I have worked in recruitment for over ten years, and I think some of these tips might be industry or job specific.....
Okay, I say go ahead and apply as early as possible. Some jobs might have a hgue response and the recruiter might decide to close the vacancy. Do not wait until the day before the closing date or even minutes before the closing date.
Don't have your mother call and ask about your application, thats a sure fire way to let your potential employer know you aren't that interested.
If you are rejected, always ask for feedback. Always. It might not be company policy to give it, but ask.
Make sure you have any work permit information in good order. Sometimes recruiters aren't familiar with any information regarding legality to work in the UK, mainly because they don't get many applications from people that aren't straight forwad re work permits, make sure you can explain what your work permit status is and have paperwork if need be.
Don't miss interviews, again, this might be more industry specific, but if you miss an interview or even worse, an assessment centre, its not good. Once shame on you, but twice, shame on me!!!
In my experiences, cover letters don't ALWAYS get read, neither do thank you notes. So if you are applying online just keep it brief and succinct. Don't forget that the recruiter might have a hundred CV's a day, so make it easy for them.
If you are from another country, do your research and find out EXACTLY what your qualifications are equal to in the UK. Don't leave it up to someone else to know what worldwide qualifications are.
Don't forget the person screening your application can't read between the lines, and most likely has a criteria that they have to follow. So be clear with your CV or application form.
Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and ring to check up on your application or to ask where the recruitment process is up to. If you haven't heard anything in a while, ring and ask for more information.
If you are applying for a job and the ad tells you what they are looking for, don't apply unless you meet that criteria. They put that info in ads so you self select or de-select, so make sure you have those qualifications.
If you are lucky enough to have an interview, spent 15 minutes on the internet to find out more about the company you are applying for. Its okay if you quote the website, just let us know that you had a look!
(Sorry Olive) if there is a number on the ad and you have a question about the Job Description, ring up and ask. I will always try to find out as much information for you if I can, I would always try my best.
I have a million stories about candidates that I could share...I have recruted for some of the biggest companies around for roles from Business Development Manager to Call Centre Staff. Just be sensible and smart!