Recruiters, hiring managers, professional interviewers. These people receive dozens (or hundreds) of job applications each and every week. I’ve had the job, I’ve been in their shoes. And I can tell you it is not easy to to stand out with your job application. But you can do a couple of things to improve your chances of getting invited for an interview, and we will look at them right now.
First of all, you should realize what your goal is: to get invited for a job interview. Anything you do, anything you write on a paper (or type on your keyboard, which is more likely the case in 21st century) you should do with your goal in mind. Let’s have a look at what exactly you can do to improve your chances of getting the phone call from the hiring manager.
Enter as much information as possible, send everything they ask for
Many job candidates will submit only their resume, or the expected application form. No cover letter, no references, no salary history. Simply nothing extra.
This is okay only if the employer explicitly asks you to send them only your resume, or only the application form. In all other cases, you should attach other documents as well. Submitting only your resume tells the employer a few important things about you:
- You did not read the job offer carefully, which means that you do not seriously care for getting the job (perhaps you sent twenty application on the same day, and perhaps you do not even know where you are sending your applications).
- You are lazy, or not responsible, or do not care. Remember–everything you do from the moment of applying for a job to a moment of sending an interview follow-up letter helps us to create a complete picture about your personality and level of motivation. You do not want to look like someone who’s lazy to write a few extra lines, do you?
Fill all blank spaces on your job application
Empty spaces are not good. If you do not know how to answer certain question on an online job application, think for a while. I am sure you can figure it out within a few minutes–or you can look for an answer here on InterviewPenguin.com
The more you write about you, the more you tell them, the better your chances of succeeding will be. Once they see that you completed the entire form, and didn’t leave any fields blank, they will consider you as someone who really cares for getting the job with them.
Because each line on a job application has its meaning. It isn’t there just to fill in an empty space. If they ask about something–be it your working history, education, some personal information, or even your language skills and hobbies, they do it because the information matters for them–at least somehow. Make sure that you won’t leave any lines empty…
Include (or attach) your picture
A picture makes from a random number a human being with a face and soul. I remember times when I was living in the UK, still extremely young, and with no money, having no idea that I’d once run a website like this. Back in the day my roommate carried with him always a bunch of small pictures when walking to the city and trying to get a job. When filling typical UK paper-form job applications, he always glued a picture to the right corner of the paper. In two weeks time, he got seven interview invitations.
In general, job search and the entire business with job applications, is quite impersonal. You fill in countless forms, and often you do not even get a chance to talk to someone who has the power to hire you. A picture can make things more personal. A professional picture of you, with a smile on your face. Most people won’t include it on their application, so it is another chance for you to stand out.
Show extra motivation–if you get a chance to show anything
If you are applying for a job in a store, mention that it is your favorite place for shopping. Similar example: If you apply for a job in a travel agency, mention that some of your friends traveled with them, and were more than satisfied with the trip and the customer service they got in place. Praise your future employer for something, and you will immediately get some extra points, something that can help you eventually land the job.
It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. Even a small change on your job application (such as attaching a picture, or saying something nice about the employer) can help you to change your fortunes, and get an invitation for an interview. So why not trying it, especially if you have nothing to lose?
Ready to write a great job application? I hope so! Do not forget to continue your preparation for the hiring process with InterviewPenguin.com:
- Interview preparation guide – What to wear, what to bring with you, how to act, physical, mental, and informational preparation for an interview. Go through the articles and read everything you need to know to get ready for one of the most important meetings you’ll have this year.
- 15 most common interview questions and answers – test the waters and learn how to answer typical interview questions, such as “What are your weaknesses?”, “What motivates you in work?”, or “Why should we hire you?”
- Salary negotiation tips – Money always matters. Learn how to get as much as you deserve at the end of your interviews, when you discuss your remuneration with the employer.
* You can also download a one-page long resume of the article, print it, and carry it with to help you anytime you have to complete a job application: