How to make your job application stand out

Want to maximize your chances of securing your dream role? Here’s how to make your job application stand out.

Any potential employer of yours is going to have to look through a number of job applications and resumes for any one position. If it is a job that you would love and would be completely ideal for, then you need to do all that you can to make sure that your job application does end up in the ‘yes’ pile.

If you want to be taken seriously and help to make your job application stand out, then it is important to make sure that you get noticed, for all of the right reasons. 

With that in mind, here are some steps that you can take when you’re applying for a job, to give yourself more of a fighting chance and to really help your resume to stand out.

Make your name recognizable

If you want your resume to stand out, then your name is one of the best ways to help you to do just that. When you are applying for the job, it can help to get in touch with the recruiting person, usually mentioned on the application, for a chat.

Let them know who you are and ask them about the position. Let them know to look out for your job application; with a contact at the company knowing your name, over and above others, it can help your application to really stand out.

Using social media, and websites like LinkedIn, getting in contact with someone at the company can be easier than ever. When you’re looking at applying to a certain company, look into trade shows or business conferences where someone from the company will be there to talk to. That can be a good way to get a contact at the company.

You could also look at what volunteering opportunities there are or internships that there may be at the company, which could be the right kind of stepping stone that will help you to get to a more permanent job role

When you have a contact, then you can build up relationships until you feel able to ask them for some advice on working where you work. This might not be for everyone, but if you’re keen on a certain job role and a certain company, then it can be a good way to get your name known and recognized. 

Develop an online presence

There are a number of reasons why having a job application that isn’t too long is important. But it can make the difference between them wanting to interview you or interview someone else. Being able to provide some extra information that they can look for if required, can be the answer.

This is where an online presence comes in. If you have a portfolio online, you run a blog, or have another positive aspect to your life that is online, then it can be important to include it on your application.

Make your resume or job application simple to read

Your application is likely to be given a quick glance before it is either moved forward or thrown away. That is why having an application that is easy to skim read, rather than a full essay, is important. By breaking things down, and using some shorter sentences, you will make the application easier to process for someone going through a range of applications.

Using bullet points and subheadings can help make an application easier to read, especially when it specifically answers the points of the job application. This is common and to be expected, so don’t think they will presume you are trying to dumb down your application.

If you’re not sure how to start and correctly format your resume try looking for a resume template for a specific job you’re applying for.

Give your qualifications a boost

If you are applying for a job role that is quite specific, then they may list some qualifications that are a must. For other jobs, there can just be some general expectations or desired qualifications. If you don’t feel like you exactly match up for it, then how can you make it work? Will they take your application seriously?

If you want to give your qualifications a boost, especially for a dream job, then why not lookout for some free courses online to complete? If there are courses that are specific for the job that you are applying for, then it can definitely make a difference to your application. 

There are some niche courses out there, so there will be something for everyone, and for every kind of job application that you are looking to apply for. Look online, as well as locally at colleges and other courses, and there will be something to suit what you are looking for.

Of course, you could go back to school full-time if you are keen for a career change and want to retrain. Although it will be a longer-term idea, then it will help you to get to where you want to be in your career.

Tailor your application

When you are applying for a range of jobs, then it can be tempting to just send off one application or resume, and aim for a one-size-fits-all approach. Although this will help you to get your application seen by more people, it can be off-putting to recruiters, as it can be easy to see that you’re not being specific in your application. This is a no-no, as it doesn’t let employers know specifically how you’re ideal for the job and how you meet the specified criteria.

With each application, taking a little more time to go through each job specification and answering each point with your skills and experience, will help to be what an employer is looking for. Sending off fewer applications that are stronger and better suited, will be better than going for mass applications.

Make use of your interests and hobbies

There are a couple of reasons why putting on hobbies and interests on your job application is a good thing. If you’re looking to show off your highlights and good qualities, then these are the ways to do it. These highlights will also help to show to an employer how you will be able to fit into the culture of the company. Part of a job application and recruitment process is to see how well you fit into the company and get along with the colleagues. 

For example, you could look to stress the importance of teamwork. If you play sports as a team, then this can highlight that. You could look at the website of the business and see what they have been doing recently. If there are charities that they work with or a charity that they sponsor, and you also have a keen interest in that charity, then it can be worth mentioning. It is a good idea to always be truthful, but to also be selective with the things that you put on your application.

Get a friend to take a second look at the application

Where possible, it is a good idea to have a friend look over the application or your resume. They will be looking at it with fresh and impartial eyes, which can be hard to see when you have been looking at it yourself. They will be able to spot any spelling or grammar mistakes, and that the sentences flow as they should.

Yes, of course, this can be a little time-consuming, especially if you’re keen to get out a range of applications. But it is going to be time well spent. One small typo could be it for your prospects of the job, so it will definitely be worth it. 

Be concise and precise

When going through your application, being clear and concise with your answers is important. If you are keen to demonstrate a specific skill that you have from a real-life example, then there are some steps to follow. Think about the situation that demonstrates what you are trying to get across, such as the job that you had at the time. Then think about the specific tasks, such as what you were required or needed to do at the time.

From here you can think about the actions that you took for a specific task. Then you can demonstrate the results of how it turned out; was there anything that you learned in the process? Using this process, as long as you are clear and concise with your points, will help to demonstrate the skills that will best show the key skills that you are trying to showcase to a potential employer.

Taking your career to the next step, or just getting your career started, is a big deal. It is unlikely to just fall into your lap, so you need to make sure that you are putting in the effort. That all starts with your resume and the job applications themselves.

The cover letter can be a way to round up what your application says, so if there is a chance to submit one, make sure that you do. For cover letters, highlight your main strengths and the main skills and experience that you have. That, combined with your application, can help your application to stand out and get you where you want to be. 

Photo by Jodie Cook