17 Job Application Tips for 2024

Looking for some fresh job application tips?

Let’s be honest, the job market isn’t the best right now and there are A LOT of us looking for jobs and many of us don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere (if that’s you, you’re not alone!).

If you’re looking for some brand new job application tips, or you simply want a refresher – these are for you!

Must-Read Job Application Trips

Image of woman sitting on the floor typing on a laptop

1. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Customizing both your resume and cover letter to fit a specific role is critical when you’re applying for a job. ‘Form’ style is great for quantity but doesn’t really show quality.

To do this, you want to carefully review the job description so you actually understand what they’re looking for. Then highlight THOSE skills and experience in your history that match their requirements.

For example, if the job listing emphasizes leadership and project management, you want it to be glaringly obvious that you have those skills. This personalized approach shows that not only have you read the job description, BUT you actually fit their needs.

2. Use Keywords

Many employers use an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes before they are seen by a human. While this can be more efficient for them, it’s not always great for getting your resume seen.

These systems essentially scan applications for keywords from the job description. Which means, if you DON’T have those keywords, yours probably won’t be seen. So, to increase your chances of getting through this initial screening, mirror the language of the job listing in your resume and cover letter.

For example, if the job ad lists “project management” as a desired skill, include that exact phrase in your application materials. This strategic use of keywords can help ensure that your application passes the ATS and reaches a real person… though, to be fair, it’s NOT a guarantee.

3. Showcase Your Achievements

Your resume needs to go beyond just listing your job titles and duties. For success when applying, you want to focus on specific achievements in your roles that demonstrate your capabilities and effectiveness.

To convey this, you want to use numbers and data. For example, rather than simply saying you “managed a team” you want to say something more specific like “managed a team of 10 in completing a project under budget, resulting in a 15% cost saving.”

These quantifiable achievements make your abilities concrete and underscore the impact you could bring to the potential employer.

4. Research the Company

Before you hit that ‘apply’ button, you want to spend time to ensure that you understand the company.

I recommend visiting their website, checking out social media feeds, and reading up on any recent news. Not only can this research help you tailor your application and ensure your goals align, but it’s invaluable during interviews.

This research will help you tailor your application and discuss how your goals align with theirs. Additionally, this knowledge will be invaluable during interviews, allowing you to impress employers with your insight into their company and demonstrating your genuine interest in becoming part of their team.

5. Follow ALL the Instructions

There’s nothing that will take you out of the running faster then failing to follow a simple instruction on a job application.

These instructions can vary, but could include:

  • Specific document formatting
  • How to submit documents
  • Naming documents
  • Whether you submit through their system or send an email

You want to pay CLOSE attention to these details. Failing to follow instructions can disqualify you before your application is even reviewed.

Make sure to provide all requested documents, fill out all fields in application forms, and adhere to any specified guidelines. This attentiveness shows your ability to follow directions and your respect for the application process.

6. Professional Formatting

The presentation of your resume and cover letter is almost as important as the content.

You want to use a clean, professional format with clear headings, consistent fonts, and a logical layout. Avoid dense blocks of text and opt for bullet points where possible to make your achievements easy to scan.

A well-formatted document not only looks more appealing but also makes it easier for hiring managers to find the most relevant information.

7. Strong Opening Statement

The opening statement of your cover letter is your first opportunity to capture the hiring manager’s attention.

Begin with a dynamic sentence that highlights your enthusiasm for the position and your unique qualifications. For example, instead of a generic introduction, you might say, “With over five years of dedicated experience in digital marketing and a proven track record of increasing user engagement by over 50%, I am excited about the opportunity to bring my expertise to [Company Name].”

A compelling opener not only grabs attention but also sets the tone for the rest of your letter, making it clear why you are the ideal candidate for the job.

8. Proofread

Meticulously proofreading your resume, cover letter, and other application materials is essential. Typos, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes can undermine your professionalism and reduce your chances of making a good impression.

Take the time to thoroughly check your documents, and consider using tools like grammar checkers or having a friend review your application. A clean, error-free submission reflects your attention to detail and dedication to presenting your best self.

9. Use a Professional Email Address

Your email address is often the first thing an employer sees. An unprofessional email address can make a poor first impression.

If your current email address is informal or outdated, create a new one that uses your name or a variation that maintains a professional tone, such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com.

This small step can make your communications seem more professional and can be particularly important when your email is shared among decision-makers.

10. Leverage LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile should act as an extension of your resume and a platform for professional engagement.

Ensure that your profile is not only up to date but also showcases a professional image, detailed descriptions of your work experience, and any relevant achievements.

Regularly engaging with posts, sharing industry-relevant content, and connecting with professionals in your field can increase your visibility and demonstrate your active involvement in your industry.

11. Network

Networking can significantly influence the success of your job search.

Start by identifying contacts within your industry or at companies where you’d like to work. Reach out to these connections in a professional yet approachable manner, expressing your interest in learning more about their company and any potential opportunities.

Attending industry conferences, seminars, and networking events can also expand your professional circle. A referral from a network contact can greatly increase your chances of getting an interview and can provide valuable inside information about the company culture and job expectations.

12. Prepare for Behavioral Questions

Behavioral interview questions are designed to assess your problem-solving and decision-making skills by asking you to provide examples from your past work experiences.

Prepare for these questions by reflecting on different challenges or projects you’ve handled. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers, clearly outlining the context, your role, the actions you took, and the outcomes of those actions.

Practicing these scenarios in advance will help you articulate your experiences more clearly and confidently during the interview.

13. Be Ready to Discuss Anything on Your Resume

It’s important to be able to discuss every detail listed on your resume during interviews.

Prepare by reviewing each job position, skill, and project you’ve included, and think about the responsibilities, challenges, and achievements associated with each. Be ready to explain the significance of your experiences and how they make you a suitable candidate for the job you’re applying for.

This preparation helps you speak confidently and ensures that you don’t get caught off-guard by questions about your own background.

14. Follow Up

Following up after submitting a job application or after an interview is a key step in demonstrating your interest and enthusiasm for the position.

If you haven’t received a response within a week or two, send a polite follow-up email. Your message should be brief and professional, expressing your continued interest in the role and your eagerness to discuss your application further.

This can help keep your candidacy top of mind and show that you are proactive and serious about the opportunity.

15. Apply Even If You’re Not a 100% Match

Many job seekers hesitate to apply for positions unless they meet every single requirement. However, “qualifications” often represent a wishlist for the ideal candidate, not strict prerequisites.

If you meet most of the qualifications and believe you can perform well in the role, submit your application. Highlight how your relevant skills and experiences make you a strong candidate, and be prepared to learn other aspects of the job.

This approach can open up more opportunities and sometimes leads to unexpected job offers.

16. Stay Organized

Job hunting can become overwhelming, especially when managing multiple applications.

Stay organized by keeping a detailed record of all applications, including dates of application, responses received, and follow-up actions. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a dedicated job search app to track this information.

This not only helps you manage your applications efficiently but also ensures that you’re timely with your follow-ups and prepared for any upcoming interviews without any last-minute rush.

17. Practice Self-Care

The stress of job searching can take a toll on your mental and physical health. It’s important to maintain a routine that supports well-being.

This could include regular exercise, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, and time for relaxation and hobbies. Manage stress by setting realistic goals, celebrating small successes, and maintaining a positive outlook.

Remember, job searching is a marathon, not a sprint, and taking care of yourself is crucial to maintaining resilience throughout the process.

Final Thoughts: Job Application Tips

There are plenty of job application tips out there, but these 17 are a great place to start.

The job hunting process can be a LONG one, but it’s worth it in the end. Make sure that your head is fully in the game for the BEST chance to actually secure the job.

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