You've finally decided to look for a new job. You've targeted a few positions in reputable companies and written a resume for each position (Read our "Resume Writing Tips"). Now what?

Tips on Filling In Application Forms

To apply for some jobs, all you have to do is pass a resume and wait for a call for interview. Some companies, however, have their own application form that you have to fill up before they consider you for employment. Having all applicants answer the same set of questions allows hiring managers to assess specific facets, so that all applicants can be systematically compared with each other.

Here are some tips for filling in job application forms:

Answer all the questions. Unfortunately, job hunters do not put the same care when filling in application forms as they do when writing their resume. Sometimes in your haste, you’ll skip a question or give an answer that does not match the query. Avoid errors like these by carefully reading through the application form and making sure you understand each question before even beginning to answer.

Proofread your answers. Typographical and grammatical errors show carelessness, and more often than not, simple errors like these cost you the opportunity to land an interview.

Get feedback. After filling up the application form, ask a mentor, career advisor or a friend with relevant knowledge to look over your answers.

The Importance of Cover Letters

There are many resources on the Internet about how to write a good cover letter. What these sites won’t tell you is why the cover letter is so important, other than a vague ‘to get a job’. There is even debate among hiring managers about the importance of cover letters. There are, however, specific instances wherein a cover letter can help you land an interview and get that job you want:

To explain why an employer should hire you. Fresh graduates with no work experience should always have a cover letter with their resume detailing how their skills and education will benefit the company they wish to work for.

To address a weakness relative to the position you want. If you don’t have the specified education or are lacking a required credential, a well-written cover letter will let you point to experience or equivalent training that makes you suitable for the position. To explain a career change. Don’t make employers wonder why you’re seeking employment in a completely different field or industry. Explain, in positive language, why you want employment that is different from your old job, and detail experience and trainings you’ve had that are relevant to the new job.

To highlight skills, experience, and areas of expertise that hiring managers are looking for. Think of the cover letter as an opportunity to sell yourself. A good cover letter written specifically for a particular job will show you in the best possible light and can persuade a recruiter to call you for an interview.

Next read our article on finding the best jobs.