Can, want, fit – how to be a good applicant

I’m in the process of developing a new workshop for researchers which will be called, ‘How to be a good job applicant’. It will address the questions I regularly get asked as well as highlight the common mistakes I see and enable me to share tips on how to avoid making them. Fundamentally it will encourage applicants to recognise that every employer is looking for more than the fact you can do the job. Whilst that is important and many mistakes are made in getting this bit right, applicants often overlook the issue of whether they want the job and how well they can demonstrate they will be a good fit for the team and the organisation.

Showing your motivation, enthusiasm and commitment to a particular job requires time and effort. You may have been putting that in for months through the research you have done into the field or the experience you have gained. It may be more recent, through networking and attending events or perhaps you are doing it now by conducting further research into the organisation advertising the role and taking the opportunity to find out more by speaking to the named contact and making a good first impression and seeking information from others that work there.

Regardless of the sector you are applying for, your level of success at reaching the interview stage is often directly proportionate to the effort you put in.

In a recent Wonkhe blog post, Peter Matthews, Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling, shares his advice on applying for academic jobs based on his experience of recruiting. Much of what he says is strikingly similar to my experience, and applies to jobs in a range of sectors, so I’d encourage you to have a read.


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