How to Increase Your Success When Applying for Jobs

Applying for a job should be straightforward: see job ad, reply to job ad. From the employer’s point of view, it should also be a smooth process: review applications, decide if the candidates’ skills fit. However, in the past couple of weeks of reviewing applications, I’ve discovered that the process isn’t as effortless as expected.

I certainly don’t know all the secrets a job candidate needs for a successful job application, but I have some insights that will benefit those who apply to organizations that don’t have an AI system for sifting through hundreds of resumes. We’ll start with a tip that eases the workload of the potential employer who reads through each application one at a time with human eyes.

1 Indicate which job you’re applying to

This first tip should be obvious: be clear about which job you’re applying to. Don’t assume the company is only hiring for the job you’re applying for. It can be very frustrating if the person opening your email has to guess which of five possible jobs you’re applying for.  

Start with the job title in your email subject line. Then, in the first sentence, refer to your source for the job posting. Did you see the job online? Did you hear about the job from a mutual friend?  

2 Don’t ask them to tell you more about the job

The fastest way to give your potential employer a bad impression about you is to write, “I’m interested in (insert job post name here). Tell me more about the job.” This statement makes you appear lazy, as if you’re applying to multiple jobs at once and couldn’t be bothered to spend an extra five minutes to research the company.

For example, a technical glitch caused the full job description to be hidden from immediate display in the email job posting. It was easy to tell who didn’t read the email carefully and wasn’t resourceful in finding more information. These people all replied with a simple, “tell me more about the job.”

In another case, one person told a friend about the job posting but didn’t forward any of the details. The applicant’s first words were, “I’m interested in X job. Tell me more.” The applicants don’t realize how time consuming and exhausting it is to keep repeating details of the job to each applicant.  

Show that you’ve done some research in the company. Ask a specific question about the job requirements. Make a comment about some information you found on the company website. To make an even better impression, try the next tip.

3 Advertise yourself

If the details about the job are sparse or you’re unable to find details about the job description, open your response by telling the potential employer a little bit about yourself. What skills or educational background do you have that qualify you for the job?

If you have the complete job description, start your email with a description of how your skills are a good fit for the job. Ask if the company wants a resume (if that was not made clear in the job posting), or ask if they would like a link to your work portfolio. 

If you don’t have access to a detailed job description, begin with a description about yourself and why you’re interested in the role. Just don’t say you’re interested in the job, and press send without telling the potential employer at least a little bit about yourself.  

Perhaps you responded to the ad because you were waiting for your popcorn to pop before you could start your movie and you needed to kill some time. Even if you are only mildly curious about the job and don’t really care about the outcome of your application, putting a little more than two minutes of effort is worth it.

Key Takeaways

It takes minimal effort to make the hiring process easier for the potential employer. Tell them where you found out about the position, which position you’re applying for, and show some sign that you did your research about the job. No company wants to feel like they’re company 984 out of 1003 that you applied to that month. Finally, tell them about yourself so they will see that you are a fit and they will ask you for an interview.

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