How to be a great candidate and have your job application in the YES pile!

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We recently took part in a recruitment engagement for a client. They wanted the candidate to submit a photo of their favourite holiday destination. Simple enough you would think!  Yet only ONE candidate out of the 60 that applied for this marketing position submitted a photo of their favourite holiday place with their application. A few however did submit photos of themselves in the application (never advisable).    The candidate who read the application and followed the request demonstrated attention to detail (a requirement of the role) and put time into writing a great cover letter and CV. This showed real interest in the role, plus they could meet the essential job criteria. They made the Yes pile and got to interview and got the job.  Unfortunately, in the world of online applications, sending off a generic job application in a rush is the normal approach which is not very effective.

Candidates who have multiple rejections have often not done their homework and followed the instructions in the application!

A Great Candidate is one who fully understands the requirements of a role. The job advertisement will provide you with a summary of the key requirements for the role. It will also give you some insights on why the organisation is hiring and information on the organisation too.

We recommend that you do your own research on the organisation to find out why the role is vacant and decide whether you are a good fit for the role and organisation too.

Here are some steps that a great candidate takes to create a winning application that will quickly get then into the YES pile:

  1. Analyse the job advertisement – am I a great candidate?

Before you start your application, read through the job advertisement and highlight all the information that you need to include in your application. Use the job advertisement as a guide on the key requirements for the role and differentiate yourself from all the other applicants. List the questions you may want answering before making your application.

  1. Write tailored applications – why are you a great candidate?

Many applicants miss out on opportunities by not addressing the key requirements for the role and send in a standard cover letter and resume for all their applications. This is often the main reason why applications are rejected. Candidates miss the chance to engage the recruiter’s interest by ignoring the key messages in the job advertisement. Candidates can miss the number one rule of marketing – to engage someone, focus on what they are interested in. The job advertisement will clearly describe what the recruiter is expecting to see in the job applications from the candidates.

  1. Express your interest in the role – what makes you excited about this opportunity?

Another mistake is to leave out why you want the role in your application. The hirer is keen to recruit someone who really wants the job. In the last paragraph of your cover letter tell the reader why you are interested/excited/passionate about their organisation, product, this opportunity.

Remember not all Recruiters get it right! 

In some cases when there is no dedicated Recruiter with good job ad writing skills, resulting in the job advertisement being vague and poorly written. This often results in the wrong candidate’s applying for the role or no applications. Occasionally the advertisement is a ‘sweeper’ and looking for interest from candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. This style of advertising is sometimes used by recruiters when there is a skill shortage or they have several similar roles to fill. However, advertisements must be created for real jobs.

Focusing on what is wanted in the job application will give you some insights into trends on skills in demand and help you stay focused on your career too.


We have created this checklist to give you a simple process to carefully analyse a job advertisement to make sure that you understand the requirements for the role and create a list of the reasons why you are the best candidate too. Completing this checklist will also help you to stay objective about the job opportunity and focus what you need to include in your application to be a great candidate.

Click on this link to visit our resources page to get your free copy of the E2W Job Application Checklist.

If your applications are not getting you through to interview stage, sign up for our workshop on Friday 29 June in Melbourne on Eventbrite


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