How to make your job application stand out

We receive many different job applications every working day at Anne Corder Recruitment – and some of those really stand out to us, catching our eye and immediately enabling us to imagine the candidate in a role.

So how can you make sure your application is one of those that grabs our attention?

1. Tailor your application each and every time

Are you guilty of sending the same job application in response to several job vacancies? If you are, you are missing a great opportunity to make your application stand out.

Although it may feel like a timesaver, there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ job application. Instead, each time you apply for a job you need to tailor your CV and application.

Without a tailored job application you can’t highlight your skills that match the role and you can’t focus on your most relevant experience. A tailored job application also shows you’ve invested time and effort to catch the attention of a potential employer.

So, how can you tailor your job application?

  • Review the job description and pick out the key skills that are required. Go back to your CV and pick out examples of your work that demonstrate these skills particularly well. Move these examples to a prominent position in your CV and clearly state how it demonstrates the skill the employer is looking for.

 

For example, if you are applying for a HR role that requires you to manage a new employee wellness scheme, then move your employee wellness experience to the top of your list of responsibilities when describing a previous job role.

  • Use the same descriptor for a skill in your application, as is used in the job description. For example, if the job description says they require someone who is a ‘strong communicator’, use the term ‘strong communicator’ in your CV with a relevant example.
  • Make your personal statement on your CV work hard for you. A personal statement is a short paragraph (perhaps two or three lines) where you clearly and succinctly highlight why you are applying for the role and your key skills. Steer clear of clichéd terms and think about what makes you unique in what you do. Tailor your personal statement to focus on the requirements of the job description and focus on the soft skills you excel at, which are relevant to the role.


2. A clumsy job application is not a standout job application

When we asked our recruitment experts in a previous blog what makes a great CV, many of them came back saying a CV that is free of spelling and grammar mistakes! Although a simple point, a job application that is carefully proofread and free from clumsy errors is much more likely to catch the eye of a recruiter.

Don’t put all the hard work in, tailoring your job application and making sure you’re including concise and relevant information, only to miss avoidable spelling mistakes. Here are a few tips for proofreading your application:

  • After completing your application, leave it for a few hours and turn your mind to something else. Come back to your job application with fresh eyes and you might spot a few errors you had missed before.
  • Change the colour, font size and typeface in your application. According to some experts, this helps you to look at your writing in a different way – helping you to spot small changes you may have otherwise missed. Just remember to change it back to the original font before sending!
  • Ask a friend or family member to read through your application for you. No matter how many times you look through a piece of your own work, it can still be hugely reassuring to have someone else’s opinion on your job application.


3. Remember, your job application doesn’t stop at your CV

Although there is always a sense of relief when you hit the ‘submit your application’ button, don’t let your job application stop there.

Follow-up in a timely manner after you have sent your CV and reply promptly to communications from the recruiter or hiring manager. Every interaction you have with a recruitment agency or the employer from this point onwards is still a part of your job application. It’s an opportunity for you to stand out once again.

If you are liaising with a recruitment agency, like Anne Corder Recruitment, you may be invited to meet with the recruiter following your application. This is an opportunity for us to understand more about you, what you are looking for from your next role and whether you will be a good fit for roles we are hiring for.

We cannot emphasise how important these meetings can be in helping you stand out. Here are a few pointers to help you make the most of your meeting with a recruiter:

  • Come prepared with a few questions to ask, whether that is about the role or the recruitment process. This will make you appear engaged and enthusiastic. Our Job Seeker Resource Centre offers advice on questions to ask in an interview, which you may find helpful.
  • Treat the meeting like you would any other interview: dress smartly, arrive promptly and review your CV before arriving, so you are prepared to answer questions from the recruiter. Our blog on ‘how to make a great first impression’ has some good advice to follow.
  • Follow-up your meeting with a brief note to the recruiter to say thank you for their time and to reiterate your enthusiasm. Say what you found useful in the meeting and mention your understanding of the next steps, so you can be confident of what to expect and when.

 

Following these three steps is a great start to creating a stand out job application. You will have a well thought-through CV, which is well written and carefully proofed, and beyond that you will be making a positive impression after you have submitted your initial application.

Remember, for further advice on any part of the job search process, we have a wealth of resource available in our Job Seeker Resource Centre and plenty of tips and guidance in our blog.

If you are ready to start your job search with us now, with a stand out application of course, then visit our job search tool!

About the Author

Emma Plummer

Emma Plummer

Talent Scout

Emma blogs for the ACR jobseekers’ blog covering tips on how to stand out, managing the job-hunting process and more.