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How To Standout as a Job Applicant

Applying for a job is nerve-wracking, and sending in an application for an opening with a lot of interest is even more discouraging. With how vital a component the internet is for job searching nowadays, it is frustrating to feel left out in the dust. Still, just because there are many other applicants doesn't mean you don't have a good shot at nailing the job. One of the first steps in being a standout candidate is confidence— that, and using the following tips.

Customize Your Cover Letter

While it is much easier to send the same cover letter to each potential employer that summarizes your sales skills and experience, it will help you immensely to rewrite your message based on the language in the job requirements. This is more time consuming, yes. However, the company you are applying to will notice the similarities between what you bring to the table and the qualifications of their job opening. It is simple psychology that can easily be used to put you on the shortlist for the position.

Keep Your Resume Short

It is best to keep your resume as short as possible while still allowing for an adequate explanation of your previous duties. Similar to recreating a cover letter specifically for each job you are interested in, the same method should be applied to what information you list on your resume. Be sure you summarize what tasks you have completed that apply best to the opening you are trying to acquire. Taking the time to perfect your resume is essential because it is your first impression— nailing that opportunity is the best way to get a leg up on the competition. There are plenty of sites that can assist in building your resume, and you can further your efforts by hiring professionals that specialize in making the application process easier for you.

Send In Letters of Recommendation

Even if letters of recommendation aren't required during the beginning steps, providing endorsements from previous employers does several things for your application. First, it proves that you are serious enough about the job to put in the extra effort. Secondly, it will give an idea of what positive aspects you can bring to a company. Lastly, it is a good conversation starter once you make it in for your interview.

Follow Up

It is easy to feel pushy following up after applying to a job, but it does give the employer more insight into your seriousness and interest in the position. Give your application a week or so to be reviewed and either send a light email to the hiring manager or, better yet, pick up the phone and have a quick chat. If you can get someone on the line, that would be an excellent opportunity to ask questions you have prepared (and you should have a few!). You can quickly offer a rundown of your experience, thank the person for taking your call and inquire about a timeframe for their decision.

Ask Plenty of Questions

The following are great questions to ask your potential employer during the interview stage:


  • What is the company culture like at the office?

  • Do you have any worries about my experience and how it applies to the open position?

  • Do you have a date that you would prefer your new hire to start?


Your typical interview setup means the applicant will be answering most of the questions, but that doesn't mean you can't look out for your best interest. Your job needs to be both a good fit for the company and you. If any concerns come to your mind, don't be afraid to have that conversation. You want to leave your interview feeling informed and confident that you had a standout discussion.

Offer Thanks

It is always thoughtful to thank your interviewer for their time after a meeting. You can also reiterate your interest and explain that you are looking forward to hearing from them again. While there are many things you can do to set yourself apart from a technical standpoint, being kind is the easiest option. If there is anything you admire about the company or enjoyed specifically during your interview, it certainly doesn't hurt to mention those compliments, as well.


With how social media has changed job postings, it is challenging to be a diamond in the rough. The truth is, it takes a bit of practice to perfect your application and approach to the interview process. Hopefully, you won't have to be doing the whole song and dance too often, but when you are on the hunt for a new career, be sure to let your strengths shine on paper. Companies need to find qualified candidates just as much as you need a job, so keep that in mind as you assemble your application.

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