How to make your job application stand out from the crowd
We may be in a candidate-short market right now but securing the role of your dreams cannot be left to chance by submitting a sub-par application. Now, more than ever, employers want to see applicants that look like they care about the role they’re applying for, not just throwing their hat in the ring knowing they will get an interview because they have the right skill set and are in high demand.
In a race between two candidates of equal skill, it will be the one who showed the extra engagement in the process, that will get ahead of the pack.
Tailor all applications to the role and company
Carefully read the job description, educate yourself about the company you’re applying with, and craft your application to speak to them. You don’t need to re-write your CV for every application, but do write a bespoke cover letter that pulls out your skills and experience that are relevant to their role. Go into detail about how you believe your previous experience can be applied to their current position, and if able to, describe how you would approach the job.
Your cover letter should also include an introduction of who you are. With the companies values and focus in mind, link your values and interests so that you can demonstrate, in just a few sentences, how you fit their culture, as well as the job they are looking to fill.
Inject your personality
This goes for your CV and cover letter. Today culture fit is important, and companies do genuinely care about the people they are hiring. Highlighting the best parts of your personality in your application is one way to help you stand out. List your personal interests, what you do outside of work, or even what you’re currently reading or watching and what you think about it. All of this helps to give the reader an idea of who you are, making you a more whole and interesting person, thus making them more curious to meet you.
If you have a personal blog, include this. If you’re connected to a charity, involved in events, be sure to add these in, along with how you believe these activities strengthen you in the workplace.
If you’re in a creative role, this should be demonstrated in your application. Use visually rich samples to make an eye-catching PDF portfolio, or create an online portal to demonstrate your work. Use graphs, write case studies; clearly highlight what benefit you brought to the project through a visual story of your work.
If you’re not in a creative role, there are still creative ways to get noticed. You could put in a video application, or put together a first week, month and quarter presentation on how you would approach a new role.
Once you’ve wowed the right people and locked in a meeting, here is how to ace the job interview.