What does the perfect job application look like? At a time when several hundred people apply for one job, the answer to this question is crucial for you as a job applicant. To be able to prevail over so many other candidates, your application needs to stand out. So which aspects of a job application make all the difference?
Martin P. is an HR recruiter in a German company located abroad. Hundreds of individuals have applied for a position that has been posted. He is going through your application and thinking: I have to meet this candidate! And this is just what you want: to draw the interest of the recruiter and then to be invited for an interview. Follow these tips if you want to be successful when applying for a job the next time around.
You have cleared the first hurdle when the recipient opens the envelope and is inclined to read more. This will happen if the documents submitted are clear and concise, and therefore quick and easy to read. A letter layout with a personal touch rather than something that has simply been copied from the internet also contributes to a good first impression. If you are applying for a position at a German company, choose a professional, positive and pleasing photograph of yourself to capture the recruiter’s attention.
All hiring managers will immediately recognise a mass-produced application. In contrast, the perfect application is tailored to the job that has been posted and directly addresses the company’s requirements. This gives the hiring manager the feeling that you have studied the description of the position and the company’s profile in detail and understand what the company is looking for. You can also stand out from the other candidates by describing – in your own words – your motivation in applying for the job and your reasons for working for the company. Be genuine, specific and clear. Empty phrases and abstract words are difficult for the reader, tend to create distance, or give the impression that you have copied the text from manuals on how to write job applications.
HR managers need a concrete incentive to invite an applicant for an interview. When reading through an application they must feel: I need this candidate! I would like to meet them! The manager will arrive at this decision only if the information in the documents is positively framed. You need to describe your skills and achievements using appropriate adjectives and refer to specific positive results and success stories. Ideally, you should substantiate these claims with objective figures and data.
Another important technique is the use of keywords and technical terminology related to the job. You then position yourself as an expert in the relevant field of work and demonstrate that you are highly capable of fulfilling the technical requirements of the job.
HR managers are very particular about applications being submitted in the correct format. The documents are a first sample of your work and need to be flawless in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation. There are also formal aspects that you need to take into account, such as ensuring that the information in a resume is presented in reverse chronological order. To make sure that your documents are free of mistakes, you should go over them thoroughly and request a second (or even third) person to check them too.
You must also ensure that the information provided is complete and accurate. In this context, it is worth asking which documents support your application. In any case, a cover letter, a resume, , letters of recommendation and degrees or certificates are a must. If in doubt, you can enquire in the HR department to make sure that you have collected all the necessary documents.
If you implement the best practices described here, your chances of being invited for a job interview will definitely receive a big boost. If your documents have a personal and professional touch, you will certainly stand out in the flood of applicants. All you require now is a little bit of luck. And remember: diligence is the mother of good fortune. In other words, investing more time and energy in the quality of each individual job application will always be worth your while.