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Resources for Preparing a Job Application

Present yourself in a professional manner when applying for new jobs. Our customizable templates ensure your resume and cover letters are clear and effective.

Essential templates for your job search

These templates can help you apply for and secure a job. If you are switching jobs, we can even help you create a Resignation Letter.

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Step 1

Resignation Letter

A Resignation Letter provides legal notice to your employer of your departure from the company.

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Step 2

Cover Letter

A Cover Letter is used to inform potential employers of the position you are applying for and why your application is worth consideration.

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Step 3


A CV Builder is a tool that generates a custom, formatted curriculum vitae based on the information you enter about your past work experience, skills,...

Last updated October 30, 2023

Applying for a job is a task that everyone will encounter in their life. Whether you’re looking for your first job or making a career change, job hunting can feel overwhelming. However, there are parts of the job search you can control to ease that insecurity, and that is your application.

This guide provides tips for creating a job application to help you achieve your interview goals.

There isn’t a single formula employers use to create a job posting. Each application you complete will feel like a new experience. Even similar jobs will have different skill requirements depending on what the employer wants in a candidate. 

The biggest thing to remember while job searching is to customise your application whenever you apply to a new position. Sending a generic curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter won’t help you stand out.

What is a job application?

A job application is a document, or package of documents, sent to an employer to outline your experience and skills for an open position.  Some essential documents you’ll want to have ready for an application include:

  • Your CV
  • Cover Letter
  • Reference list
  • Letter of Recommendation

Some recruiters will ask you to fill in their application form when you send your documents. Your CV and cover letter are the first impression recruiters will have of you.

Filling in a job application

Application forms can include questions on your capability and motivation as a candidate. However, an employer will also cover some of the basics in their form. When filling in your application, remember the following key details:

  • Your contact information
  • The position and job title you are applying for
  • Desired salary
  • Reasons for leaving your current position
  • Work history

There isn’t a single way to complete an application; each employer will have a different application process. As such, it's important to consider strong application practices when applying for jobs. 

Do's and Don'ts on a job application

You may be sending multiple applications while searching for a new job. It is important to remember what you should and shouldn’t do throughout the process. Keep in mind the following:


  • Research the company. Knowing the company and the position you’re applying for ensures you include all the information you need to give the employer.
  • Have all your information ready. Writing out important information beforehand will save you time searching for specific details.
  • Use the STAR method to give employers examples on your application. Think of the following:

Situation: What situation or challenge did you face?

Task: What task was given to you to do?

Action: What actions did you take to achieve the task?

Result: What was the outcome of the actions you took? Did it benefit the company, and was there quantifiable results?

  • Be positive about your skills, experience, and education for employers to feel confident in your abilities.


  • Don’t rush. Take your time and double-check everything. Read all the questions thoroughly and check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Don’t be wordy or use unnecessary jargon. Be concise and clear throughout your application.
  • Don’t apply if you are overqualified or don’t meet the job requirements.
  • Don’t be vague if there are multiple job openings. Tell them the exact position you’re applying for.

Applying these practices will help you produce a high-quality job application that employers and recruiters will want to read.

Finding job opportunities

Nowadays, most advertised job opportunities are online, which benefits job hunters greatly. It gives you more opportunities to find a new position and allows you to filter searches by keywords to narrow down the lengthy list of job postings.Places you can find job postings online are:

  • Career services through government sites
  • Job boards on company and third-party sites, like Monster, Indeed and Reed
  • University career services for students and recent graduates
  • Networking sites like LinkedIn
  • Recruitment agencies hired by companies to manage applications
  • Newspaper and online news sources’ job listings

Not all jobs are listed or advertised to the public. You will need to contact a company to find more offline opportunities. You can do this by:

  • Going to networking events to find recruiters
  • Attending job fairs

Speaking directly to an employer via phone or in person

What is a CV?

CV is the abbreviation for curriculum vitae. A CV is a brief look into your experience, skills, and education. You include your CV in a job application to show employers you meet the requirements for the position.  

What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

A resume is a smaller document typically used in the United States and Canada. An employment CV is slightly longer and is the choice of employment document in the United Kingdom. Both CVs and resumes highlight an applicant’s qualifications and experience for a position.

The only significant difference between a resume and a CV is when you create an academic CV. For academics, a CV showcases their work and studies when applying for post-grad or research positions and has no limit to its length.

How to write a CV for a job application

Creating a CV is unique to you. It documents all your essential information for employers, but it is also what can make you a standout candidate. A CV includes:

  • Contact information
  • Professional work experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Career objectives

A tip for creating your CV is to make it as concise as possible, as employers only spend seconds looking at it. A CV should be about two pages in length, three max. As you write your CV, remember to categorise the important sections of your document.

LawDepot’s CV Builder helps you easily create your CV based on what you need to emphasise to employers, and it allows you to download, save, and edit at it anytime.

What contact information to include on your CV

Your contact information includes your name, phone number, and email address. Your postal address is optional. 

Always use a professional-looking email address. 76% of employers disregard candidates with unprofessional emails. Create a professional-looking email if you don’t already have one, but do not use your current work email.

How to list your work experience on your CV

Your work experience should always start with your most recent position. 

You should tailor your CV with work and volunteer experience relevant to the job opportunity. Briefly describe your primary duties and responsibilities in your past positions. For positions most similar to the job you’re applying for, emphasise what you did in the role using action words. Examples include:

  • Prepared campaign materials and leaflets for promotional use.
  • Upgraded the company accounting software to a user-friendly system.
  • Surpassed sales targets and increased revenue and profitability for the company.
  • Demonstrated product efficiency for future and returning customers.
  • Performed routine inspections to uncover system failures or issues.
  • And more

How to list your education on your CV

Your education is necessary for your CV as it showcases your achievements outside the workforce and your ability to learn new skills. If you have little to no work experience, your education will be higher up on your CV. When you list your education, include:

  • Name of the school
  • Type of degree
  • Field of study
  • Completion date of the programme

Including distinctions in your CV is optional. If they are relevant to the position and demonstrate positive results for your education, you can include them. In addition to your courses, list any relevant academic achievements and awards.

Which skills to put on your CV

The skills you list on your CV should be relevant to the job description. These attributes stand out to employers as they show what capabilities you can bring to the position. You will divide your skills into:

  • Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that employers find valuable in candidates. Determining your soft skills requires a more self-analytical approach. Some of the most common soft skills include attention to detail, creativity, decision-making, and leadership.
  • Hard skills come from your past work experience, education and training. Many hard skills are industry-specific. For example, if your training is in digital marketing, you will include skills such as using Adobe, social media, search engine optimization, and content strategy.

Additional information you can add to your CV

You can add further details to your CV if they apply to the job posting. These additions include:

  • Work samples such as portfolios of work, websites, reels, etc.
  • Personal interests like hobbies that provide transferable skills.
  • Career objectives to show potential employers your employment or career goals.

Alter your CV for specific employers

Always tailor your CV to the job application. Highlight specific skills that will stand out to employers. 

For example, Jordan has experience in childcare and administrative positions and is applying for a new receptionist role. Jordan can focus on emphasising their skills from previous administration roles, and include less of their childcare experience. 

However, any transferable skills are good to highlight to employers! They expand on your positive traits as a potential employee.

What happens if you lie on your CV?

It can be tempting to embellish your CV, but it is considered fraud in the UK to lie on your CV and application. Under the Fraud Act of 2006, employers can dismiss anyone who lied on their CV. In extreme cases, you may even face prosecution.

What is a Cover Letter?

A Cover Letter introduces you to the hiring manager and demonstrates why you’re the best candidate for the job. Cover letters express your interest in the position and highlight your professional skills and relevant experience.

Employers appreciate the time and effort candidates put into a well-written cover letter. A cover letter gives them a better understanding of who you are as a candidate.

How to write a Cover Letter for a job application

Cover letters need to be engaging and show confidence in your ability to do the job. Always research the role and company to tailor your cover letter accordingly. Key skills and experience relevant to one application may not apply to another. 

Your cover letter should include:

  • Company contact details
  • Your contact details
  • A greeting to the hiring manager
  • The position you are applying for at the company
  • Why you want to work for the company
  • Summary of previous experience relevant to the job
  • Examples of your skills
  • Closing statement with a call to action

You must proofread your cover letter! Check for spelling, grammar, and clarity before sending it with your application.

How to address a Cover Letter

If you know the hiring manager’s name, you should address your cover letter to them. If you don’t know who you are sending your application to, use “To Whom It May Concern,”.

LawDepot’s Cover Letter template lets you choose whom you address it to, or you can use a generic greeting if you don’t know the recipient's name.

How long should a Cover Letter be?

An average cover letter is three paragraphs long. LawDepot’s Cover Letter template helps anyone not confident writing a cover letter tailor one for their application. Your sections should follow this general structure:

  • Paragraph 1: an introduction stating the position you are applying for
  • Paragraph 2: examples of your skills and experience
  • Paragraph 3: reinforcement that you’re a good match for the job

A cover letter needs to be concise and to the point. Only include relevant information. To help open further conversations, sign off your cover letter with a call to action that prompts employers to reach out for the next step in the interview process. Here are some examples:

  • Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to learning more about the role and (insert company name).
  • I look forward to any opportunity to discuss the position and what I can bring to the company.
  • Thank you for your consideration. I’m excited to learn more about how I can contribute to (insert company name).

How to get past application screening software

Employers use screening software to help narrow down candidates for interviews. Unfortunately, some strong candidates are filtered out by this software due to submitting untailored CVs and Cover Letters. Writing your application to get past this software includes:

  • Using keywords from the job description 
  • Adding action words to your descriptions
  • Naming the file with your name
  • Only applying to relevant positions
  • Avoiding complex formatting like unnecessary tables or text boxes
  • Using clear, traditional headings and section titles
  • Including a skills section

Don’t lie on your application and CV to get past screening software. Be honest and focus on the skills and experience you can bring to the position.

Laws that protect job applicants

While you apply for work, remember that employers must follow equal opportunity laws when recruiting. Discrimination laws protect permanent, freelance, part-time, and full-time employees. Protection for equal opportunities covers:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy and maternity leave
  • Marital status

Employers cannot ask for information revealing protected characteristics in the hiring process. The more knowledge you have on your rights, the higher the likelihood you will receive more equal opportunities in the workplace.

The Equality Act of 2010 is the primary legislation for antidiscrimination and equal opportunities in England, Wales and Scotland. The  Employment Rights Act of 1996 and the National Minimum Wage Act of 1998 also defend workers’ rights.

Northern Ireland has multiple acts and orders against discrimination. The Equality Commission of Northern Ireland was established through the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 to facilitate legislation against discrimination through the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997 and many more legislations.

The European Human Rights Act of 1998 is also significant in ensuring no discrimination takes place, including in employment matters. The Act provides that it is illegal to discriminate based on any of the following grounds: sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, or other status. 

Waiting to hear from an employer

One of the hardest parts of job hunting is waiting to hear the outcome of your application. It typically takes two weeks to receive a response to an application, but it can be longer. Remember, each company has its own process when considering candidates. 

In the meantime, there are things you can do to help your application and get more opportunities. One thing to do is continue your job search. The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances of getting an interview. You can also collect your references so if the hiring team asks for any, you are prepared.

What is a job reference?

A job reference is a statement someone provides to an employer to confirm your work or education history. References are essential for employers to verify your work ethic and history before bringing you onto their team. 

Prepare a reference list

A Reference List organises your references with their contact details, role, and company. Employers typically ask for two to three references during the interview process. However, you don’t usually send your references until the hiring manager asks for them. Creating a reference list ahead of time ensures you’re ready when employers ask for them.

LawDepot’s Reference List helps you easily organise all your references’ details into a single document.

Who can be a reference?

References are usually someone you know professionally or academically. Your references should include someone from your most recent place of work or education. The following people can be a reference:

  • A manager
  • Human resources team member
  • Supervisor
  • Colleague
  • Client
  • Tutor
  • Professor
  • Mentor

Avoid putting down information for family members or spouses as a reference. A friend can be a character reference on rare occasions. Having references from your professional or academic experience is best for job applications. 

How to ask someone to be a reference

As a common courtesy, you must ask permission to use someone as a reference. Give your reference time to consider your request and decide without being too pushy. To help with the process, tell your reference the role and name of the company you’re applying for, if possible. Providing them with as much detail as possible lets your reference know what information to include in their response.

Always follow up with a thank you to your references once you have submitted your reference list. The courtesy will allow you to reach out again in the future.

If you want to include a reference with your initial application, ask for a Letter of Recommendation from your current or previous employer.

How to follow up on an application

Waiting to hear back from an employer is the hardest part of job hunting. Give it at least two weeks before you follow up on your application. An employer can receive countless applications and needs the time to review them all.  

You can follow up on your application via email or phone, but email is the best option. Showing up in person can be considered pushy or intimidating and can even set you up for an awkward moment if they have already passed on your application. 

Be polite, professional, and precise in your follow-up, and you may stand out from the other candidates. The goal of following up is to highlight your interest in the position and your skills. In your message, include the following details:

  • A clear subject line
  • Your name
  • The job title you applied for
  • Your interest in the company and job
  • What you can bring to the position

Signing off your email with a call to action opens more discussion and expresses your interest in the position. However, as long as you take the time to write a strong application to reflect your skills in a positive manner, you can trust you gave yourself the best chance of landing an interview.