Getting a job is one of the hardest tasks you will need to complete. You go through all the hard work of gaining qualifications and sitting down and searching the web or newspapers looking for “jobs” only to suffer knock backs and become increasingly downhearted.

A lot of the time, the reason job applications are unsuccessful is down to the initial application. We hear so much from career advisers and recruitment agencies about the importance of a stand-out application. However, one that really jumps out at the employer and ensures that yours doesn’t become just another application in the pile on the desk.

The obvious thought that goes through many minds at this stage is “bright colours and images,” but this can work against some applicants because they go too far, and the application becomes unprofessional. So what do you do? Get noticed, but don’t be in their face.

Here are five tips for creating a stand-out job application that will stand you in good stead for earning that interview.

  • Do your research. When you start to fill out an application, you need to consider the needs of the company to which you are applying. You need to tell the employer about everything that is relevant to the position in question, which includes your qualifications and all the details that show why you meet their criteria. To do this, go to the company website, or even pop in to their office to get a feel for the culture. You can then demonstrate a thorough understanding of the business and why you’re perfect for the job.
  • Read the instructions. Many people go wrong when they don’t understand the questions on the application form. They glance at it once, get an idea and begin to fill in their response and without realising it they’ve gone off topic and not answered the question sufficiently. Check, check, check again and then begin to write. Use a word processing program to write out your answers before copying them into the on-line form – use the spelling and grammar checkers, as well as the word count function. If it is a paper application, make a copy and write out your answers in pencil before completing the application using a pen.
  • Answer all of the questions. Don’t leave any questions unanswered, as this will automatically indicate a lack of understanding or ability. Before sending your application off you need to make sure everything that requires an answer has one, that is one that is good enough to get you an interview or the job.
  • Be consistent throughout your application. When you send in a CV, you need to include all of the dates. Where a number of applicants for jobs fall is when they then talk about their qualifications and get the dates wrong, which shows inconsistencies to the employer who may feel that you are lying on your application. Make sure every date is correct and backed up with evidence.
  • Proofread it! After taking the time to get your application right, you don’t want to fall at the final hurdle by allowing spelling or grammar mistakes to be your downfall. Proofread everything you’ve written to ensure it is correct and makes sense.