Where to start? First, gather as much information as you can about the position and the organization as possible and print it off. You can collect information on the Internet, from the job advertisement, from the company's website and can even contact the organization and ask if they have a job description or any further information regarding the position which they can provide.
Now pour a cup of coffee and get yourself a highlighter and begin an informational review. Highlight any area which is relevant to your experience, skills, education, knowledge, values, beliefs, etc. Next, organize all of the highlighted areas into key themes.
Pour another cup and open up your resume and cover letter templates on your computer and start making the necessary adjustments to emphasize the key themes which you highlighted. If upon your review, you find that you are missing an important qualification for the role, address it in your application and provide a brief plan for overcoming this deficiency. Minimize any information on your resume and cover letter which the Selection Committee will find irrelevant, you want to keep their attention so that they read your entire application.
On to the third cup of coffee. This next recommended step would be to look at some of the company's public relations materials such as brochures, press releases, website, etc. You will find that most companies, as part of their brand, communicate in a specific manner, favoring certain words or statements and portraying a unique set of values and ethics; highlight these things. Again, you want to tweak your resume and cover letter to create a voice and feel which parallels that of the company. This step is often overlooked but is very important in demonstrating that as a candidate, you're a cultural match for the organization.
Now, go buy a few coffees and hand them out to your friends; ALWAYS have a second, third or even fourth pair of eyes have a look at your resume and cover letter before you send it out. You should try to pick a friend who has exceptional communication skills as well as one friend who is very detail oriented . Your detail oriented friend should be the last to review your application as they'll be best suited to pick up on the grammar and typos.
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