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Posted by annie on January 26, 2012

Dummies Guide to Applying for Positions Online

When you’re submitting your CV for a role you’ve seen online, always take some time to write up a few sentences on why you feel you’re the right person for the role.  Often we get hundreds of candidates applying for the same role, and we’ll shortlist your CV so much quicker if the email body describes you as being the perfect person for a role.

Don’t save this introduction in a separate document and then send us a CV and an introduction – just type the introduction in the body of the email.

The biggest mistake you can make is to tell us you’re right for the role because you’re hardworking, punctual, and reliable – can you imagine reading that 100 times a day?  It makes us want to pull our hair out.  We want to see that you have the necessary experience.  So you need to look at the requirements section of a job ad and respond based on that.

So let’s say the ad goes something like:

In order to apply for this role you'll have an IT related degree and hopefully have worked for 1 to 2 years in an IT type role - e.g. desktop support.

You will have advanced Excel literacy skills - from advanced formulas, charts, pivot tables and get a kick out of using Excel to identify fashions and trends. You'll also have advanced Powerpoint skills.

Experience / understanding of HTML, Flash and Javascript is essential and if you have any experience in 3rd party Ad serving tools such as DFA, Atlas, Eyeblaster) and paid search (AdWords, MSN, Doubleclick search) - then our curiosity is definitely piqued!

You need to have a superior personality - you'll be extremely well presented, well-spoken and well written. You'll be energetic, self-motivated, love working with people, and love finding solutions to problems. You'll also be highly organised and analytical.

In short we’re looking for a technical guru, able to learn new applications really quickly – and that needs to be combined with outstanding interpersonal skills and raw hunger to succeed and achieve in your career.

Your cover page should then say something like this:  

I studied for a BSc in Computer Science at UCT and graduated in 2011.  Since then I’ve gained 1 years’ experience at Smiths Technology supporting Office Applications.  I love using Excel – and have gained great skills here including some advanced formulas such as @if and GoalSeek.  I find Powerpoint easy to use.  My HTML skills are good – I have designed websites using just HTML raw code and I’ve gained some exposure to Flash and JavaScript at Varsity.  I don’t know much about Adserving and Paid Search tools but I’m quite passionate about digital marketing, learn really quickly and feel I can get up to speed quickly here.  I love technology – and love learning new applications and getting to know everything possible about the applications I work in.  I’d love to set up an appointment with you as soon as possible to explore this opportunity further.


When applying for a role – make sure that you actually meet the requirements.  And that doesn’t mean it needs to be 100% match.  For example – if we’re advertising that a degree is necessary for a role – and you meet all the requirements except for having a degree – we probably still want to explore the opportunity with you.

If you meet with all the requirements in one of our ads, then always phone after you have sent your CV and ask for an appointment – we like candidates that are eager.

Including your current salary and your salary breakdown, as well as your notice period in this introduction, helps us shortlist a lot faster.    

Annie Mercer Placements does not advertise salaries!!  We always know what the salary parameters are for a role and can tell you immediately if your expected earnings are within our client’s budget. 

The reason we don’t advertise salaries is simple – if we’re recruiting for a client, and someone from the same company happens to read our advertisement and recognise it – he or she will know immediately what their colleagues are earning and that causes unnecessary tension or disruption.  We find it extremely unprofessional to advertise salaries. 

Furthermore, very often a client will give us a “salary ceiling” – that doesn’t mean our client will pay the ceiling – they want to see what your experience is, what contribution you can add – and then decide on a salary based on that.   Also - sometimes you’ll be earning above a client’s budget – and if we feel you’re worth it, we have enough experience to know when we can push our client to stretch their budgets.

As important, is making sure your CV looks fantastic, but we’ll blog more about that soon.  Remember that you can download a really awesome CV format from our website too (under the contacts section).

If you are simply just mailing your CV to an agency to keep on their database – then ALWAYS introduce yourself first – tell us what you done, and what type of work you’re looking for.

Good luck!


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