How to make your job application stand out

Have you ever sent a job application and never heard back?

If the answer is yes, you are not the only one.

UK employers are being extra cautious with hiring during this uncertain time. This means fewer job openings and increased competition per vacancy.

Standing out from the crowd is more important than ever before. We share six tips to help you get noticed:

 

Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great platform for job seeking professionals.

Recruiters spend a lot of their time on LinkedIn, and they are open to connecting with talented individuals.

Setting up a LinkedIn profile is free and easy to use. Here are some starter tips to optimise your LinkedIn profile:

  • Upload a professional photo and background picture
  • Utilise keywords
  • Write a catchy headline, e.g. “Social media expert and Instagram enthusiast. 5+ years’ experience. Looking for exciting opportunities”

LinkedIn provide a full article on profile optimisation, which you can view here.

Once your profile is set up, you can start connecting and applying for jobs. The best approach is to:

  1. Create a list of companies you would like to work for
  2. Connect with the relevant people at that organisation (e.g. if you are looking for a HR executive job, connect with the HR director/manager)
  3. Once connected, thank them for connecting
  4. Send a message stating why you have connected. E.g., “I have connected as I am looking for new challenge. I am a HR professional with [X] qualifications and [NUMBER OF YEARS] experience. I would like to work for your company because [REASONS]. May I send over my CV for future consideration?”

If you see a role posted on LinkedIn that you want to apply for, send an application and then connect to the person hiring for the role. Once connected, send them a message stating that you have applied for the role and why you are interested. But keep it short and concise.

Tailor your job application to the role

Applying for hundreds of jobs with a generic CV and cover letter will only slow down your job hunt. Furthermore, it is unlikely to make a good impression.

A better approach is to read through the job description, highlight what they are looking for, and amend your CV and covering letter accordingly. For example, if the employer is hiring for a customer service role, write about how you have offered great customer service in your cover letter.

This approach can be time-consuming. But with the extra time spent, you are more likely to secure responses and an interview.

Grammar and spelling

Poor spelling will put recruiters off straight away.

But worse than poor spelling is poor grammar. If your sentences do not make sense, then employers will not understand why you are applying for the job. And your application will go straight in the bin.

  • Be sure to check your CV and cover letter thoroughly
  • Reread it regularly, and amend accordingly
  • Contact a local recruitment agency and ask them to read through it

Make your job application easy to read

When you see the perfect role, you want to provide your potential employer with as much information as possible. The danger here is providing too much information, and in a format that employers will consider unreadable or even exhausting.

Make your application easy to read by following these steps:

  • Break it down. Use short sentences and paragraphs
  • Use sub-headings or bullet points (if necessary)
  • Keep your cover letter to one side of A4, and your CV to a maximum of 2 sides

Provide your employer with the data and documents they need

A big problem recruiters and employers have is checking you are ready to work.

They must check you have the legal right to work, fill in forms, collect your personal data, take copies of documents, work history, address history, get a consent form, references and then apply for background checks. It costs them a lot of time and money.

To stand out, you can help employers by securely sharing your data and documents.

Employers are impressed by candidates who do this, and the process is quick and easy. Employment Check App is free to download and it will help you get noticed (and hired faster).

Follow up on your job applications

It is easy to assume you were not short-listed for an interview when you do not hear back from a job application.

However, it is likely your potential employer is still going through applications.

If it has been two weeks since the application closing date, you should send a follow up email.

With most job websites, the recruiter’s email address is revealed after you apply for a job. Keep a note of it, along with the closing date, and send a follow up email accordingly.

Avoid following up too quickly and before the closing date.

 

Other innovative ways to stand out on your job application

The six steps listed above will increase your chances of hearing back from job applications. It is important to focus on these steps, but there are other ways you can stand out. These include:

  • A video application

A short video on why you are applying for the job and what you can do for the company always impresses potential employers.

  • Languages you speak

Speaking another language is a great skill that many job seekers fail to put on their CV. Be sure to list any languages you speak.

  • Your personal brand

Developing a personal brand tells a story of who you are, what you do, and can captivate an audience (and employers).

  • Continued learning and development

Employers prefer to hire candidates who are always learning and developing. State on your job application what you have been learning recently (inside or outside of work).

  • A link to your blog

If you have a blog that talks about the industry you want to work in, share it in your application.

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