5-Point Job Application Customisation
Taking the time to customise your job application is often the difference between getting an interview or being rejected on the spot. Just one mistake in your job application could lead to a dead-end with that job.
It’s wise to focus on sending 10 good job applications a week rather than 50 average ones that haven’t been customised!
However, to make sure you have the greatest chance of securing a job, we’ve created this 5-Point Job Application Checklist to help you.
Job Application Customisation Step 1: Keyword Scanning
Scan the job advertisement and highlight all the keywords listed. Keywords are ‘action words’ in the job advertisement that describe what to do in the job and the skills required. Essentially, what the employer wants!
Action: Scan the job advertisement and make a list of all the keywords and rate them (important, moderate, not important).
See job ad below for keywords we have highlighted in red.
We’ll be using the job advertisement ‘Accountant – Chartered Accounting Firm’ to highlight the 5 key checklist steps.
Let’s get started!
Accountant – Chartered Accounting Firm
This Top 10 mid-tier chartered accounting firm has a new opening in their business services division for an experienced accountant. This company boasts an international network that allows you to constantly grow vertically in the supportive learning environment and gives you the exposure not only to SME’s but also middle markets and large corporate organisations, vital to growing your tax knowledge.
Some of the duties in this role include:
- Preparing income tax returns and FBT for consolidated groups and international companies
- Preparing financial statements and trial balance obtained by clients and determining suitable tax treatments
- Completing and lodging BAS, IAS and consolidated activity statements
- Calculation of Capital Gains Tax
- Drafting initial tax advice and reports on various issues
- Liaising with the ATO and ASIC on behalf of clients
- Working with clients in diverse industries in the medium to large private space – up to $80M
Ideally, the successful candidate will have:
- 1 – 3 years’ experience in a tax or business services role
- Relevant tertiary qualifications
- Ideally studying CA or CPA
- Excellent communication and interpersonal abilities
- Driven, ambitious and eager to learn
How to apply:
If you are interested in this opportunity click APPLY.
For a confidential discussion contact Richard on 07 3229 8020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Job Application Customisation Step 2: Opening action statement
Use the top three keywords from the job ad to start your cover letter and resume profile statement. They will help catch the reader’s attention.
Action: Create a hard-hitting statement to start your cover letter and resume using keywords from the job advertisement.
Here’s an example:
“I’m a Chartered Accountant with more than two years’ experience preparing financial statements and completing and lodging BAS, IAS and consolidated activity statements. I also have expertise in preparing income tax returns and FBT for more than 25 SME clients such as XXXX.”
Job Application Customisation Step 3: Key skills list
After identifying the keywords, build a bullet point list in your resume and cover letter listing 4 – 5 of the keywords from the job ad with examples and evidence of your expertise in these areas.
Action: Create the list of your key skills (see below) – taken from the first bullet in the job advertisement
- Income tax & FBT: XXXXXXXXXXXXX (two-line action statement with evidence on your skills, experience and expertise in this area)
- Key skill two: XXXXXXXXX
- Key skill three: XXXXXXXXX
Job Application Customisation Step 4: Keyword examples in action
You need two hard-hitting, example-rich paragraphs in your cover letter using the keywords from the job advertisement.
Action: Consider two examples from your previous employment or university projects where your performance matches keywords listed in the job advertisement. Here’s an example:
“In my most recent role as a Chartered Accountant with T&M Partners, I prepared 15 income tax returns a month for clients such as Hudson Motor Group and Coles. This included XXXXXX (tell the reader how you did this specific task).”
Job Application Customisation Step 5: Personalise your cover letter
Scan the job ad to find out who the ‘decision-maker’ is.
In this example, it’s a recruiter. Avoid using ‘Dear sir/madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’. Use their full name in the cover letter company details i.e. ‘John Smith, Head of Recruitment’. Start your cover letter with ‘Dear John,’
Action: In this advertisement, they list his first name ‘Richard’ but not his surname. We need his surname. Search the website or LinkedIn to find it. Or call them up and ask.
Job Application Customisation: Final take away…
Keywords reveal exactly what the hiring manager is looking for. Your job is to analyse the job advertisement and identify the most important keywords and then use those keywords strategically in your cover letter and resume to demonstrate how you can do the job better than anyone else.
If you’re finding it hard to customise your job application for a particular job you’re keen to get, contact us and we can help.
Careers Team, Career Success Australia