Part Three: Empower your resume! A step-by-step guide for a feminist job application.

So you’ve come across the perfect role, and you’re getting started on your application. But somehow, what’s in your head isn’t translating to paper. Getting your application right and efficiently communicating your interest and candidacy for the role will help you stand out from the crowd. So how do you go about it?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve pulled together a four-part series of top tips to guide you in writing an awesome (and feminist) job application!

Part Three: Tips for writing an attention-grabbing cover letter

1. Start by actually including a cover letter!

You’d be surprised by the number of applications that do not include a cover letter! Writing a cover letter is a non-negotiable and a no-brainer to securing an interview. It will help communicate why you’re the best fit for the position and will showcase who you are as a person beyond achievements on a resume. A good cover letter can set you apart from the thousands of other people who graduated from the same course at university, or have similar work achievements. You are unique and a cover letter is the time to shine!

2. Tailor your cover letter for the position or organisation

Make sure your cover letter highlights your suitability for THAT role and THAT organisation. If you submit something generic, don’t be surprised if the phone doesn’t ring!

For example, if you’re applying for a role with YWCA Australia, then you know that we’re a proudly feminist organisation. So, in your cover letter tell us why you’re a feminist, how you’re smashing the patriarchy and why you want to work for us. Tell us about the time you fought with your school to allow girls to wear pants as part of the school uniform, or the time you told off an old family friend for telling you to “be more ladylike”.

Try to draw out the skills you have learnt in different positions and highlight how they’ll help you in this role. It’s all about those transferable skills! For example, if you’re going for a PR role but your experience has only been in retail, explain how through your interaction with lots of different customers you can easily speak to people of all ages and backgrounds.

3. Grab the readers attention with a catchy opening sentence

An attention-grabbing first sentence is guaranteed to convince the hiring manager to read the rest of your application. Consider starting your cover letter with something snappy, interesting and passionate rather than just “My name is X and I’m applying for Y”. Snooze-ville! Try something like:

Having grown up in a non-native English speaking environment and very connected to my local young migrant community, I am an active advocate for inclusive ‘every person’ language, especially in feminist spaces. That’s why I’m excited about this opportunity to work with the Y.

My connection to your organisation and its mission is personal, dating back to the 1950s when my grandma was a member and informed me of how special to her it was. Seeing this opportunity come up felt like an opportunity to become closer to something that has always felt like home.

4. Tell the organisation why THEY need YOU

Most hiring managers already know what the organisation can do for you. Instead focus on what you can bring to the organisation. What skills do you believe will benefit the organisation? How will your can-do attitude support their team?

Use this opportunity to reflect on what unique skills you bring and don’t underestimate the value of diversity in viewpoints and lived experience to an organisation.

5. And finally, most importantly, please do it – spellcheck!

Little spelling or grammatical errors can, rightly or wrongly, be off-putting. If we had a dollar for every time someone used YMCA instead of YWCA, we’d have eradicated the patriarchy a long time ago. Microsoft Word has a handy spellcheck option – use it and proof-read, proof-read, proof-read!

If English is not your first language or you are otherwise not confident in your spelling (e.g. you have dyslexia), please consider asking a friend or family member to double check everything before hitting submit. If you’re a tertiary student, your university may also have a careers centre with people who can help.

Next up – tips to write the best ever bio!

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