In our employability series, our Kickstart Marketing Assistant, Joanna, shares her experience of working with us and her journey to change career path following her studies. This series of blogs provide insightful knowledge from the book From Learner to Earner by Sophie Milliken, independent research and relatable stories about the process of finding employment. Use these blogs to support, inspire and encourage Kickstart team members in your organisation and anyone you know seeking employment.

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Now you have done the research into your chosen sector, perfectly crafted a CV and cover letter, it’s time to send off your application. I know waiting for a response can make you feel a little bit defeated, especially if it has been a long time, but there are so many other people in the same boat as you. There are always other opportunities, too. You know what they say, when one door closes another opens.  

Most places advertising positions on posters ask you to apply via an online form or email when you go into the building, others will hand you an application form to fill out.

I used to have a saved CV on Indeed and just send the same application to dozens of jobs a day and honestly, I rarely received a positive response. I have since learned taking the time to look into the organisation and tailor your application to the role you are applying for is absolute key.

You don’t have to be alone in the application process, either. Job Centres, Careers Advisors and Employment Bureaus are all there to assist you in the process. If you seem to be having a hard time securing a position, use them! I went far too long without seeking any help to change career when I was unhappy and when I finally decided to be proactive and book an appointment with a career’s advisor, everything just made a lot more sense and I had a plan. There is a reason the service exists and they really do know their stuff. They point you in the right direction to find work based on your skills, experience and desires.

Don’t just apply for any job you see with the title of the position you are interested in having. Actually look into the job role, research the employer.

Many people, myself included, have applied for positions, made it to the interview and found out the job and company wouldn’t suit them at all and instead of wasting your time and the employers, you could have done your research before applying.

Choose a suitable time of day to apply, you are much more likely to get a response if you apply during the business’ working hours (most are Monday to Friday 9-5). Once I received a response the same day I applied because I sent my application in the morning.

If you send an email, make sure you read over the email for any typos! There have been many times I have constructed an email and read it over after pressing send to find out I have addressed the email to the wrong person or missed out a word or letter. I likely wouldn’t think much of the sender if they addressed me as Jack or Janet, so definitely check!

Follow-up emails are okay if it has been about a week since you applied, but anything more recent is borderline harassment. There is a difference between showing you are eager and proactive and just looking pushy and annoying.

Approach people who work for the company before applying. It sounds strange, you may be wondering how you can do that in an authentic way. In Sophie Milliken’s book From Learner to earner, her advice is to start off following the company and look at their social media activity.

Perhaps they work with a charity you volunteer for or maybe you know someone from school or university who already works there. Many companies host events in their sector or recruit at careers fairs so it is definitely worth searching the company in advance of applying.

There are many ways to make yourself known and it starts with researching and approaching tactfully. A lot of job posts give an email address for you to contact regarding any informal questions regarding the job role. Use it! You may not have a lot of questions immediately after reading the job post, but you may have a genuine question about their services or their position in the sector. Whatever it is, make sure it is positive and relevant. This will make you stand out to other candidates because you have gone out of your way to make a connection.

You can find more useful information about applying for jobs through Sophie Milliken’s resources from her book and online sources such as this blog on Barclay Life Skills.

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Read more about Joanna in Our People and our other blogs in the series to get top tips from Jo about her journey to us, job hunting, CV writing and interviewing.