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5 questions to ask yourself before applying for a vacancy

Laura Slingo at TopCV shares the top five questions you should ask yourself before applying for a vacancy.

There are thousands of job opportunities out there, but not every role will be the right opportunity for you. Before you spruce up your CV and apply for a job you like the look of, ask yourself these five questions to make sure the vacancy is worth your time and investment.

1. What am I looking for?

Before you apply for a vacancy, you need to have a solid idea of what it is you’re looking for in a job.

Consider the industry you want to work in, the job title you want, what you want to do day-to-day, the career progression opportunities, the salary and benefits package, the location of the ideal job, the type of contract, and the type of company.

While you’re unlikely to find a job that ticks all the boxes, it’s important to have your requirements in mind, ranked in priority order, so that when a vacancy does crop up, you are in a position to evaluate it accurately.

2. Do I fit the essential criteria?

Once you’ve found a job that looks about right, first work out if you are qualified for the role.

Most employers rank their expectations in the job description by ‘essential criteria’ and ‘desirable qualities’. In short, this means that to be qualified for the position, you must match the essential criteria. If you have the additional desirable skills, that’s just a bonus and mentioning these abilities on your CV will only strengthen your application.

To work out if you should apply for a vacancy, review the essential requirements. For example, if you’re looking for a fundraising officer role, a successful candidate may be required to have event management experience. If you fulfil the essential criteria, then you are clearly suitable for the job and should consider applying.

However, if you’re lacking in a few areas, you should think twice about submitting an application as you’ll likely be up against other applicants that are a better fit. Your time may be better spent looking for another vacancy that fits your skill set.

3. Are the responsibilities and duties the appropriate level?

Then take a deep dive into the day-to-day duties and responsibilities listed in the job description. Mull over each one carefully, not only thinking about whether you can carry out the duties, but also if they are tasks you want to do each day.

In addition, you need to check that the tasks listed are of an appropriate level for your ability. In the third sector, many jobs have the same title but can vary in the level of responsibility, especially in fundraising. Therefore, if you’re looking for a job as a fundraiser, for example, with a certain level of management, read the duties thoroughly to see if they offer the opportunities you’re looking for.

4. Am I happy with the salary and benefits package?

Salary is one of the biggest deciding factors when debating a vacancy, so it’s extremely important to consider it carefully. Make sure you have your ideal salary in mind, as well as the minimum amount you need to get by to pay the bills.

Seriously evaluate if what’s on offer is something you’d be happy with. Don’t forget to look at the benefits package too. Some employers offer a generous amount of work perks, such as a large number of holiday days, a free gym membership, and high-street discounts. Weigh up everything that’s on offer in line with the company, the duties, and your experience to see if it’s something you could work with.

5. Is the company culture a fit for me?

There is much more to finding a job than making sure that you are qualified and that it offers enough to pay the bills. As we spend nearly 100,000 hours working during our lifetime, it’s important to settle for a job that makes us happy.

A working environment that suits our personalities can help encourage a sense of workplace happiness. When reviewing the vacancy, conduct some research to see what type of culture the company endorses and if it’s a match for you. For example, if it’s a large organisation, it could have a corporate, formal feel, but if it’s a newly established organisation, it may have a more relaxed vibe.

Glassdoor, an anonymous employer review site, is a great resource for identifying the pros and cons of an organisation. Look to see what past employees think of the employer. If all seems well in your eyes, this job may be worth applying for.

TopCV offers a range of CV-writing services including expertly-written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. It is currently offering a free CV review to help you land your dream job.

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