How To Apply For A Job in 6 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 June 2021

Your job application package is the first line of contact between yourself and a potential new employer, so it is crucial to give an excellent first impression. Learning about the application process and tips for applying for jobs can help you make informed decisions during this process. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a job and offer five simple tips on writing an effective job application letter.

Read more: The Essential Job Search Guide

How to apply for a job

Here are steps you can take to help you apply for a job:

1. Research jobs online

Research by the Australian Government DESE suggests that the internet is an excellent place to apply for work stating that 60% of job vacancies in 2018 are advertised online. That number has likely increased in the three years since the report was released. Websites like Indeed make it easier to connect with employers who are looking for your skills and experience.

2. Research hiring companies

Before applying for a job, ensure you have conducted contextual research on the company. Head straight to the “about” page to find out essential information. Then, run the company's name through a search engine to look for current news, upcoming events, or service and employee reviews.

Start networking with people who are employed at the companies where you are applying for jobs. Aim to find out which particular skills are most valued and gain an overall feel for the company culture.

3. Tailor your CV for submission

Your CV is the most important document when applying for jobs as it outlines your key strengths and experience. Throughout your job search, make sure your CV is up to date in chronological order. Start each segment with your most recent educational qualifications and experience. Optimise your CV by emphasising skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

4. Decide whether a cover letter will elevate your application

Cover letters are not always a necessity for modern job applications. Instead, you may need to write a personal supporting statement during the application process. An employer will inform you of which documents they need. If you do create a cover letter, ensure it complements your CV without repetition. Use the opportunity to tell an interesting story of your key skills.

5. Submit your CV and application documents online

After finalising your CV and cover letter, move onto the official online application, where you can attach external documents. Thoroughly read each question, making sure to tailor your answers to the needs of the company. Proofread as you go to eliminate spelling or grammatical errors to guarantee a good first impression.

6. Follow up on your application

Hiring managers may provide a time frame of when you can expect to hear a result. However, if you do not receive this information, wait at least two weeks before sending a professional follow-up message. This allows recruiters sufficient time to sort through CVs and applications.

You can reach out to the hiring manager in an email if you possess this line of contact. If not, call the company and request to speak to the hiring manager regarding the status of your application.

Related: What Is a CV?

How do I apply for my first job?

Before entering the workforce for the first time, you should regard your end career goal. Consider first jobs in the retail, sales, or hospitality sector to gain transferable skills that lead to higher-paying roles. Network with your peers to find out the route they took to land their first job. Your friends and family may have further connections to hiring managers at local businesses looking for entry-level candidates.

Add your experience to the CV

When applying for jobs, you should consider the experience each role will give you, even if it isn't what you want to do in the long run. In addition, these roles will begin to shape your skills and provide an insight into business fundamentals such as inventory management and customer relations.

Although you may have little professional experience on your CV, you can emphasise any voluntary tasks you undertook and project management examples throughout your education. Search job websites such as Indeed or network through social media. Tailor your CV to the job description, making sure you send it in an easily transferable format. Actively apply for jobs daily to increase your chance of an interview.

The interview stages

Once you have landed an interview, research popular interview questions for your line of work. Do some background checks on the company, taking note of its history and significant milestones. Dress smartly for the interview to leave a memorable impression. Consider writing a follow-up email thanking the company for the opportunity to speak with an additional reason to hire you.

Related: Guide How To Choose a Career

How can I get a job immediately?

Persistence is the key to immediately getting a job. Before you start applying for jobs, narrow your search down to specific areas of work. This will help save time on tweaking your CV and help to emphasise the skills needed for that industry. Conduct research that is relevant to the types of work you are applying for.

Apply for jobs that require candidates to start immediately. This will be detailed in the job description or communicated during an interview. Network with current employees at the companies you are applying to. Ask how they achieved their role.

Ask for post-interview feedback

Optimise future applications by asking for feedback if you receive a rejection letter. You can also reach out to companies directly in person, via email or by telephone to discuss whether positions are available. These insights will be valuable in future interviews to optimise your chances of getting hired.

Related: 3 Habits That Could Increase Your Chances Of Getting the Job

How do I apply for a job with no experience?

Whether you are straight out of education or looking for a new job in a different field, emphasise your existing abilities to show employers you are fit for the job. Look for the transferable skills you used to excel at college or in your previous position. Accentuate your soft skills such as:

  • Communication

  • Organisational

  • Problem-solving

  • Attention to detail

  • Time management

  • Interpersonal skills

In the meantime, consider volunteering or enrolling in extracurricular activities to show you are proactively strengthening your skill set. Apply for jobs that do not require experience or take lower-paid entry-level positions such as internships or apprenticeships. If you are looking to enter a creative industry, develop side projects that help increase your portfolio.

Turn to your previous educational institutions for advice on entering the workplace with minimal experience. They may have intelligence on unpaid work experience or valuable career resources. Ensure you detail achievements such as high grades, certificates and acknowledgements in your CV.

Related: How to Choose the Right Career Path

How do I write a job application letter?

A job application letter is a personally written document you submit to a potential employer to express your interest in a current vacancy. Appealing letters include your educational qualifications, professional capabilities and experience. Refer to these tips on how to write an effective letter to make you stand out from other candidates:

1. Highlight your skills and abilities

Take this as an opportunity to sell yourself as an idyllic candidate for the role. Include your core strengths and specific examples of when you used your abilities to benefit the company. Further, improve your letter by including statistics.

Example:Implementation of my marketing strategy increased website traffic by 40%.”

2. Be clear and concise

A hiring manager will often read numerous application letters in one sitting. Therefore yours must stand out by only detailing the information they need to know. Keep it brief and to the point, as recruiters may not fully read wordy letters in full.

3. Proofread the letter

An employer will gain an initial assumption of your professional self when reading your letter. Therefore, make sure you read your whole letter, correcting grammatical or spelling mistakes.

4. Include keywords mentioned in the job description

Many HR departments use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to identify candidates most compatible with the job description. Identify and include keywords to the job you are applying for. It will also help the hiring manager know you would make a great candidate.

Related: Cover Letter Checklist: What to Review Before You Submit

5. Always send a job application letter

An application letter can significantly strengthen your appeal. Use this as a chance to let the employer know more about your skill set and express personal interest in the role. Send an application letter for every job you apply for unless the company states not to give one.