Start by reading the advert fully; then read it again. It’s designed to help you. If there’s an information pack or micro-site, read it, look at the information, think about what the role’s really about.
Don’t leave it there: research the job and the organisation, ask around, check out the press. If the organisation is in the public sector, read up on the inspection reports. Get in step with how the organisation feels as far as you can.
If a conversation is offered – usually to a consultant, but sometimes to a Managing Director, Chief Executive or Director – grasp the nettle and make the call. But, don’t just phone up and say “Hi, the advert said to phone”. This is your first opportunity to impress.
So, plan the conversation, introduce yourself, explain why you’re calling, outline why you’re interested and ask one or two good questions. Show you’ve thought about the role. See if the person has any questions of you, create a rapport, and ensure you leave your name before the call ends.