ACA 30 Years of Experience: Top Tips #1 Preparing Your Application

The new year often brings with it thoughts of change and improvements for the future. If you’re thinking of taking the next step in your career and finding your dream job in 2018, our series of top tips will prove invaluable! The first installment of tips looks at preparing your application.



Make sure you’re up to date with all the services and platforms which offer jobs. Most roles are now advertised online, whether through a recruiter (via their own or a recruitment site) or through networking sites such as LinkedIn. Some jobs get snapped up by word of mouth before they’re widely advertised, it pays to maintain your networks and keep your ear to the ground. A personal recommendation from a mutual contact goes a long way in securing a meeting or interview, this is doubly true if you’re using a good recruiter. The best recruiters have a large contact book of clients and candidates and are consummate matchmakers; they can expertly tailor the candidate list to the employer’s search criteria and give the candidates invaluable insight into the company and individuals they’re meeting.

Research can make or break an application and interview. Make sure you do lots of background research about the company to which you’re applying.Good places to start your research include the company’s own website, press reports, Companies House ( as well as trade press and search engines.



You need to tailor your CV to each application ensuring that your skills and experience match the job spec. You should ideally be able to do this completely, if there are large gaps or mismatch consider whether you should be applying at all. At interview, you’ll likely be asked to describe your skills and experience in the context of the role for which you’re applying, so remember there’s a big difference between polish and embellishment! Ensure that you include all your contact details on your CV.

Some applications require a cover letter whereas others do not; regardless it’s always best to have a short covering note of some kind, even if it’s just a few lines in an email to which your CV is attached. If you can, make it personal by using the name of the person to whom your application is directed, the cover note should briefly describe how your experience and skills match the role and can include a few key details such as your notice period.



If this is your first change of roles in a number of years you might be a little rusty. It’s worth working through your CV and thinking about how to best present yourself and your experience. Think about the types of questions you might be asked at interview and how you would answer them, it might help to have a run through with a friend. On a personal note, ensure that you’re well groomed and your appearance matches the new role you’re applying for. If it’s time to upgrade the wardrobe, don’t leave it too late – first impressions are crucial!