Most advertised jobs will be found online, and you will need to customise your application. So many people get it wrong.
They upload their generic CV with a brief cover note and then wonder why they aren’t getting shortlisted.
They aren’t doing the necessary preparation, so here’s guidance to follow.

 The best way to respond to a job ad you see online is to firstly print out a copy of the ad and grab a highlighter pen.

Let’s take a specific job ad as an example

Head of Resource Management – Solution Delivery –
For this particular ad there is a great deal of information, you are not always so fortunate to get a detailed brief to work from
Job Purpose
The role is accountable to the Head of Programmes, Projects and Resourcing and responsible for running the portfolio prioritisation and resource management processes for Technology.  To be successful, the role must develop and maintain strong relationships with Business IT Directors Heads of Solution Delivery (Inc. Test, Solution Architecture, Business Change, Programmes and Projects) in order to identify, capture and manage resource demand and supply across the Technology Organisation.   The Head of Resource Management is responsible for running the governance and reporting forums for resource management within portfolios, across Technology and into RMG forums such as the Quarterly Business Review.
The role will provide accurate and detailed information concerning demand and timing to resource suppliers, both internal and external in nature, in order to facilitate discussions that will match the correct skill to the demand.  Further responsibilities include managing the capital book projects resource prioritisation process, ensuring compliance with the headcount authority levels set by RMG, managing the organisational template changes for roles, descriptions and positions, running the on boarding and off boarding processes for the permanent and temporary resource pool, maintaining the eskills application and enforcing compliance with RMG policies concerning time reporting and resource authorisation processes.
Key Accountabilities

  • Manage day-to-day portfolio stakeholder relationships with Business Portfolio Directors, Technology Programme and Project Managers, Technology project teams, Heads of Technology delivery functions and suppliers;
  • Oversee the day-to-day planning and resource management approach for the Technology portfolio to ensure that it is in line with headcount authority and capital investment programmes;
  • Oversee the analysis of Technology resource prioritisation and project outlook to ensure that good resource management practice is embedded and timely upward reporting is focused on the right exceptions and escalations
  • Run the Governance forums that will support the Technology portfolio resource management processes, including supporting the brokering of shared resource arrangements across programmes/projects and addressing resource conflicts around critical inter-programme/project dependencies and interfaces;
  • Provide an effective and efficient cross technology resource management function through coaching, training delivery, sharing of lessons learnt and good practice with project managers. line managers and direct reports;
  • Oversee compliance with Time Reporting processes including chasing missing time reports, sending reminders, liaising with Finance to reconcile monthly submissions and providing reporting for senior stakeholders
  • Support resource management planning activities that will address critical capability gaps for the recruitment manager;
  • Manage the continuous improvement and skills transfer processes to embed lessons learnt for Resource management;
  • Develop key Resource Management communications and reports to support monthly reporting and governance cycles
  • Develop and maintain the Technology Organisational template, positions and roles and ensure compliance with overall headcount authorities provided by RMG
  • Oversee the Onboarding and offboarding permanent and temporary resource processes including seeking financial, HR and CIO approval.
  • Manage a team of 5 staff to operate Technology’s resource management processes

Key Competencies

  • Excellent influencing skills, this will include the ability to influence a wide range of different stakeholders including technical experts and business subject matter experts

  • Strong relationship building skills

  • Excellent communications skills

  • Strong attention to detail and excellent analytical and problem solving skills

  • Excellent knowledge and experience of portfolio management techniques

  • Excellent business knowledge and awareness, this will involve a good understanding of the working of Royal Mail Group and its business areas

  • Desirable, but not essential, to have good knowledge of financial and resource modelling and appraisal tools and techniques

  • Excellent planning skills to update project-level planning requirements, and provide critical programme/project resource planning support

  • Excellent degree of flexibility and adaptability and the ability to deal with ambiguity

  • Team management including vision and goal setting, process development, performance and line management


  1. Read through the job details and check you meet most of the job requirements.


  1. Highlight all key skills in the key competencies section and make sure these are listed on your CV if you have a skills section. You will need to provide examples to back this up so you can’t just list skills.


  1. Read through your CV and make sure you have at least one example against each of these skills.


  1. Look at the key accountabilities and again see if you can relate examples on your CV.

With this particular job you need to register on the company website. Once you have registered you can move through the basic details straight to application.
In most cases there will be an opportunity to include a cover letter or equivalent. For this take the key competencies and provide a clear example against each to make it clearer to the person doing the shortlisting how you match up.
This structured and systematic approach to applying for a job should inclrease your chance of getting shortlisted. Let me know how you get on.

Brought to you by Denise Taylor, Award winning Career Psychologist. Before you go … why not sign up for – The Career Discovery Initiative 7 day taster

This 7 day programme will give you an insight into how to answer the question, what is the best career for me?

Sign up and over the next week I’ll send you a different exercise each day from the Career Discovery Programme. Discover many useful insights to help you say yes, I can choose the best career for me. Read more at the Career Discovery mini site.


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Published On: June 10th, 2014 / Categories: 50+, Job Search /

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