Job applications can be a long process, but by formulating a list of elements to include every time and by altering each application to the employer, you may just ace this part of the application. Recruiters will often ask for both a CV and cover letter to begin with and it’s important to make sure that you put just as much effort into both parts. Often applicants will put a lot of time and effort into their CV but will quickly rush the cover letter with little thought. A cover letter gives the recruiter another opportunity to read through your skills, ambition and most importantly why you think you would succeed in the position. You should create a simple template for both your CV and cover letter, so when it comes to altering the information for each job application, it’s easy to remove and add elements. This will save time and make the application process easier for you in the long run.
Importance of the job brief
Before you begin to write anything, you should take the time to have a thorough read of the job brief. It is important to know the job you are applying for, before you send them any kind of application. Most job briefs will include duties required for the job and it’s highly likely that these will be ranked in order of most important to least. It’s important to consider if you would be able to complete all these tasks well or if you think with training (if they provide this) you will be able to deliver expectations.
Research the company. After reading through the job spec and deciding if you want to apply, make sure you investigate the company itself. You can often find a link on the page where the job has been posted. You need to understand if you are going to like the company, appreciate their values and be able to help them as much as they should help you. Making sure the company is in the correct engineering sector for you may seem like an obvious statement, but something a lot of applicants look past. This is a simple task that you should carry out for all job applications.
Depending on which engineering sector you are in, your recruiter may not be looking for anything too creative in your application submissions. Regardless, both pieces should be clear and concise, with a basic, sleek and organised structure. Break your CV down into sections, using space to outline your key skills and experience, achievements, qualifications and necessary education. Depending on what sector of engineering you are working in, it’s important to use the correct terminology when necessary within these sections, on both your CV and cover letter. This will make it clear to the employer that you have relevant understanding of engineering terms and are aware of their meaning.
Your key skills section can include all skills that you feel are relevant to the job specification and your area of expertise. These could be skills you have learnt from previous jobs, to how you learnt to use specific tools and software that may be of use to this exact employer. It may be easier to list your skills in bullet points to make it more precise. For every job you apply for, the skill section should be altered. Depending on what the job brief asks for, you may have to change the arrangement of skills into priority, from most important to least. Each job will have different skill priorities, so if you have the skills they want, make this very clear. It will be one of the top things they look for on your CV and in your cover letter. When writing the cover letter, it may be important to talk about your skills and assets after your personal statement. The most important things you want to present to the employer should always be at the top, it’s what keeps them engaged and read the whole letter.
Your personal statement is a key aspect of both your CV and cover letter. It should be placed at the top of both pieces and is a chance for you to talk about yourself, share your achievements and ultimately explain why you think you would be good for the job. This will be the part you alter for each individual job application. It should be edited after you have read the job spec, so you know what skills to prioritise and what tone to use. If you highlight key parts of the job spec in your personal statement you will show the employer that you have considered the different aspects of the role. Being able to show that you have studied the role and the company can be tricky to put across, it is something that will come with practice. Your personal statement will be the thing to make you stand out from others so it’s best to get started on this immediately. It’s important not to write something that is too generic, employers read these all the time and get a little bored. It can be important to use some engineering terminology when appropriate – be sure not to put it in for the sake of impressing them, make it relevant. Don’t forget about your own personal interests. Your personal statement is about you and should share something slightly personal. Whether that be an interest, skills you are proud of or what you want to learn from this experience, they will appreciate your motivation. The personal statement on you CV will be shorter than the one on your cover letter, but just provide a short summary on your CV, making sure you tick all the boxes and your cover letter will complete this. This represents why it is so important to complete your cover letter with care.
It's important not to steer away from the basics, make sure you use the spell-checker, read through your applications more than once and keep it formal. Make sure you address them politely at the beginning of your cover letter and include simple basics like the date and your electronic signature. Simple tips that can be forgotten in a stressful application. Engineering and technology employers, much like any other sector, will have details that they always look out for. So, tailoring each of your applications is a vital part of your job search. By keeping it personal to each organisation, they will appreciate the effort, but they will be able to see almost automatically if you are going to be right for the job. You have the power to make sure they keep reading, they give you all the information in the job brief, you just have to utilise this. You’ll see the results and for the right engineering job, you have all the time in the world.