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5 Ways to Make Your Application Stand Out to Hiring Managers

5 Ways to Make Your Application Stand Out to Hiring Managers

Here's a little known secret. The job interview actually starts when you fill out the application. Employers start to decide whether or not you're a good fit for their job when they start to look over your job application. Your Interview has begun. 

So knowing this as a job seeker you want to give yourself the best possible advantage. The goal is to gain the attention- positive attention, of employers. Not to have your job application tossed into the reject pile. 

Employers only spend a few seconds looking over an application. This is because companies can receive hundreds of applications. So your job is to catch their eye. Otherwise the attention of the employer will be consumed with red flags, or instructions that were not followed. Applications like get screened, then rejected.  Meaning your chances of getting that job have come to a screeching halt. 

That's not what we want . 

We want your application to land at the very top of the must call for an interview pile.  So in this post we're gonna talk about five things that you can do that will make your application stand out. And by doing so, gain some positive feedback from the employers that you are interested in. By following this advice you will greatly increase your chances of getting more jobs with the companies you're most interested in working.


1.Complete the entire job application and follow all instructions.

 Employers ask a lot of questions sometimes on applications. You may not understand the reason why they want to know this information. Why in the world do they need to know your driver license number? What’s the point of asking for your security number? Or if you have the legal right to work in the United States? 

Some of these questions may seem arbitrary and downright pointless. But if the employer took the time to put those questions on the application, they expect those questions to be answered by anyone who applies. By not answering all the questions on an application no matter how trivial you think it may be or how long winded the application form,  you’re decreasing the likelihood that you’ll be selected for an interview. If you’re lucky, an employer may reach out to clarify some information or ask you to resubmit the application. But that situation is highly unlikely.

Incomplete applications are rejected applications. That said, we encourage you to fill out the whole application, no matter how long and follow all instructions. We know, we know, it’s a pain to re-enter all the information that’s on your resume, but do it anyway if you really want the job.

So just to recap here. Once you fill out an application, this is the start of the job interview.

Employers are going to be on the lookout for your ability to follow directions and pay attention to details. These are important qualities for anyone that they are thinking about bringing on their team. So it doesn't matter how you feel or think about it. The questions may actually be stupid. All that matters is that you do what is required to move you through the hiring process and ultimately get the job.


  1. Give correct and complete information about past jobs.

Employers are super interested in the jobs you've had in the past. That's because employers decide if you can do the job they're hiring for based on the type of work you've done before. This is called work history. 

 They also try to understand what kind of employee you may be for them. Employers attempt to determine this by reviewing how long you stayed on jobs and why you left jobs.  Employers are looking for patterns that can help them make a good hiring decision. 

 The thought is that if you job hopped, only stayed on past jobs for a few months, then you'll probably only stay on their job for a few months. They also may think that if you quit jobs without notice before, chances are good that you may do the same thing on their job. So they are trying to make a decision that will limit their risk of hiring all over again in a few months if the person they choose doesn't work out. 

 Because your past employment history is so important to employers it should be really important to you as well. If you’re interested in a job and you want to boost your chances of getting a call for an interview,  take the time to enter in all employment information.  Typically for each past employer you’ll be asked to provide:

  •  company name
  • Job title
  •  supervisor's name  and title
  • Business address 
  • phone numbers
  • starting in indicates 
  • starting and ending rate of pay 
  • Description of the work that you did 
  • Start and end dates of employment
  •  why you left the job


Even though this information seems mundane, it's all important to employers. Being able to accurately remember all of this information for all of your past your employers can be hard to do on the spot. 


Make it easier on yourself by making a list of all of this information. Save it on your phone and computer. That way when you’re filling out applications, you can copy and paste these details. Not only will this make your applications more accurate, out you can fill them out faster too.


  1. Read the job posting

 Employers write job postings for one reason.  That reason is so that you can read it. They want to share with you important details about the job.  They hope that  you can use that information to  make an informed decision about whether or not the job is  for you. So read the entire job post. Yep the entire thing. 

 When you read a job posting there a  few things specifically that we want you to look out for. Pay special attention to:

  • The job duties: The job posting should describe what type of work is done in the job. 
  •  Pay: Not every job posting shares the pay rate. But for those that do, consider if the pay offered meets your needs. 
  •  work location: This is  where the job is gonna be done.  

After you’ve read the whole job posting, take a few minutes to think about details.  Ask yourself these questions before clicking on apply:


  • Can I work the schedule the employer wants?
  • Am I interested in and willing to do the work described?
  • Can I get to the work location?
  • Do I have the skills, experience and education the employer wants?
  • Am I satisfied with what the job pays?

If you’ve answered “yes” to all of these questions, go ahead and apply. If not consider other options or make any needed changes to make it work.

 Reading the job posting is also interview preparation. You don’t want to ask questions in an interview that were clearly answered in the job posting.

 The main take-away: Carefully read the job posting for every job that you apply.

  1. Include references

References can make your application stand out from a crowd. Some applications ask you to include references others may not.  But if you have the opportunity to enter references on your application go ahead and do so.  

References are important because they back you up. Employers are less interested in our own evaluation of work as an employee and more interested in what people who have actually employed us think. Who doesn't think that they are a great worker? Everyone does. We are all a little biased when it comes to judging ourselves. Employers know this.   

That's where the magic of references come in.  You get to have other people who have worked with you say that you are a good worker. Let your past boss brag on how you always showed up for work on time and always did a fantastic job. 

Ideally reference should  be past supervisors supervisors . If not past supervisors, people who have worked with you in a volunteer role as part of a  group or organization. A teacher could also be a good reference source if you are a student worker or looking for your first job after graduating.  

 When possible ask these references to write a letter of recommendation. These letters can be saved to share with employers.  If that’s an option, be sure to have their fill contact information, name, phone, email and address, to share with employers that ask for references. 


Also, and very important, give your references a heads up that you’re looking for a job and you’ll  share them as a reference. This heads up, allows that be prepared for getting a phone call so they talk you up well. 

 Key takeaway: Get references in advance of your job search. When possible share contact information for references or upload as an attachment to your application if given the option. Also, if neither option is presented, bring references with you to interviews or send my email as a follow up to your application.


  1. Proofread

Before you hit submit make sure you proofread it.  No one is expecting you to be perfect. Autocorrect and typos happen to the best of us.  But taking those few extra minutes to proofread your work to proofread what you've typed can make all the difference.  


Proofreading before sending off an application shows that you care and pays attention to detail. Overall, it sends a positive message about yourself as opposed to an application that has tons of errors. An error free application  is the best reflection of your work ethic. 

To make proofreading easier, you can use technology to help. Grammarly is a fantastic tool that can be installed in your web browser. Grammarly reviews everything that you type and flags any errors. 

You’ll still need to proofread as nothing is foolproof. But Grammarly should make quick work of giving your application a nice polish. Oh and Grammarly is free to use, so there’s no reason not to try it. 

Sometimes it can seem difficult to get the attention of employers and get more responses from applications. Putting these tips to use will help you get more responses from the employers you’re most interested in working. Which tips will you try first? 



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