In the short time that I was searching for jobs it felt like my applications were going unnoticed, which is a feeling that’s probably not unusual for graduates. As you all know by now, one of my applications did get noticed and I’m starting to think about the reasons why it did. So below, I’ve compiled a few tips for any other graduates who are applying for publishing jobs.
1) Pay attention to the ‘ideal’ candidate specification
This is my number one tip of my entire blog post. The ideal candidate specification is a very important part of the job vacancy that can sometimes be overlooked. Although companies don’t officially say so, in my opinion out of all applications that a company receives (hundreds) there will probably be a lot of candidates that don’t absolutely fit the ‘ideal’ candidate specification. Thus will go unnoticed. Only the best/ideal candidates will be picked for interviews. So, pay attention to the specification and think twice about applying for it if you’re not really ideal. For instance, some vacancies may state ‘The ideal candidate would preferably have an MA in publishing…’ – I suggest you should think twice about applying for it if you don’t have an MA, especially if the vacancy is with a large company where lots of applications are received.
2) Make an impression in your cover letter
One of the most important aspects of a job application is the cover letter. This is because it is the first part of the application that the employer will read. After reading it they will assess whether you’re potentially right for the role, and depending on their judgement, will depend on whether they will read your CV.
I’m not going to go into the importance of tailoring your cover letters as I’m sure many of you are already aware of the significance. But what I will say is, make sure your cover letter has been tailored well. This means better than just copying the words used in the job description such as ‘diligent’. I mean directly relating your experience to the job you’re applying for. For example, if it’s a sales job then you should refer to all your ‘sales’ experience in your cover letter (stating the most relevant first). Your cover letter really needs to match the job description, so that it explains why you are the ideal candidate for the role. A great cover letter will tell the employer that you encompass all the key ingredients of being a successful xxx assistant.
3) Don’t become unstuck in the interview
If you’re writing a lot of applications for various roles, it will be sensible to examine your application again before your interview. Have a look at your cover letter and CV and really scrutinise it. For instance, the interviewer may ask you ‘describe what involvement you had in the social media project that you state on your CV?’, or ‘You’ve described being a unflappable individual, what makes you unflappable?’. This is why I stressed in my previous blog post the importance of creating a scenarios pack, and why your application needs to be 100% accurate and of course true/real.
If you’re still a student….
You may not know yet or you may have an idea of what you’d like to do as a career. If you know you may be leaning towards editorial (for instance) then make sure you take on predominantly editorial placements to reflect this. Its great to do work experience but make sure you’re doing the right experience that’s right for you.