Ask ten experts how to write a good job application and you get ten different answers. A sure case: the application should tempt the employer to want to see you. Here are seven gripes that make all applications better. 

  1. Read your job ad carefully:
    If they ask something specific, be sure to answer it. If they ask you to attach something, always add this. If they ask for a short application, write cards. Please include your contact details.
  2. The application must be easy to read:
    Finish it, print it out, put it on the table and look at it. Does it look like something that is easy to read? Does it look structured? Can you glance or throw a look at it and sense some of the meaning? The biggest mistake is to stuff it so full that it becomes a jungle to find its way into.
  3. Avoid typos and sloppiness:
    Let someone else review and help you. 
  4. Never copy an application:
    Mass production does not work, the application must be adapted to the job you are applying for.  
  5. Answer what they ask and send what they ask for:
    Do not include all the details and diplomas if this is not a specific requirement. As a rule of thumb: send an application on one, max two pages, and a clear CV. The rest may come later.
  6. Describe why you are applying:
    Two things: What makes the position exciting for you? What makes you suitable for it?
  7. Always call if a contact person is provided:
    See the next section on why.

Refer to the conversation when writing the application. You build a bridge between the first call and the application and can point further towards a possible interview. Here is what it might look like in practice:

“I found the position exciting because I want to work in a small company where I can contribute to several areas. In the conversation with Kari Nilsen, she confirmed that the person hired must be open to work beyond their own field. This is exciting, I have also worked in two summer jobs, and can say more about this in an interview.”

Ideally, a job application should be a page, max two. Use short informative sentences, not long tiring formulations. Relatively short paragraphs are good. Keep in mind that it must be stated how they get hold of you and when you are available. Do you have work experience, name it, and what you learned? If you have certain areas of study, it must be included and why you chose as you did. The application should say something about you as a person, not just the professional. Consider that the application has three main parts:

  • Introduction: Create interest, say briefly why you are applying.
  • Main part: Your motivation, what makes you relevant, and why you fit.
  • End: They must remember you: say you want to meet them and learn more, that you hope you get to come for an interview.