Stand out from the pack
The job market is very competitive these days. There are usually heaps of applicants for any one job, so employers have to look at a lot of applications in a short period of time.
It's important that your application stands out from the rest. While there are lots of tricky gimmicks that you can try to make your application noticeable, there are methods that work better than purple paper or glitter glue!
Here's some tips for good ideas about how to stand out from all of the other applications - for the right reasons - and improve your chances of getting the job.
Get past the first round
Before anything else, you have to make sure that at the very least your application doesn't go straight on the 'no' pile. Here's some ideas for preventing that from happening:
- Avoid poor spelling and grammatical errors
- Make sure the application is addressed to the right person
- Follow the instructions provided in the job advertisement - all of them
- Get your application in by the due date
Do your research
Research the company, not just the job. Find out as much as you can about the company and use this knowledge to tailor your application to your own experience. Your research might turn up something useful about the kind of people the company hires, or where the workplace is based.
Feel free to contact the company to ask questions - this helps you understand the job better. The person you talk to might recognise your name when your application is received, and this could help you to stand out from the pack.
Tailor your resume and cover letter
Change your resume and cover letter for each specific job application to make sure the skills and experience you talk about are the best fit for the job. Whatever you do, don't use a generic resume and cover letter. Make sure your cover letter and resume highlights your strongest and most relevant skills and abilities.
These are the things that will catch the employer's attention:
- Address each item in the selection criteria with specific examples from present or past jobs and experience
- Be brief, but be relevant
- You can talk about your key achievements and responsibilities in previous jobs, but make sure you only talk about relevant achievements and responsibilities
Ask a teacher, parent, mentor or colleague to look over your application and make suggestions for improvement before you submit it.
Many organisations and employment agencies use software to scan job applications for keywords, so make sure your cover letter and resume include the words that the employer used in the job ad and position description.
Check out our sample resumes and cover letters for tips, ideas and downloadable templates to base your own application on.
Don't stand out for the wrong reasons. Pink scented cover letters and funky fonts do not impress employers!
Stand out in your interview
Prepare for the interview thoroughly to make sure you really impress them in person. Get a list of questions ready so you've got something to ask them as well as answering their questions.
Check out our Attending interviews page for more advice on how to behave in an interview.
After the interview, if the employer hasn't contacted you by the expected date, don't be shy about following up with a polite phone call.
Even if you don't get the job, it's a good idea to follow up with the employer and ask why your application was unsuccessful. Any feedback you receive can help you improve future applications.
University of Melbourne - Effective Applications
Tips including resume and cover letter writing, researching the company and emphasising your achievements.
Byron Employment - Job Applications
Tips for creating a cover letter that stands out.