Applying for a job

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Applying for a job


A high-quality application requires careful thought and effort. Time spent developing your application can attract the attention of employers and give you the opportunity to gain an interview.

Identify your skills

Identify the skills, knowledge and experience that you offer a potential employer. Think about your:

  • personal qualities (eg willingness to learn, commitment, dependability)
  • skills developed through life experiences (transferable skills), and
  • skills developed from your degree.

Your job application

Organisations often receive hundreds of applications for a single job advertisement. On average, it is estimated that employers will spend no more than 15 seconds on each application in the initial selection process. It is important that your application is easy to read and understand.

Know your audience

Each organisation has a different approach to recruitment. Understand your audience and tailor your application.

Sometimes a creative approach might be appropriate. At all times following the instructions in the job advertisement is essential. Read advertised positions carefully and use your judgement as you look for ways to make your application stand out.

Your resume

Your resume is a very important self-marketing tool. Depending on your chosen career path and the stage in your career, the format you use may change but the following tips can be helpful in most situations:

  • start writing early and add to your resume over time
  • check all spelling and grammar
  • keep it simple and easy to understand
  • be specific and avoid vague statements
  • include key accomplishments from your work and study experience
  • ensure the highest standards of professional presentation
  • do not use fancy fonts or coloured or textured papers that may not print or photocopy well
  • if providing a hard copy, avoid binders and folders. A paperclip or staple in the top left corner is sufficient
  • think about your email address and the impression it sends - ensure it is professional
  • be truthful. Short term gains from stretching the truth disappear quickly if you don't make it through the probationary period.
Get it checked

Another set of eyes to look over your application can provide important feedback for improvement. Friends, family and professional contacts can help as can USC's Career Advisors.

Have your cover letter, resumé and other job application documents checked. You can submit your documents for review in your own time without having to make an appointment. Go to Student Hub Online job application check and upload your documents. Documents are reviewed and returned with comments and/or suggestions for changes.

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