New job application tips | Caroline Binns

New job application tips | Caroline Binns

September’s a great month to.... get a new job

Nothing has the power to change your life more than landing your dream role. Caroline Binns, a director for Hays Specialist Recruitment, shares her insider tips to help your autumn application stand out in a crowd.

With so many people on holiday, summer is traditionally a quiet time for businesses large and small. But things really pick up in autumn, when HR managers return to their desks and look to get people bedded into new roles before the Christmas madness begins.

So if you’ve spent all summer lying on the beach dreaming of a career change, you’re in luck. Recruiters believe that September is a great month to look for a new job.

But how do you bag your perfect role and turn those summer dreams into autumn reality? Luckily Caroline Binns is on hand to help. As business director with Hays Specialist Recruitment in London, she has 15 years experience matching candidates with clients. Her insider tips are just what you need to help your application stand out from the crowd. Over to Caroline...

Spotted an advert for your dream job? Don’t let it pass you by, even if you don’t exactly tick every box. If you are confident, well-prepared and very clear about the value you can bring to a business, you’ll always make a compelling case for being offered the job. Still unsure you’ve got what it takes? Check out my tips to make sure you’re the new-starter at work this September. 

Nail your personal statement

If this really is your dream job, don’t let your CV read like one you’d send out to 20 other employers. The power of targeting your application to the role you’re applying for is not to be underestimated - and you can do this by writing a killer personal statement. The personal statement is your chance to sell the core aspects of yourself as a candidate, particularly your expertise, achievements and future ambitions. If you find yourself writing over 200 words take a second look and check that all your points can be linked back to the job vacancy. Doing this will really set you apart from other applicants.


Snapshot your top skills

Place a short list beneath your personal statement, almost like a snapshot of your main skills. You can make these into bullet points. Start with those most relevant to the job, then follow with your technical abilities. Make sure you cover all the required skills outlined in the job description. These could include things like...

  • Attention to detail
  • Problem solving
  • Delivering excellent service
  • Time management

Remember that softer skills like communication are just as important to employers as technical abilities. In fact in our own research, employers told us that communication, flexibility/adaptability and problem solving are the top things they’re looking for in a candidate.

Update your social media

You’ve spent all that time perfecting your CV so make sure your online presence doesn’t let you down. More and more companies are using social media to check on prospective employees, so make sure yours matches their expectations. Check the privacy settings on your Facebook account to make sure they can’t see that photo of you at your work’s summer party. Then look at your LinkedIn profile. This is your shop window, so make sure all of your relevant experience matches your CV and that you have some glowing references from previous work contacts.


P is for ‘preparation’

You’ve been invited in for an interview. Congratulations! But before you go, do your research. It’s amazing how many candidates turn up for an interview without even looking at their chosen company’s website. But don’t stop there. It’s time to put on your detective hat. Can you find out their core company values? What can you learn by reading their company blog, news pages and press releases? Following the company on Twitter and Facebook will show your enthusiasm and help you keep your finger on the pulse.


Finally, take time to think about what you enjoy doing and where you want to be - the interviewer is bound to ask. A great way to do this is by undertaking a SWOT analysis on yourself (where SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Whether you measure success by promotion, contribution to society or addressing your work/life balance, the first step is to identify your goals and motivations.

Using all of these insider tips can help you land that job you’ve been dreaming about from your sun lounger or while you’ve been chasing the kids around the pool! But even if you’re not actively seeking a new role, why not make this September the month you invest in your career? Armed with all that fresh enthusiasm after the summer holidays, there really is no better time to start thinking about what you want to achieve in the year ahead.