Application hints and tips


Liz Penemo interview

Plan your next career move

Is it time for your next career move? Are you looking for a role within a library, archives, records management or knowledge management? We can help.

What is your motivation for moving on? It might be time to make a move if you:

  • Are bored, disengaged and unchallenged
  • Are not making use of your talents
  • Have limited opportunities for growth or variety
  • Are under extreme pressure and/or feel trapped
  • Have no job security or sense of fulfillment
  • Feel consistently stressed, isolated or unsupported
  • Are unsatisfied with your salary and cannot negotiate an improvement
  • Have a workload that deprives you of a life outside work

If you feel you cannot improve your situation within your current organisation, you should consider:

  • A new job in the same sector
  • The same job in a new sector
  • A new job in a new sector

Planning your career move increases the likelihood of a smooth transition. Moving to a position that is more suited to your talents and interests can be fulfilling, however you must also consider the costs. Are you prepared to take a pay cut or to be out of work for a period of time? Would you accept a junior or short-term contract role in order to develop new knowledge and expertise?

Read current job advertisements and use your professional networks to talk to friends and colleagues to discover what opportunities are out there, and whether your skills are transferable. Consider carrying out a skills audit on yourself to clarify your strengths, preferences and development needs. Think about not just what you want to be doing in the next couple of years, but where you see yourself in five or ten years’ time.

If you have prepared for the change, made the decision for the right reasons and the benefits clearly outweigh the costs, then it is time to make your next move with confidence.

Application hints and tips
You’ve found the perfect job, you’ve looked at the job description for long enough to know that you are an excellent fit, so now it’s time to sell yourself.  The work force is like a market place and the most successful candidates are those who can sell themselves well.  Application forms and CVs are the perfect way to start.

The application form and CV are two very distinct documents. An application form usually comprises key questions such as ‘why do you want to work here?’ and ‘what skills can you bring to the working environment?’ In other words, ‘why should we hire you?’ CVs are a record of your employment history and educational attainment.  Despite this difference, both documents should be used to highlight your key skills and should be treated as marketing tools.

The CV may be a chronological list of employment, education, volunteering and other work-related activities, but it has the potential to be so much more. Add in a few key achievements and key skills and this will make for a far more interesting read. Clearly depict what you can offer the organisation.  Remember that every sentence should make an impact and paint a picture in the reader’s mind.
‘The Devil is in the detail’ is an important expression when it comes to good CV and application practice. Spelling and grammatical errors will detract from the content, so in order to not compromise the quality of your application form or CV, check, check and double check. Better still, get a friend or family member to proofread it too.

A well laid out CV should give you an edge. The reader wants to be able to absorb vital pieces of information about you and your experience as quickly as possible, therefore it is imperative that he/she can do that with ease. A CV that is hard to read is easy to put down. A chronological CV typically follows this structure: Name, contact details, personal profile (optional), employment, education and references. A skills-based CV typically follows this structure: Name, contact details, skills, employment. Whichever approach you take, remember to keep it structured and focused on the specific job you are applying for.

Always be willing to bolster your CV with experiences that will make you marketable and give you an edge.

Here are some further CV tips:

  • Stick to a maximum of two pages of A4
  • Don’t use photographs, logos or graphics
  • Make good use of your margins. Moving the margins will allow you to fit more words on a page
  • Use a readable font and maintain that font throughout
  • Use bullet points for clarity
  • Don’t overuse capital letters because IT READS AS THOUGH YOU ARE SHOUTING when you are not

Application form tips:

  • Research the organisation
  • Look at the job description carefully
  • Read the application form thoroughly
  • Follow the instructions
  • Use real life examples to strengthen your answers
  • Do not write ‘see CV’

Remember, your CV and application form are your marketing tools. Don’t sell yourself short.