HOW TO… Apply yourself

We break down the ins and outs of applying for the job of your dreams…

Summer – a time for holidays, festivals, sleeping till three in the afternoon, epic day trips with your mates… And for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have a money tree in the back garden, it’s the season for looking into getting a job too.

Whether you’re after your first full-time post after education or some part-time summer work, now’s the time to start getting applications out there before the end of the educational year. So how do you apply for jobs, and where the heck do you find them?


To get started, job sites like and the Guardian’s job site ( are a god-send for both full-time and part-time work, as is your local newspaper. If you’re looking for a role in a certain sector, look online for jobs boards tailored to a specific sector, such as jobs in energy or charity.

For those of you who are after seasonal summer work or a part-time job you can keep on during term-time, the best bet is to go to the employer directly – restaurants, shops, cafes, bars, kids clubs and call centres are all great for people who are still in education and tend to be flexible about working hours with plenty of scope for overtime when you don’t have class to worry about. Call round local companies or pop in with a copy of your CV – there’s no harm in making a speculative application like this, as many employers rely on people showing initiative.


Whether you have a form to fill in or your potential employer prefers that you submit a CV, chances are, you’ll be asked to submit a cover letter. A cover letter is, funnily enough, a letter which you send to employers to introduce your application – to sell yourself, basically. It should contain a bit about you and explain why you’re applying for this particular job.

While many vacancies will require that you fill in an application form, others might ask for a CV. This is slightly trickier as you have to decide what to include. Generally speaking, your CV should include a summary of your education, qualifications, experience, interests, a personal statement and contact details, all held together in one handy typed-up document.

It’s a good idea to have a core CV stored on your computer which you can tweak to suit the different jobs you’re applying for. Remember to keep your application relevant, too, and try not to go over two A4 pages – nobody wants to hear about your passion for the Twilight books (‘hobbies and interests’) or know every last detail of that amazing goal you scored in the school cup final (‘achievements to date’).


Hey, pinksparklypony_xx, hearts_no1_fan and mrsharrystyles! It’s time to ditch that embarrassing email address and get a grown-up one. If you’re emailing in a CV or completing a form online, they’ll definitely need your email address and you’re going to look pretty daft if you stick with an addy that’s anything less than professional. Something that includes your name instead is far more appropriate.

What’s also appropriate is telling the truth. Don’t claim to have volunteered in Cambodia when the closest you got was googling it, don’t say you’re a seasoned ski instructor when you’re more of a Wii Sports participant and never ever bump up your grades. The thing is with lies, white or otherwise, you often get caught out and the consequences can be disastrous.

Before you submit any CVs or applications, grab a parent or a pal and get them to read it over for you. Submitting applications with spelling and grammar mistakes is a no-no – some employers will disregard you straight away.


When it comes to job applications, there’s one thing to remember – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Finding a job is tough, and if your first few applications don’t bring in the interviews, don’t throw in the towel. Tweak your CV, keep looking for other posts, start sending out speculative applications and don’t lose hope. Good luck!


My World of Work
0800 917 8000

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