Applying for jobs is a full-time job. 

A unique job application is priceless in today’s cutthroat job market. According to research, recruiters only glance at resumes for 7.4 seconds, so being able to make an impression immediately is crucial.

You must approach job applications holistically if your application must stand out.

Here are a few hacks to improve your chances of landing a job interview 

1. Tailor your application

Do not have a single resume and cover letter you send out for your applications.

Recruiters and hiring managers to detest generic resumes, CVs and cover letters that do not highlight the required skill set, making them question your competence, integrity and work ethic.

It’s important to tailor your resume to the job to make your application stand out and show that you’ve done your homework and research about the company and the role.

Take the pain of researching for roles and responsibilities of the position you are applying for, especially as regards the company. Then, tailor your application to embody the job role.

2. Keep it simple

A cluttered resume or CV speaks poorly of the applicant.

Please keep it simple, concise and straightforward. Do not use ambiguous words.

Use the standard font and layout. Resumes or CVs are official documents; they don’t need to be designed graphically.

Ensure your spelling and grammar are on point and consistent throughout the document.

Go through your work thoroughly. Approach an expert in your field to review your document.

When you are done, save it as a pdf document to preserve the layout.

Your resume is your first impression before an interview. Make a good first impression.

3. Use Relevant Keywords 

It may surprise you that employers and recruiters do not have the time to sit for long hours and review applications. They use software and tools to skim through applications using specific keywords relevant to the role and reduce the number of applications they will review.

So, no matter how competent or good your resume is, it will be sent to the trash can if it doesn’t contain the relevant buzzwords.

But you can avoid this by doing the following:

  • Use action words to demonstrate the results you can achieve and what kind of soft skills you have that will benefit the organisation.
  • Capitalise on your strengths, and they relate to the role you are applying for.
  • Emphasise skills, not titles. Employers are more concerned with relevant skills and capacity than titles or offices you have held.

4. Relevant qualifications 

No employer was interested in your qualifications and achievements ten years ago. They want to see current certifications and recent achievements, and they want to see a track record of continuous improvement.

Enrol for courses, classes and certifications in your field while applying for jobs. Get the up-to-date knowledge and certifications, and include them in your resume and CV.

Volunteering is a good way of getting free and recent experience in your field. You can also offer your services free for a start as a consultant.

However, if you feel your qualifications don’t measure up to the company’s specifications, still apply. Sometimes recruiters prefer applicants who are teachable, open-minded and have a growth mindset to those who only have technical skills.

5 Clean up your social media

Social media is the new CV. Many recruiters don’t even ask for your CV these days; they ask for your social media handles.


Because your social media profile says a lot about who you are; personality, opinions, life’s values, priorities, career prospects etc. A recruiter or employer can decide whether you are the best fit for a job by perusing your social media profile.

So, if your social media profile does not reflect the career prospects you are aspiring for, you need to get to work immediately.

Maximise LinkedIn to build a strong online presence, flesh out your resume with additional information, references, and other skills, and reiterate your employment history, skills, and education in your CV.

After the optimisation, make an effort to write and share posts that are on par with your career, connect with people in your industry, and contribute to social communities.

You can also have a personal webpage to showcase projects you have worked on.

6. Be a stellar performer at your current job

If you are searching for a job while working at another, you should maintain a good working relationship with your boss and colleagues.

When you establish yourself as a stellar professional, your references will have good things to say about you. Your awards, achievements and references will give your resume a facelift.

Do well to ask for a recommendation letter from your employer while still with them. Request for endorsement from your colleagues on professional platforms like LinkedIn.

You can explore volunteering opportunities to get recommendations if you are a virgin applicant.

7. Follow up

It’s not enough to apply. Follow through on the application by sending a thank you note before and after being invited for an interview.

If you are genuinely qualified for the job but don’t receive feedback, reach out to the hiring manager, recruiter or management via call or email. Confirm that your resume has been received, and be ready to explain briefly why you believe you are the right person for the job. Doing this will highlight your resume in what may be a cluttered inbox and spin the hiring manager’s attention.

Even if you receive a rejection letter, send a thank you note for considering your application and ask to be notified if something comes up.

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DO Career network is a network that supports Fresh graduates, NYSC, job seekers, junior, middle and senior-level professionals by training, preparing, connecting, and providing opportunities that enable them to secure jobs, scholarships, lead successful careers and, most importantly, take action to drive sustainable development in their community.

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