If you want to be the number one choice for a job, you’re simply going to have to put more effort in than other applicants. And that means knowing the difference between key aspects of your job application.

There’s seems to be so many things to think about: Should I be generic or do something a bit whacky to grab their attention? Do I call them Sir/Madam or their first name? How long should it be? And so on and so on. It’s overwhelming.

But don’t worry. JBA is coming to the rescue, and we’ll start with something small yet often overlooked: the application email.

“What do I say?”

You either want to tell the HR manager why you’re perfect for the role or attach a document which outlines this — never both. If you’re a wizard with words you should include a snappy subject line and a great paragraph or two within the email body that outlines your key skills, experience and any unique abilities you have. If you’re not so confident with words then opt for the more traditional approach of including an attached cover letter in document form.

Something simple and brief is key:
I’m aware that you are looking for a customer service representative with previous retail experience. I believe I could be what you’re looking for. I have attached my CV and cover letter to outline my suitability in more detail. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

“How do I address them?”

When it comes to how to start your email you want to do some research into the company tone and expectations. For this, you can look at the copy on their website, their social media accounts or email newsletters. This will give you a good indication of whether you want to go the Sir/Madam route or their first name.

“How formal should I go?”

Again, you’ll need to do a bit of research in order to know where you stand. That being said, recruiters will be reading hundreds of applications and having one that includes a bit of light hearted humour or personality is going to get you remembered. Just keep it appropriate obviously — no swearing or TMI, thanks.

“How long is too long?”

There is a general rule that any cover letter or attached document shouldn’t be longer than a single page and for good reason. Anything more than this you’re probably waffling, adding irrelevant information or — gasp — boring your recruiter to death. Take as much space as you need but make sure everything you’re saying is actually important to landing the job.

Now you just need to find you a job you love! Check out our job listings here.