The first thing you must do when you have found a job you wish to apply for is to research the employer.
Researching the company
Start you research as soon as you decide to apply. On your cover letter, you will need to say why you are keen to work for this particular employer. The more you know about them, the easier this is.
Here is a list of resources you can use, and what you might get from them:
The company website
Don't just stay on the recruitment pages.
There are other commonly available areas of the site that may provide useful information:
About us: Often has a description of the company's main activities, sometimes a history of the company.
Corporate Information: Usually contains information on the financial performance of the company, and may have annual reports available to view.
News or Press Releases: Usually contains up-to-date items that the company is proud of and wants people to know about etc.
Beyond the Company:
Look at the clients/consumers - if the organization has a list of clients, have a look at their websites too and check their performance.
Look at the sector - does the organization have competitors? How are they doing?
Generally try to keep up to date with news and general current affairs within the company's business area.
A good job applications is very important if you want to be in the group of people invited for a job interview. You cannot write your application in fifteen minutes - it takes time, and for each job you apply for, you must edit your application and CV.
Writing a good cover letter
Concentrate on why you want to do the job, and why they should want you.
Include information on why you want to work for that particular employer. This will show them you have done some research and have a genuine interest in the position.
Highlight key skills and achievements, but do not repeat detailed information that is in your CV. The cover letter should grab the reader's interest and make them want to find out more from the CV.
Don't make apologies for lack of experience. Keep the letter upbeat and enthusiastic, and let the employer decide whether your application is appropriate.
Writing a good CV
Always target the CV to the job you are applying for. For example, some of your course modules may be relevant for some jobs, but of little interest to employers in slightly different fields.
The same principle goes for your work experience: some skills and experiences will be more relevant than others, depending on the scope of the job.
Don't just list your skills - back them up with evidence of where you gained them.