With so much competition within the job market how can you make your application really stand out?  Here are some top tips to help you to maximise your chances of being shortlisted:

  1. Make sure you read the job description – Take the time to understand exactly what the company expects from applicants for jobs that interest you; do not ignore the detailed description of what the job entails. Many recruiters and employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to screen candidates for job opportunities, ATS technologies can filter candidates by using key words to match candidates’ skills and experiences with specific job descriptions. For the best chance of progressing to the next stage make sure your CV content and experience match up accordingly.
  2. Never underestimate the power of a good cover letter – if a job advert asks for a cover letter make sure that you provide one, failure to supply a cover letter will probably mean an automatic rejection. Even if it doesn’t ask for a cover letter it’s always advisable to include one.  A cover letter allows you to expand on your experience and highlight why you are a good match for the role – it’s a great opportunity to really sell your skills and experience!  Don’t just use a bland generic cover letter, tailor your letter to the specific role that you are applying for.  Pick out key words and phrases from the advert and incorporate these into your cover letter.  Once complete always double check looking out for typos or spelling mistakes, it’s often best to ask someone else to proof read it.
  3. Tailor your CV – it’s tempting to just use the same CV for every application but by tailoring your CV to the role you are applying for increases the chances of your application being shortlisted. Look at the advert and/or job description to understand what they are looking for and if you have any of the specific skills and experiences listed then make sure that they stand out on your CV.  Again, as with the cover letter pick out key words and phrases from the advert and incorporate these into your CV.  Remember to triple check everything – typos and spelling mistakes can often mean that a CV is automatically rejected!
  4. Application Forms – some employers may require you to complete an application form rather than just relying on CVs. When completing an application form always ensure that you read and understand all instructions given.  Complete every field and ensure that you provide all the necessary information required and that it is accurate.  Don’t just treat it as a formality, a poorly completed application form will probably be rejected at the first stage – and remember to check your spelling!
  5. Double check everything before hitting the send button – once you’ve hit the send button all the information is sent directly to the recruiter and you won’t be able to retract it so it’s important to double check everything to ensure that you are happy with it before hitting the send button. After all you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!
  6. Photos– some candidates consider inserting a profile photograph on their CV. Avoid doing this unless it is explicitly requested. Internal recruiters often like to pass on CV’s to line managers with details removed to ensure an unbiased screening process. You might be just giving them something else to do. It might also slow down the upload or download of your CV and be incompatible with the aforementioned applicant screening platforms thus inhibiting your application.

Read our article, ‘Job Hunting Online’ for more support chat to our HR experts who can help you create a stand out CV or prepare for that all important interview.

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