1. Do Your Research

You’ve seen a new opportunity that you are interested in, and you know you’re a great fit – but taking a step back and researching that new opportunity beyond the advert is important. Research the company thoroughly, even if you’re already aware of its brand and reputation in the market. Look at their digital footprint, their social media channels, their brand, and voice across the sector. What are their values, mission, and vision? What are their growth plans and future aspirations? If, at the end of the process you’re sure you’re on the right path, this undertaking will pay dividends at the interview stage in demonstrating your knowledge about them as a potential employer.

2. Give Your CV Some Care

Don’t neglect your CV. This humble document is still a pivotal tool to sell your skills, competencies, and experience and is often the first opportunity you have to impress. Pay close attention to spelling and grammar and don’t forget the basics – clear formatting, chronological work history, personal contact details – but above all make the time to make it relevant to the role you’re applying for. A CV should be on average 2/3 pages long – and at most, 4 depending on your level of experience. Leveraging those skills and experience to make it clear you’re a match is vital – make it compelling, engaging but above all, specific.

3. Adapt Your Cover Letter for Each Application

Although the cover letter is not as important as it once was, many sectors and specialisms concede that they do still have a part to play in allowing individuals to further demonstrate suitability for roles and illustrate relevant skills and experience. Again – making it specific to the role and that company is key. Demonstrate you’ve done your research about that business and highlight why you’re the person they need to hire. Be clear, and concise, and don’t ramble. We’d recommend keeping it to one page.

4. Practice That Elevator Pitch

Refining and perfecting your elevator pitch is time well spent as a job seeker – and will add value when you’re in an interview scenario further down the line. Being able to clearly articulate your intent, unique attributes, experience, and skill set in 30-60 seconds is an art, but once you have this crafted, it can be used to help define your personal statement and across online application forms.

5. Take Time for Your Applications

Taking time to search the market for new opportunities takes time, and with those prospective roles in sight, formal job applications often take much longer than you might think – especially if you take on board the advice to personalize your application and supporting documents. Setting time aside in your schedule to dedicate to your job application activity is crucial; factoring in time to proofread, spell check, and customize.

6. Embrace Technology

The pandemic has certainly brought about a lot of change when it comes to hiring business professionals – virtual interviews and onboarding made possible through the rapid acceleration and adoption of tech solutions. As a job seeker, look to stand out with alternative ways to raise your personal profile. For example, requests for video-supported applications are increasing and often facilitated by recruitment agencies. Embrace these tools if they’re offered as another vehicle to demonstrate your suitability.

7. Time to Get Personal

Without a doubt, your (relevant) experience, skills, qualifications, and education are the hero elements of your legal job application– be that in your CV or a company’s application form. However, highlighting your interests out of work is still a great technique to demonstrate your personal qualities, and how you might fit with company culture. Often an optional section of your application forms or CV, that doesn’t mean they’re a waste of time. Rather, used smartly, hobbies and interests can strengthen your application and make you more ‘human’. Try to stay away from interests that don’t demonstrate a skill or quality that you’re hoping the hiring manager is looking for. ‘Socializing with friends’ for example may be something you do outside of work, but it does little to further exhibit your strengths, skill set, personality, or transferrable qualities relating to the job at hand.

8. Review Your Digital Footprint

Like it or not, hirers may conduct their research into you as a potential employee far beyond the documentation that you have sent to champion that application. Therefore, it’s always wise to check your social media channels to either set it to private or ensure your profile is one you wouldn’t mind your new employer seeing.

9. Grow Your Network

Connecting with the HR or Hiring Manager at the company you’re applying to on LinkedIn may seem bullish, but it can be a clever move and increase your chances of getting an interview. The connection request should be seen as another opportunity to introduce yourself and your interest in the role and wider company. Being proactive means you could also open up conversations around the role in more detail than the job spec advertised, and a reciprocal ‘follow’ or connection will offer that individual another window into your experience. It is also worth saying that at this juncture, keep it professional. You don’t want to pile any pressure on regarding your application at this stage.

10. Use the Experts

Formally registering with a specialist recruitment agency will undoubtedly give you a head start with your job search – furnishing you with market insight as well as the inside track on the relevant businesses that are hiring. And, when that dream role is in sight, you’ll be offered practical advice on the basics, refined by experts who live the hiring process and all of its anomalies day in and day out.