Applying for a job can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when you are competing against many other candidates. However, with the right approach and mindset, you can greatly increase your chances of success. In this article, we will discuss some strategies for maximizing your chance of a successful job application.
What is a Successful Job Application?
The first thing to understand is that the hiring process follows 5 stages:
- Sourcing: Job posts are used to build a pool of candidates for a role.
- Screening: The goal of this second phase is to reduce the pool of candidates from a large group to a manageable group that can be interviewed.
- Interviewing: This is where recruiters/ hiring managers can properly understand which candidate would best fit the role and may include multiple interviews as well as assessments.
- References & Background Check: Recruiters/ hiring managers contact previous employers to confirm employment history.
- Decision: You get a job offer (fingers crossed!)
A successful job application will get you an interview in stage 3. This is the only goal of a job application.
4 Factors of a Job Application
There are 4 factors of job application that are in your control, maximize these and you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to get that interview.
1. Your resume
When applying for a job, your resume is usually the first introduction that a prospective employer will have of you. Hence, it is crucial to create a positive impact with it. Your resume should clearly demonstrate you possess the specific key skills and experience required for the role so much so that the recruiter or hiring manager wants to speak with you.
We have addressed all three fundamental elements of a successful resume in the following article:
- Readable Layout: 6 Tips On How To Design The Perfect Resume Layout
- Relevant Content: 3 Tips For Writing The Most Effective Resume Content
- Tailored: The #1 Golden Rule For The Most Effective Resume
2. The jobs you choose to apply for
90% of candidates create a single resume and then send it out to every job post they come across. This strategy has a +95% failure rate. What they don’t realize is 10 tailored applications have a much higher chance of success than 100 generic applications. Quality is better than quantity.
Think about the kind of role you want to have 3, 5 or 10 years from now.
- Does it have a specific title? Head of department, CTO, lead content creator, etc.
- What industries are you interested in? Gaming, DeFi, NFTs, etc
- What are the typical career paths to get there? Use LinkedIn to find profiles of people who are currently doing what you want to do and research the career paths they took to get there. You can reach out to them and ask for advice on the type of roles you should be looking at next – don’t be shy, Linkedin was literally built to help people professionally connect!
- What responsibilities are you missing from your experiences? Identify roles that offer you the potential to take on those responsibilities
- What kind of company environment? Startup, scale-up or an already mature organisation
Now you should have a better understanding of the type of roles, companies and industries you should focus your attention on that will take you a step closer to where you want to be. This will also be useful during the interview stage.
3. Your answers to any application questions
Many job posts request that candidates answer a range of required and optional questions alongside sending their resume. The answers to the required questions are the first thing recruiters and hiring managers will look at to determine if it’s even worth their time to read the attached resume. Just like your resume, your answers should clearly demonstrate you possess the specific key skills and experience the question is asking for.
- Strong answers will greatly improve your chances of moving to the next stage
- Mediocre/ weak answers may still at least lead to the recruiter/ hiring manager to read the attached resume
- A blank answer to a required question will most likely lead to a rejected application
If you feel you can’t adequately answer the required questions then it’s worth considering that maybe that particular role isn’t for you.
4. Your mindset
You should aim to have a bias towards action. Create that tailored resume. Answer those questions. Send that application today.
Don’t put it off
Men typically send an application if they cover 60% of requirements whereas women will only send one if they cover 100% of the requirements. As long as you follow the 3 fundamental elements of a successful resume and answer any questions, send that application. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Don’t assume too much
Many potential candidates are hesitant to apply for roles that are older than 3 weeks. If the job post is live it means they haven’t hired anyone yet. Send your application. Don’t assume that they may already have found someone, there are many reasons why a job post is active for a long time:
- There may be multiple openings for the same role
- The ideal candidate may not have been found yet
- Small teams are generally more selective
- The higher the important of a position, the more selective the hiring team
- Batch hiring: some hiring managers set a certain time frame for collecting as many candidates as possible before moving on to the next stage
- The hiring manager is not back from holiday, etc.
Don’t lose motivation
If you’re rejected, pick yourself up and go again. You’ve now got some extra feedback and maybe a little more interview practice. You’re already in a better position for next time!
Job-seeking is usually a stressful period for anyone. You can’t do more than give 100%. Stress and negative thoughts bring down your capacity to run at your peak performance. If you’re only performing at 50% then you can expect that everything you’re doing will probably only be 50% as good as it can be. Make sure you set aside time to do the things that restore your mental energy. It’s better to take a couple of days off and have 3 peak performance days than having 5 days of 50% performance.
All you can do is put in your best efforts – if you do that, then you should be proud of yourself no matter the outcome. Keep at it and you’ll get there!