Don't be a rookie
The most common rookie mistake is forgetting getting to know the company you're applying at. Research, use LinkedIn and call the company.
Companies like to know why you think their specific company is interesting. And you need to give them a good answer, so you need to know the company well. Follow these steps and prepare to write your application:
1) Get to know the company
When you're interested in applying for a job in a company, it's a good idea to "stalk" them. You have gotten really far if you can find answers to these questions:
- How has the company evolved within the last 3-5 years?
- In which direction in the company going within the next 3-5 years?
- What are the company values?
2) Get to know the employees
Do you know which competences and tasks that the employees have? If not, LinkedIn is a very useful tool. Maybe you have contacts in your network that can introduce you to an employee in the company? Use teh opportunity to ask:
- What's it like being an employee there?
- Why do you think it is a good place to work?
3) Grab the phone and call them
This is the most important effort. It's hard but it pays off! Before you call you need to prepare a couple of questions that you would like to ask. Get help and examples of good questions.
Where to get the information you seek:
- The company's own website:
It represents the company and their values. What's important for you to know? What do they emphasize about themselves? How do they try to stand out from their competitors?
- Company and market databases:
Use the University Library's guide to find relevant companies. They can give you access to a range of information such as stats, financial statements, and the number of employees. You can also find companies that have relations to other countries, such as your home country.
Use it to see how the company has been promoted in the media. Get access through the University Library.
More and more companies use LinkedIn actively, both as a tool to find new employees but also to share information about themselves. You can find information on the company, who works there and in whcih department. By following relevant companies you will get continous updates on what is going on in the company. Which companies do you follow and are there others that could be interesting for you ?