I have received numerous emails / PMs regarding the application and as much as I would like to get back to everyone in time I thought it might be easier if I write a blog post. There might be many points that you know already; in any case I tried to list what I think are the most important things to pay attention to when filing your application:
- Prepare a clean cut CV
Don´t forget that we have to screen many applications, so the easier you make the job for the people reading your CV, the better your chances are. How?
- List different sections (education, professional experience etc.) separately with clear headers
- Show dates prominently next to activity (don´t make it a hassle to find out whether you have graduated one months or five years ago)
- Follow chronologic order (preferably from today backwards in time for each section respectively)
- Make important details stand out (font, underline, italics)
- List your tasks in internships and specialization during your studies in bullet points
- Keep it concise
As we have to screen many applications, CVs of several pages (meaning more than two or max. three pages) might be hard to read thoroughly. As for the cover letter, I would suggest one page as the limit.
- Pay attention to detail
Remember that this is the first impression you make, so show your dedication by taking some extra time on reviewing your application.
- Avoid typos: Typos suggest that you have not read through your application and you probably don´t care too much. If necessary ask your mom to read it for youJ
- Don´t try to make documents become one single PDF file by scanning them in together. There are many PDF editor websites where you can integrate your files.
- Separate CV from cover letter. They are different documents so don´t put them consecutively on the same page.
- Bonus: Get the company name and the GP track name right and upload it to the right place. Also, uploading the right file is a plus ;)
- Keep it classy
It is your decision whether you want to have a photo on your CV or not but if you do, make sure to do it the right way. It might seem exaggerated that I point this out, however a not appropriate photo could give the wrong impression about anyone despite the best of intentions.
A CV photo should be:
- With an appropriate dress on (no hoodies or bikinis)
- Aimed at the face and shoulders (not full body)
- With a clear background (could be inside or outside but no bathroom tiles in the back)
- Decent quality
- Name document clearly when uploading
Example try to have file names like “Cover_letter_John_Smith.pdf” instead of “Sharkymike_v342_randomcompany_january_whateverblabla.pdf”
- Put effort into your cover letter
When writing your cover letter I strongly encourage you to take your time and:
- Read about the company and the industry and maybe just think about it for a couple of days
- Write about personal motivation and skills, but most importantly show where you could add value to the company. What you put down should answer two questions: Why would you like this job? and How could you contribute?
- If you have too many sentences starting with “I did …”, “I am…”, “I would…” you might want to reconsider the point above
- Don´t pressure yourself
Trying to include everything and handing in your application in two hours won´t do you any good. Try focus on what is relevant, e.g. highlight having taken a course in pharmaceutical marketing while leaving out having won third place at a poetry reciting competition in elementary school.
- Leave some time to reflect
Writing the cover letter and reading it a couple of days later, then changing something and reading it again will help you get the end result right. Which seems good today, might look completely different in a couple of days, so make sure you give yourself the possibility to revise your letter.
- Do an extra check-up
Do I have my personal details right? Did I read over all the documents? Are they all typo-less, informative and neat? Are they the right ones? Did I upload everything including transcripts and reference letters? Is it all clearly structured for the person screening it?
- Upload & Relax
At this point there is nothing left to change, so lay back and enjoy a job well-done. Don´t torment yourself over the details during the days to follow as it is pointless. In severe cases maybe eat some chocolate to decrease the stress factorJ