If you’re looking for a new role, or you’re embarking on an entirely new career you will inevitably experience the highs and lows of the job-hunting process.
It can be an anxious time, especially when you find a job that you think you’ll be really good at. And if it’s in an industry you care deeply about.
With some roles getting hundreds of applicants, hiring teams can only afford to spend a few minutes reviewing each application. Before drawing up a shortlist of candidates.
It’s a brutal process with some candidates missing out for seemingly arbitrary reasons. But often this is because a very similar applicant was just that little bit more memorable.
Or their key skills and attributes were easier to pick out. The reasons why one person gets chosen for an interview over another can be painfully subtle.
There are few things more frustrating than learning you missed out on a job because of the tiniest of differences.
Below are some of our top tips to help your job application stand out from the stack. To help you land the role you really want.
Make your Job Application Easy to Read
Whether you’ve submitted a form online or you’re emailing your CV, make sure it’s easy to understand.
Hiring managers are time poor. So, they are trying to assess whether the applicant’s skills and experience match the job spec as quickly as possible.
If applications are too wordy, too muddled or even over produced, they will be rejected. Purely on the grounds it’s not easy to read.
Good applications are ones that communicate the key information quickly and easily.
This can be achieved by breaking things down into short sentences, bulleted lists and bitesize paragraphs.
Break the document out further by using subheadings. This makes it abundantly clear you have moved on to a new piece of information.
Depending on whether you’re submitting a CV or an application, try to use the key terms from the job specification. The hiring manager will naturally be looking out for these so using them will count in your favour.
Use the STAR Technique
Whether in a cover letter or application, you may be asked to provide examples that demonstrate your skills and experience.
Use the STAR technique to keep your answers concise and as informative as possible. STAR stands for:
- Situation (What happened or needed to happen)
- Tasks (What you needed to do)
- Actions (How you achieved your tasks)
- Results (What was the outcome)
This technique is especially useful as it allows you the opportunity to reflect on specific experiences objectively. You can even include what you could have done better – or even how you would approach it now.
This approach should also help you in interviews when you’re asked to give examples of when you have performed well.
Mention your Hobbies and Interests
There is some division among recruiters as to whether you should include your hobbies and interests. Some say hiring managers simply don’t care.
However, there has been a significant shift in emphasis towards company culture. What you’re like as a person matters as much as your skills and experience.
By including your hobbies and interests you give your potential employer a brief insight into who you are. Whether you enjoy reading, arts and crafts, video games or going for long walks, it all helps to flesh you out. It can also make you more memorable.
As an added bonus, your hobbies and interests can help you to demonstrate desirable attributes. If you’re part of a club or team it can help to demonstrate soft skills and good communication.
Proof your Job Application
Few things will get your application tossed quicker than stating you have an excellent eye for detail in a document full of typos.
Typos happen, our fingers sometimes move quicker than our brains. Moreover, we are capable of understanding sentences whether words are missing or spelt correctly. Our brains simply scan the sentence and fill in the blanks without us realising.
This is remarkably useful when reading something but something of a hindrance when checking our work. It takes on average three attempts to spot all the mistakes when proofing our own work. This is because in addition to our brains ‘autocorrecting’, we know what we’re about to say – because we wrote it.
Once you have completed your job application give yourself a three-to-four-hour break then read it through. That gives your brain the chance to loosen up and essentially forget what you’ve written. You’ll find it much easier to spot the mistakes.
You can also ask a third party to read it through. As they are looking at it with fresh eyes they are more likely to spot mistakes. They can also point out anything that isn’t clear. Perhaps make suggestions or possibly offer up further examples of your work to include.
Whether you’re submitting a CV or application form, demonstrate your enthusiasm for your profession or the role you’re applying for.
Most application forms have a section where you can detail why you think you’re suitable for the role. Firstly you should absolutely use this section to highlight how your skills and experience relate to the job spec.
However, you should also include why you’re passionate about what you do, or about the role in particular.
Talk about what motivates you (no, not money) to succeed. Whether you like to help people, love data or sharing knowledge, include it in your application.
Just as businesses want a good cultural fit, they want to hire someone who will enjoy the work. Rather than someone who will do the work competently but who is only in it for the pay. The reason why is simply – those people leave.
Recruiting a new member of staff is 13-15% more costly than retaining the person already in the role. That’s without adding any recruitment fees on top. Onboarding a new starter, giving them training, providing them with a computer are all costs. Not to mention that their output won’t be as high initially.
Therefore, take some time to write about what motivates you and drives you to do a great job. It’ll help you stand out and give the recruiter an indication of what you will be like to work with.
If you’re searching for a new role – or career – but you don’t have the relevant qualifications, we can help.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is one of the UK’s leading distance learning providers. We offer thousands of online courses to meet almost any learning objective.
If you want to upskill for a promotion or go to university, there is a course to meet your needs.
What’s more, because our courses are all online, you can start your studies the same day you enrol. You’ll be supplied with instant access to our student portal where you will find all your course material.
This gives you the freedom to work through the course as quickly as you want to. Allowing you to get qualified in a matter of months.
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