How not to apply for a job in IT...

Tessa Dempsey
Posted by Tessa Dempsey

How not to apply for a job in IT - Netmatters

As we open up our Scion Scheme even further, we wanted to put together a list of tips to help you get the best out of your application for a place on the scheme, or any new job – based on our experience recruiting over the last decade or so.

Applying for a job or training position is one of the hardest things to do, you will go through rejection and you will have moments of elation. For most jobs, hiring managers have a good selection of qualified candidates and because of this, your application is the first thing that will allow you to sell yourself to your future employer.

Your potential future employer wants to quickly identify the best applicants for their role, so their goal is to reduce the applicant pool. With over a decade of experience recruiting for our own team, we have put together some top tips to help you get the best out of your application, and a look at some of the things you should probably stop doing!

Stop applying for jobs you don’t really want!

Let’s be honest at some point during a job hunt we have all done this. You see a role at a company you are not particularly excited about, regardless of this you still send in a half-hearted application and you feign surprise when you are not invited to the next stage of the application.

Contrast this with an application you might have done for a job that you really want, in this instance, you put in more effort, and employers can see this.  If you apply for a job just for the sake of applying, you are only doing yourself a disservice as you could put that energy into applying to the role you want.  

Start treating every interaction with the company as a sales pitch

When you are applying for a position at a company, you should act as though any contact you have with the business you are applying to is part of the application. Every email and phone call will be a chance to paint yourself in a positive light and demonstrate what you can bring.

There are a number of things you can do here to ensure you are memorable (for the right reasons) and make the most of every opportunity. For example:

  • Proofread every email for both grammar/spelling, but also for tone and intent
  • Ensure you are engaging and positive on the phone
  • Be polite and courteous whenever you speak to anyone in the business, not just the hiring manager.

Stop applying for jobs you aren’t qualified for

If the job vacancy has clearly stated that you need certain qualifications, make sure you have them or are at the very least working towards those qualifications. Applying for jobs you are not qualified for will work against you, even if you land the role you could find yourself in a position of losing the role because you can’t complete the work and you are back to square one. 

Start dressing the part

Dressing to impress is not something you just worry about when it comes to the interview. So many roles now required candidates to make short videos about themselves or initial video calls for screening.

Even if the company you want to work for has a casual dress code, you should always dress smartly. It is better to be overdressed and confident than too casual and uncomfortable. You don’t want to be remembered for being the only candidate who did their screening call in a dressing gown. 

This will also apply in an interview situation, whether it is face to face or via a video. Don’t assume that because it is a casual company, or that the interview is via a video call that you should dress down. Besides, dressing with confidence will fill you with the same.

Stop exaggerating (Thou shall not lie)

When applying for a job honesty is the best policy, if you don’t have the experience, availability, or references required, be upfront. Lying during the application process will inconvenience you and the potential employers when the lie unravels.

It’s important that you take into account the role that you are applying for when answering your questions though – if you are applying for a tech role you probably don’t want to tell the recruiter that your dream job is working with animals.

Start taking notice of where the role is based

For entry and mid-level positions, most businesses will be looking to hire locally. Whilst many businesses have undertaken remote working during the recent pandemic, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be expected to go into the office. Unless the advert explicitly states this is a remote working role only you should at least be aware of where the office is and whether you can get there. If you get a role and making it to work is difficult this could affect your work.

Stop winging the interview

Once you have secured an interview that is when the hard work really starts! Firstly, congratulations, you’ve done a great job this far, now take your time to ensure you leave the best possible impression and give yourself every opportunity of getting the job. There are a number of things that you can do to help you in an interview situation – whether that is face to face, or, as is increasingly likely at the moment via a video.

  • Research the company and the role – a simple Google search will help you to identify the culture of the company, the structure, the type of work they do, etc. Make sure you understand what the role will entail and be prepared to answer questions about your ability to do the role.
  • Think about the kinds of questions you want to ask – don’t forget that an interview is your chance to get to know the company as much as for them to get to know you. Remember what we said before though about making sure that every interaction paints you in a positive light. Your questions should be thought-provoking and show that you have thought about the role.
  • If it is a video call make sure that you are prepared – Sit in a neutral, well-lit space and make sure you can’t be interrupted. Ideally, you should make sure that the space behind you is clear and not distracting. If you can run a test of the call with someone that would be really useful, make sure you can be heard and the video works well for you.
  • Smile! Be natural and be yourself, hiring managers will understand that you are nervous and take it into account, but remember at the end of the day you need to show who you are and why you are a good fit for the team.


In conclusion, whilst applying for a job or training position can be one of the hardest things to do but as long as you focus on selling yourself as best as you can, you will have more success.

We are currently looking to help people gain web design and programming skills with our Scion scheme. If you are looking to change career or looking for a new skill to make you more employable our Scion scheme might be for you. The course takes around 3-6 months to complete and has a 95% success rate.

As part of the course, we help you avoid some of the pitfalls reviewed in this article. We will provide you with training for writing your CV, interview techniques, and actual mock interviews to prepare you for the real thing. So, if this sounds like your kind of thing then why not put some of the above tips in action and apply for a place?

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