Employers Reveal What Grabs Their Attention

You’ve been scrolling through job sites looking for work, when you finally come across your dream role, great! But what next? The chances are someone else thinks it’s the perfect job for them too. So how do you get an employer to take notice and make your application stand out? We spoke to business leaders to get some of their top tips for making your job application stand out.

Mark Peters, Managing Director of Pirate FM, said the most effective thing you can do is make sure your CV is targeted to the job you’re applying for.

He said: “The moment you receive a CV, that has perhaps a sectioned out part at the top where you see the candidate has made an effort to target their CV towards your job in particular, that takes more of my time to interpret that. I’ll look at it in more detail and that candidate is way more likely to receive an interview because it’s a highly-targeted, well thought out, proactive approach.”

In any application, it’s important to show that you have a good understanding of the role you are applying for. It’s also a good idea to spend time researching the company before you start your application. Even pick up the phone and ask about the role they are advertising- it’s a good way to get a feel of the place and helps start building a relationship with the employer.

We asked Fiona Campbell-Howes, Managing Director of Radix Communications, what makes an application stand out.

She said: “It’s mainly the cover letter that gets my attention the most. It’s people who have really thought about the job and why they’re suitable for it. You get a lot of applications where people have clearly been taught how to do a covering letter and they’re quite stilted and they use the same sort of formal language, so we look for people who are talking in their natural voice.” 

Once you’ve targeted your CV to the role, make sure you check, check and check again for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It is also well worth asking a trusted friend or colleague to be ‘critical friend’ and look over your application to give it a sense check and spot any glaring typos or errors you might have missed. These kinds of slip ups stand out to employers and can be a massive turn-off when they are selecting candidates to interview.

Andy Peters, Head of Business Development at Unlocking Potential has helped hundreds of businesses recruit, he said there are many common pitfalls that candidates fall into when applying for jobs. You can hear Andy’s tips on what to do (and what not to do) in the video below.

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