and you’ll have a much better chance of being called for a job interview!

To sum up, an effective job search comes down to staying proactive and adapting your application documents, topped off with a little confidence! In addition to your skillset, knowledge of the position and the company will play in your favour. Well, good luck!