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Apply Now! Put together an effective job application

The documents that make up an application usually include your cover letter, CV and possibly an application form or a statement of purpose. These are the things that get you to the next stage, so you've got to spend time, energy and brainpower on them to give yourself the best chance. This information is also relevant if you are applying for a scholarship, internship or even a course. Consider what is relevant to the application and provide them with the information they need to make a decision. It will usually be different in each circumstance.

Make your CV, cover letter and application form work for you

Always read the application instructions and if you do not understand what they want seek advice. The Career Development Centre can help you through the initial application process from start to finish with seminars, tutorials and workshops, as well as our published guides, and one-on-one consultations.

Where is your career going?

The application is a way to get where you want to go - before you can start this journey, you may need to figure out where you're going.

If you're in the process of figuring this out, a Career Adviser can help.

Steps to take when applying for jobs

1. Attend a CV seminar

Our ‘How to write great CV's and cover letters’ seminar will help arm you with the tools you need to put together a good CV and cover letter draft.

Our CV seminar is run weekly during semester time. You can view and book times through OtagoCareerHub.

Spaces in each session are limited, so you'll need to book.

2. CV Tutorial

The key to an effective CV is to make the most important information jump out at the reader within the first few seconds of being reviewed.  CV tutorials are a great opportunity to put yourself in the position of an employer and really tune in to what is required in a CV, learn from your peers about what is great about your own CV and give you the opportunity to see alternative ways of displaying similar information.

CV tutorials run twice weekly during semester time. You can view and book times through OtagoCareerHub.

3. Refine your drafts using our CV Tools

Now you’re ready to prepare you draft CV and cover letter to submit your application to a potential employer. This part you can do at home; use your CV Book with the notes and advice you gained at the CV writing seminar and workshop, and combine them with our CV Tools online.

This suite of CV tools and guidelines will help you order the information you've gathered for your CV into an effective layout and hierarchy, so that your CV has a positive impact on the potential employer. You can also use these tools to draft your cover letter.

4. Get some one-on-one feedback and advice from us

Now that you've got a good draft of your CV and cover letter, you're ready for a one-on-one drop-in consultation with one of our Career Advisers to refine them into the most effective application possible.

Our advisers have lots of experience and a wide range of areas of expertise - they'll look at your CV and cover letter from a reader's point of view, and help you perfect your layout, expression, grammar, spelling and general content to respond to a reader's needs and behaviour. They can also advise you on how to put together your CV and cover letter for a particular field or company, and can answer any questions you may still have about your application.

5. Once you're happy with your application, send it off to the employer!

Important stuff to remember:

If you're sending your application by post, you should put a paperclip in the upper left-hand corner of your CV to hold it together (do the same thing with the application form if there is one), then put your application documents in an A4 envelope (don't fold them) in the following order:

1. Application form (if applicable) at the bottom
2. Then the CV
3. Then the cover letter on top (ie, covering the other documents)

6. Remember to convert your CV and cover letter to PDF

If you're submitting your CV and cover letter electronically, ALWAYS send them as separate PDF attachments - one PDF for your cover letter, and another for your CV.

PDF is a format that everyone can open, and it's like a photo of the document - whichever programme opens the file, it can't change the formatting or muck anything up. If you send a PDF, you're guaranteed that when the employer opens the file on their computer, it will look exactly the same as it did on your computer.