Have you ever wondered why even though you apply for lots of roles, you either don’t hear back or miss out on shortlisting? It might be the case that you’ve got some excellent skills and experience and you know that you would be a great candidate for the role – but may be where the issue lies – YOU know you would be, but are you making it clear enough? Often applications can come in to recruitment agencies and creative organisations which aren’t always clear to read, or lack some crucial information about you, like a particular type of experience or evidence of your past successes. Very often application forms come in where the recruiter or creative organisation see’s potential in a prospective candidate, gives them a call and then finds out that they would, in fact make a great candidate!
So the question is, how do you fill out an excellent, clear and descriptive application form?
We’ve come up with a few tips to try and help, and if you’ve got any other helpful hints, we’d love to hear from you.
- Read the Application Pack Thoroughly – It may sound like a simple request, but when prospective candidates come to fill in their application form they often forget that they need to address every point highlighted in the application pack. If there is a list of essential and desirable skills or qualities, list these down and explain how you match each of them. If there are certain personal qualities or interests that the creative organisation asks for then explain and give examples of how they apply to you. Remember that you may have transferable skills too. For example, if the role includes event management but your experience is in a voluntary capacity, then this is still essential to highlight.
- Give Examples – Quite often a candidate may say that they are good at such and such, but if you haven’t given evidence showing how or why you are good at whatever this may be, then it’s difficult for the recruiter or creative organisation to appreciate your abilities.
- Be Clear – don’t presume that recruiters of creative organisations will understand everything without explanation – you might need to explain business abbreviations that are not familiar or widely used in the creative industry. Often candidates are willing to move location for a role, if this is the case for you then make it clear on your application. We’ve all been confused when a candidate living in Sydney applies for a role in Dublin – until we find out that they have been in a temporary role abroad and are moving back to Ireland!
- Try Not to Leave it Too Late – We all live busy lives, however we recommend you get your application completed as early as possible, to give you the best chance of success. Being well prepared means you can get friends and family to check for mistakes, or you may even be able to contact the recruitment agency and ask that they briefly review it for you. A fresh set of eyes over your application is always helpful.
- Don’t Panic, Ask for Help – If you’re having difficulty filling in your application form, get in touch with the recruiter and ask for help or clarification – we at Creative Careers are always happy to do this!
- Do Your Research – You might be surprised by the number of potential candidates who don’t do their research on the creative organisation whose role they are applying for. Surely candidates should know exactly what type of organisation they are applying to be a part of! When it comes to interview stage it is absolutely essential that you are well versed in the organisation’s background, activities and future ambitions. If the creative organisation in question is a venue, be sure to attend events in the lead up to interview. If it’s a TV production company, be sure to watch some of their films or shows – this will set you apart from other candidates, and show you have a particular interest in that organisation‘s work. It will certainly give you more to talk about at interview.
- Convince the Interviewer – A knowledge of what the organisation does is important, however your ability to convince the interviewers of your skills and experience to carry out the job is even more so. Job applicants in creative or cultural organisations can often focus too much on their interest in the art form and not enough on their ability to do the job in question. Try to strike a balance between both.
- Simply Does It – We’re talking about the presentation of your application, or indeed CV or covering letter too (unless, of course, you’re going for a job in design!). As a rule of thumb size 12 or 10 Ariel font in a safe option. Do not use comic sans. Ever.