Elite Editing is currently in the middle of a major hiring round for new editors. And although advice on how to apply for jobs is available in abundance, we’ve found that even highly qualified applicants make errors that can lose them the job. So we thought it might be useful to remind you about the most important errors to avoid to give yourself the best chance of success.
Follow the instructions!
If an applicant hasn’t taken the time to read the job ad correctly and shown that they can follow clear instructions, they aren’t going to make the best first impression. Be sure to address the application to the correct person, submit it in the correct manner, and send everything that is required. If you are asked to write a response to the selection criteria, be sure to do so. Don’t assume that you will address everything in your cover letter.
Meet the criteria
If the job ad is very specific that you must meet minimum criteria and you don’t meet those criteria, don’t apply for the job. If you aren’t sure whether you are right for the position but are very enthusiastic, make an enquiry or an expression of interest first before applying. It can be helpful to structure your cover letter or CV to respond specifically to each selection criterion, point by point. This will demonstrate to the employer just what a good fit for the job you are.
Job applications with typographical, grammatical or other errors, or that are poorly formatted, tell your employer that you haven’t taken adequate time to prepare your application or, worse still, that you don’t have the skills to prepare one that is error free. This is especially important for people applying for jobs as editors specifically, or in the fields of education, communications and publishing in general. (And remember, you can always have your job application professionally edited!)
If you are using the same job application template to apply for multiple jobs, be sure that you modify it correctly for each job. Each application should contain the correct details and be explicitly relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Be respectful and ask the right questions
Remember that your potential employer will be a very busy person and won’t appreciate being asked questions about the position that you could have easily found the answers for yourself by doing research on the position. After reading the job ad, read your potential employer’s website and do any other relevant research that you can.
If you do need to contact your potential employer, be respectful. Ask if they have a moment to speak to you and make sure you ask intelligent questions that demonstrate you have researched the employer and the advertised position.
And remember, it isn’t seen as polite to ask about rates of pay as the very first question, or as the only question. Your potential employer will know of course that everyone has to work to live, but likely won’t be looking for employees whose sole interest in the position lies in the rate of payment.
Updated 27 May 2023
Emily Finlay, PhD, AE (IPeD)