EVERY employer has preferences on how he wishes to receive job applications.

It could be written (including e-mail), verbal (over the phone) or in person. It is important that you follow their instructions closely if you hope to get a response.

Remember, your application is not the only one that an employer will receive. Therefore, try to see things from his point of view.

Some employers want applicants to fill out application forms at their office even though they may already sent in their resum├ęs.

These may be requirements that the employer's company may have to fulfil as part of their human resource policy.

Think about what they are asking for and how they are asking you to apply. This may give you clues on what is important to the employer.

Occasionally, some employers ask or a handwritten letter of application. Do not send a typewritten one instead.

If you are going through the trouble of applying for the job, why not do what the employer asks?

Before you send in an application, though, ask yourself the following questions:

* Are my qualifications and experience suited for the job I wish to apply for?

* Do I have a particular skill or qualification that may be utilised fully in this job?

* What type of career prospects does this job offer?

* Does this job meet my overall career objective?

* Is this job congruent to my beliefs and values?

* What are the learning opportunities offered by this job and company?

* Does the work environment suit me?

Keep an open mind

Do not prejudge any opportunity without considering the possibilities. Use the job search process as a chance to discover yourself.

Some employers require job applicants to undergo personality tests, while others may consider you for opportunities that you may not have considered.

Dollars and sense

Ask for reasonable remuneration. Some employers want to pay too little. There are also employees who want to earn too much. Do not compare salaries with your peers.

Sometimes the job title may be identical but the job scope may be very different. Be sure to think about the career path and opportunities that the position offers.

A good place to find out what you can possibly earn is the job pages in the newspapers as some employers advertise salary levels.

Read the job description which may be included in the advertisement. You can also get accurate salary information from reputable human resource consultancies.

Develop a strategy

Take a strategic approach to your job search. Study the market on opportunities available and your competition.

Who are the people who are likely to compete with you? What is their profile? What strengths or weaknesses are they likely to have?

Also think about your own unique selling proposition - what do you have to offer?

Make the effort

Looking for the ideal job always requires effort on the part of the applicant.

Go the extra mile, treat the job search process as a challenge and a learning opportunity. Your effort will not go in vain.

Some employers tend to set tasks for prospective employees to do.

Usually, they are not testing the applicant on the content of the project but on their willingness to try something new.

Such an employer is actually saying: "I am interested in you, I am willing to make the time for you but are you willing to make the time for our company?"