There is lots of advice online about how to build a CV, download CV templates, how to write a cover letter, do’s and don’ts for your application, and how to write an application for an environment sector role.
To add to it all, here are five top tips from Synchronicity Earth about how to make your application stand out:
- Let the requirements on the job advert provide a template for your cover letter. Often recruiters will be assessing applications against the ‘Required skills and experience’ list on the advert, so try to make sure that your application addresses as many of these requirements as possible. If there are a few which you don’t have, don’t let that put you off. Your application may still be very strong without it, and you can address the gap either by showing how you have faced a similar challenge before (e.g. learning a new skill), talking about a ‘transferable skill’ which may be useful even though you don’t have direct experience, or by showing an eagerness to learn in your interview.
- Show, rather than tell. Rather than describing your skills (e.g., I am a skilled communicator) or generalising your experience (e.g., I am a dedicated nature-lover), think about how you can prove these traits by writing about what you have done (e.g., I managed the hockey club’s social media accounts for two years. I have been a member of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust since 2020 and have visited eight of their reserves.).
- Research the organisation. A sentence or two sprinkled into your cover letter which prove that you have researched the organisation beyond the job advert will go a long way to showing that this job is a particularly special opportunity for you. Look at the organisation’s ‘news’ or ‘blogs’ pages or their social media to find recent projects or achievements that you can reference, or similarities between their work and your previous experience.
- Talk through your application with a friend or relative. We often tend to ‘undersell’ ourselves, and so asking someone who knows you well to look over your application can be a good way to make sure you are not leaving out anything which could help you stand out.
- Leave enough time before the deadline to edit. After you have finished writing your application, leave it for a day or so before coming back to read it over, checking that it flows well and makes sense, then doing a final spelling and grammar check.