Whether you're out of work and needing to write an urgent job application or you're considering a career change in a few months, writing a winning job application can be harder than it first seems. There are many traps to fall into if you're not careful.

Put your heart and soul into your application

While you may have a shopping list when it comes to your dream job, it is important to remember that you are not writing a shopping list! This is not an exercise in box-ticking. In researching and writing your application, you need to inject a sense of ‘who you really are’ and ‘what makes you tick’ into your application.

You are nothing more than a number

This might sound really brutal - but it is the truth. There are obviously variations depending on sector, but with living standards falling and people feeling the squeeze, demand for decent jobs is high. That means that your application may well be just one of a couple of hundred that your prospective employer has to wade through. If you want to stand a chance of getting to interview and surviving the initial 'cull', then your application needs to stand out from the crowd, and for the right reasons!

Tailor the application to the employer

Some candidates fall into the trap of assuming that they are going to walk into a good job simply by pinging out a CV and generic covering letter or uploading it in bulk to multiple job sites. You're better than this. Every application requires a personalised approach, which means including key points about the employer and the role in the application.

Read the job specification and build your application around it.

Two of the biggest - and amazingly common - mistakes are not bothering to fully read the job specification before applying, or not ensuring that the application addresses all of the core points within it. Remember that the job specification was written for a reason - employers need to hire someone who meets the requirements. Make sure that they can see that you are that person.

Embrace the journey.

Don’t take rejections to heart. There are many reasons why you mightn’t have made it to interview or been offered the job. The ability to recover from rejection and learn from it is what will eventually propel you into your dream job. View it as a learning curve and ask yourself if there is anything that you can do differently next time.

Ask for feedback.

While it isn’t always possible for employers to give feedback after an interview, they will often at least give you a couple of pointers that you can take away. If an employer is good enough to do this, then make sure that you respond professionally (even if you disagree with their reasoning).

Cast your net far and wide.

Don’t limit your search to just one area - this is especially relevant if you have been out of the job market for some time. We live in a very different world to the one that existed five or ten years ago. Make sure that you register with all of the online job sites, that you search Google, and that you embrace social media. LinkedIn is especially good for making valuable connections.

Good luck in your job search. You’ve got this!