Applying for a job

Applying for a job is a form of presenting yourself well. In your letter of application and your CV you try to sell yourself in such a way that you will be invited for an interview. In the interview you try to confirm the positive image that emerged from your letter and CV. Emphasize your strengths, but be realistic.

The vacancy

Jobs can be found in the open labour market, via advertisements (online and in newspapers and magazines), jobs markets and during network meetings. Approximately 65% of all jobs are taken via the informal market. These are jobs that are taken via hands-on training, informal networks or by word of mouth. These jobs can be found through exploratory talks with people in the industry where you'd like to work in.

The letter of application

In your letter of application you explain why you in particular are the best candidate. Try to find a match between what you offer and what the employer is looking for: the common denominator. You state for which function you are applying and where you saw the vacancy advertised. Then you describe your motivation – why you are interested in the function and why you are suitable for it. Illustrate this with examples, or present your view of the discipline. 

In an unsolicited application, if there is no vacancy, a letter of application is sometimes called a motivation letter. 

The Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume

A good CV is one that matches the function for which you are applying. So make a new CV each time that is targeted to the specific demands. Employers or potential clients look at your resume first. If you do not satisfy the requirements or if your CV is badly presented, they will not even bother to read your letter.

Make sure that your online profile and the information on the social media match what you write in your letter of application. Check what happens when you use a search engine to find yourself, because that is what your potential employer will do as well.

The interview

A job interview is an opportunity for both parties to get to know one another better. The organisation wants to see confirmation of the positive picture that your letter and CV have formed. You want to see whether the function matches your wishes and expectations and to try to convince the employer of your suitability. Be properly prepared: make sure that you can remember the contents of your letter and CV and think about possible questions. Give a clear and realistic picture of yourself in relation to the function.

After the interview you may be invited for a second round, or you may be rejected. In the latter case, call to ask for the reason for rejection so that you can learn from it. Keep on actively looking for work.