How to get a job you love (and that loves you)

20th January 2012 by

We’ve been doing a lot of hiring at Otesha recently, so we’ve pulled together our collective wisdom to bring you a few tips for getting a job you love in an organisation that will love you back.

  • You’re sending the application to a person, not a Sir/Madam, so use their name. If you’re not sure who to address your application to, call up and ask.
  • Read everything you can about the organisation and the role before you apply.
  • The covering letter is the key thing. After reading your letter we should know if we want to interview you or not. Your CV should back up everything you say in your covering letter, but it’s only a supporting document.
  • Otesha is a pretty informal organisation – we like covering letters that sound like real people wrote them, ones that will make us smile when we read them. Not all organisations will appreciate such an informal approach, but no one wants to read a letter that could’ve been written by a computer.
  • At Otesha, the first thing we want to know is why you want to work here and what you think is special about this organisation.
  • The second thing we want to know about you is why you really really really want to do the role you’re applying for.
  • It’s helpful to address every point in the person specification in the order they appear in the job posting. Imagine it’s the early hours of the morning and you’re desperately trying to get 100 applications down to a shortlist of 20. The easier you can make it for the person reading your application the better.
  • Your covering letter should usually be 1-2 sides long. Any shorter and we’re wondering why you don’t have the enthusiasm or experience to fill a page. Any longer and we think that you’re not able to communicate in a concise manner.
  • Don’t just tell us that you have ‘experience working in a team’ – we need to know where, how etc. Back up everything with clear examples of your experience.
  • Voluntary experience is just as valid as paid work experience.
  • End your letter telling us anything else great about you that might be relevant to the role.
  • Don’t bother sending off generic applications. We can tell if we’re receiving the same application you sent off for a different job last week! If you’re not interested enough to write a new cover letter, I’m afraid we’re probably not interested either.
  • Be meticulous, get someone to proof read your cover letter and CV. If the job specification asks for excellent written skills, your application needs to be excellently written.

2 Responses to “How to get a job you love (and that loves you)”

  1. […] Here are The Otesha Project’s top tips for landing that job you love.  […]

  2. Personally I also tailor my CV to every job I apply for, too for the reason you mention. The headings (e.g. “A team player”) should look remarkably similar to a summarized version of the job specification, but underneath each is bullet points with mini success stories from your life (e.g. “successfully led 10 cyclists to safety through a blizzard by adopting penguin tactics”). As long as you have a solid “bank” of these stories, each CV really doesn’t take long to create at all, and makes life much easier for the recruiter.

    The same approach works great at interview, too, but you’ll get the opportunity to put a lot more details and emotion into the stories.

    I also like to approach the interview with the goal of trying to figure out whether I will really love it. If you won’t then you’re wasting everyone’s time, especially yours.

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