How long does it take to write a good job application?

This is a common question asked by those looking to find work in Zambia. Spend too little time on an application and you run the risk that your application could be instantly rejected by an employer. Spend too much time on an application and you might miss the application deadline and leave insufficient time to apply for other jobs. In this exclusive article from Go Zambia Jobs we examine this question and suggest how long it might take to write a good job application.

What is a job application?

A job application refers to the information that you submit to an employer as part of the process of informing the employer of your availability, desire to be employed, and suitability for the role. There are many different forms a job application can take. These include: CVs, Cover Letters, Motivational Letters and various types of online and off-line competency based application forms. Different forms of job application will take different amounts of time to complete. However, some basic principles will apply. For example, in every job application it is vital to amend the application to meet the specific requirements requested by the employer. This is the only way to ensure that you meet the employers requirements. That is not to say that you cannot utilise some parts of previous job applications or your Master CV when applying for jobs. They key is to only use information that is relevant to the job and to add extra information that is specific to that job and employer.

What about speculative job applications?

Even when you submit speculative applications you should always amend each application to ensure that it is clearly meets the needs of the employer. Employers have little time for people who show no effort and just send the same application to 100’s of organisations. Preference is given to applicants who amend their application to the specific requirements of the organisation and role. This is especially important in Zambia where there is a high level of competition for most jobs.

Understanding the different stages involved in writing a good job application

In order to help answer the question “How long does it take to write a good job application?”, it can be useful to think about the different stages involved in writing a good job application. Check out the 6 stages listed below and think about whether you follow each stage and how long these stages may take.

  1. Initial reading of the job advertisement and identification of the correct application process
  2. Analysis of the job advertisement and identification and listing of the different requirements (skill requirements, academic requirements, knowledge requirements, experience requirements etc.)
  3. Matching the requirements with your own skills, qualifications, knowledge experience etc.
  4. Draft application matching requirements and using the correct application process
  5. Review and editing of application (additional review by family and/or friends if possible)
  6. Final application and submission

How long does it take to write a good job application?

Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on a number of factors including:-

  • The method of application
  • The amount of information requested by the employer
  • The ability of the person writing the application

The answer can therefore be anything from under an hour to several days. The key point is to spend some time amending every application to the requirements of the job advertisement. You will also need to work out how much time you should spend on an application to ensure that you submit a quality application, prior to the application closing date, whilst leaving sufficient time to apply for other jobs.

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