Lightbulb Coaching

Applying for jobs can be a full-time job, get prepared.

There are lots of new ways to apply for a role.  For graduates and school leavers it is just the first hurdle to climb across in the search for the perfect role.

The good old CV

Send your CV with a covering letter seems simple enough.  Then come the questions:


  • Can the CV be more than one page?
  • Is there a “right” format?
  • Should I include a personal statement?
  • What if I have no work experience?

As an entry level applicant, it should be pretty easy to get everything you need to say into one page.

  • Don’t be tempted to use a massive font to fill up the page.
  • Go with an Ariel font 10.5/11.
  • The CV should be easy to read, bullet points help and be to the point.
  • Most people view a CV online, so scrolling isn’t quite the same as page turning.

If you have a personal statement, make sure the statement is backed up in the cv content.  Example, “I am an effective team player with leadership qualities”, what does this actually mean?  Your CV should evidence team activities and a role you played at a leadership level.  Same goes for the interview. Any statement you make about your abilities should be followed with an example of how you can evidence that statement.

Your qualifications/grades should be included, they speak for themselves so no need to add a pile of fluff around which topics you enjoyed most.  List in chronological order, the most recent at the top.

If you don’t have any work experience, list out activities you have taken part in at school/university, perhaps you played on a sports team, school band, school council, faculty society…. etc.  These activities demonstrate your willingness to get involved, learn new skills and network.  They also provide opportunities to give examples of putting your skills into action and say more about your character.

Online applications are a time sponge

You will spend hours competing these forms so make sure its worthwhile.  Only apply for roles that you really want and can fit into.  The scatter gun approach of applying for everything doesn’t work.

Online applications are designed to filter out the unqualified applicants so that the reviewer doesn’t have to look at 800 CV’s, only the 200 appropriate ones.


  • Pay attention to the words used in the job description, in the company values and vision/mission statement.
  • Apply these words in your responses, these are “killer words”. The algorithms are set up to pick up on certain words.
  • The free text boxes are there for you to elaborate on a point, so add enough content to get your message across.
  • One-line answers don’t cut it and be careful copying and pasting from other applications as it’s easy to leave in the wrong company name or role title.

Proof read and spell check before you hit send!

Video applications are becoming more popular but are not common.

If you decide to post a video application, think about your audience.  What will they expect to see?  Probably not you in your pyjamas in front of the bombsite you call your bedroom.  Blank walls offer no distractions to the viewer.

  • Present yourself the way you want to be perceived.
  • Speak clearly and adding subtitles is a nice touch.
  • com and offer this for free and really easy to use (no payment for this endorsement was made).
  • Get a trusted friend to help you get the job done, not the friend that will easily distract you into creating a YouTube Channel.

In Summary

Applying for your first role can be stressful and time consuming.  Don’t leave it to the last minute, treat it as part of your role.  You need to get this part done to move onto the next step.

If you get rejected, ask for feedback.  You may be lucky to receive some, so use it wisely.

You are offering your experience, your skills and knowledge to an organisation in exchange for money/sense of purpose/the benefits (whichever applies to you).  Like any transaction, we want value for money.  Be of value.

Some additional resources:

For more lightbulb moments, head over to, you can also find us on all of the media channels.