The Ultimate Job Application Tool

Download your Employability Canvas template here

My Employability Canvas’ has been designed by Nicky Hutchinson from Unlocking Potential to help you really engage with a job role on every level so when you submit your application, it is well thought through, entirely tailored and totally congruent.  It is based on the simple formula that Employers are looking for candidates who have the ability or potential to do their job, are motivated and enthusiastic and most importantly, who will fit into their organisation and/or team.  To stand out and get shortlisted, candidates need to have researched the role, the organisation and have thought through and carefully crafted their application.  ‘My Employability Canvas’ will help you to consider whether a job role is right for you, how you fit the mould required and to structure your application so that you stand out from the crowd.  

The right hand side of the canvas is aligned to the job role and the organisation that you are interested to work for; this will focus you on what they are looking for and need.  The left hand side of the canvas covers what you can offer to the organisation in return.  The bottom of the canvas is all about your potential personal investment in the role, if you are successful, weighed up against what you might get in return on the right.

‘My Employability Canvas’ can be printed or drawn out on a large piece of paper.  We recommend using sticky notes as an effective method of completing each of the sections as these can be swapped easily and prioritised, helping you to plan your application. 


Using ‘My Employability Canvas’:

First, find a job or an organisation that you would really like to apply/work for.  Print this canvas off on A3 or larger paper OR draw it out.  Grab yourself some sticky post-it notes and make notes on them to attach to the relevant sections.


‘Could You Do It’ sections (sections which demonstrate you have the aptitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and/or qualifications or simply potential to do the role)

My Value Proposition

In this section, you need to evidence how you fit the job description and person specification for the role.  Keep this specific and relevant to the job role in question ensuring that where you are meeting the requirements for skills, experience, qualifications etc. these can then be highlighted when crafting your CV and cover letter or completing the application.  These are the facts and figures which will tick the boxes of the requirements.

My Support Network

These are the stakeholders and enablers, in the forms of people and organisations to support you into work, or who have a stake in your employment. Without these people, it would be harder for you to secure or keep a job.  

What I would Give To Work

Consider all the things that you will have to change, invest in or sacrifice in order to take up this opportunity.  The list can be longer than you think and might have you thinking hard about whether this is the right opportunity after all…

‘Will You Love It’ sections:

My Career Passion/Values

Take the time to consider all the things that are important to you about your career.  Think through why a job or organisation ‘ticks your boxes’ and enthuses you.  Your enthusiasm and passion will be essential to convincing an employer you will love working for them.  

My Strengths and Aptitudes

People tend to fair better and be most productive when they are working in a role which enables them to play to their strengths and natural aptitudes.  They also tend to enjoy themselves better and feel less stressed.  Consider what your relevant strengths and aptitudes are and then, how you will be using them in this role/organisation.

What I Could/Want To Receive

This prepares you for salary and package negotiation if you get offered the job.  One role might offer a salary increase from your current position where another might be a drop.  What can you afford to go to at the lower end of a range? What other benefits are there? Where do you fit in the market place (check out what other similar roles pay for your level of experience)?  N.B. You might not be able to establish everything about the package before the interview so will want to weigh this up against the rest of the canvas if you get offered the role.


‘Will The Organisation Love You’ sections:

My Relationship Strategy

In many cases, the relationship you have or cultivate with an employer is much more important than your skills or experience for a role.  Making a great impression on someone can bypass the required skills and experience because ultimately, having trust and a fantastic relationship is the most important thing when it comes to job offers.  Who do you know who works at this firm or could put you in contact with some of the influencers for the role?  Who could you talk to, to find out more about the role to build that relationship?  Team fit is usually more important than having all the skills needed – organisations can train you to do a role – they can’t train you to be who you are.        

My Communications Strategy

The organisation will require your application in a certain format. Comply with the rules.  However, you might find that you can make a greater impression through the inclusion of other media.  Some ideas we have seen include different CV delivery mechanisms; films, animations, special deliveries, cardboard cut-outs, gifts of cake etc.  It won’t work with every organisation, because some organisations like traditional and restrained applications, but sometimes, something simple can flatter your potential new Manager or catch their attention. 

How I Will Help

This is the key section to demonstrate your commercial awareness and research into the role, the team and the organisation itself.  This section is specific to you and the value you will bring to the organisation or the job role.  This is where you can demonstrate the value of past experience, your understanding of the organisation’s and the role’s objectives and the deliverables you think you can offer in this job which will best support the organisation’s vision and mission.  This is crucially important for grabbing the attention of your recruiter and get them intrigued to meet you. 


Once all the sections have been completed, work out your strategy for prioritising and compiling the information in your application.  Move sticky notes around to prioritise your key points.  Spend time tailoring and crafting your application as you only get one shot to make a great first impression. 

Download your Employability Canvas template here

Good luck.

Nicky Hutchinson. 

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