You think you're the only one applying for that position?

When you apply for a job, how many people do you think apply for the same position? Our recent listing for 'writer and editor' have received over 150 applications so far, and counting. Sure, everyone wishes to be the next Hunter S. Thompson tripping acid while playing golf for a living, but truth is a majority of the applicants couldn't write, nor edit, and yet thought they were the best fit for the job. We talked with other hiring managers to see if this was true across the board. It was. So we worked up a list of qualities that help applicants stand out from the crowd.

1. Don't be an idiot, learn about the company

All too often, applicants submit their glorious resumes and cover letters without giving a second thought to what hiring managers plan to do with this mound of superfluous ice cream parlor or your internship at a marketing firm. We don’t care. We want to see how well your social and professional skills will fit in with the company’s culture and personality. To prove to us you’re capable of being an important asset in the company, show us that you’re aware of the company’s goods, services and culture by doing your research. See if you truly want to work for this company. That will inspire the passion in your cover letter and impress the people reading it. Don’t ramble on about your interests regarding equal priority to the rhetorical structures of gender, politics, and subject construct when the company manufactures sex toys and needs a marketing assistant. 

2. Showcase your relevant skillset from the start

Are you applying to be a writer? A designer? A financial analyst? Then show it in the cover letter, don’t describe it. Relate your skills learned in past job positions or academia to the requirements for the new position. Don’t send in a cover letter highlighting your ability to run marathons when the job opening is for copy editing at a magazine. If you’re a writer, use the cover letter to showcase your strong prose and syntax. If you’re a designer, submit artwork from your profile, then use the cover letter to describe how your efficient style would help the company meet deadlines. And if you’re a financial analyst, reference your knowledge for investment tools pertaining to certain strategies. Relevance in a resume keeps you relevant.    

3. Follow-up

Luckily for hiring managers, and other hiring sites have provided unlimited outlets to find myriad applicants; this means that for every job we post, we’re now bombarded with piles of resumes complete with superfluous job titles, work experience and Prom court achievements. In short, it will take time to vet applicants and reach out to them by email or phone. By following up with an email or phone call to the company, you’re re-introducing your name to managers, which separates you from the stack of names sitting in front of them. They’ll take another look at your resume, and that doesn’t hurt your chances. 

4. Keep it short and simple, young grasshopper

We’re glad that your mother loves you and she inspired you to go to college where you wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for you Psych 101 teacher who introduced you to Dr. Leonard who’s now invited to your wedding. We just don’t want to hear about it in the cover letter. Keep it short and simple. Most people who read emails, cover letters and large continuous clumps of words won’t read past the first two paragraphs. It’s sad but true. TL;DR. Make sure to keep glorified writing to a minimum and focus on the point of the cover letter: why you’re perfectly suited for the company. Save the sob stories for your co-workers who also really don’t care. 

5. Do you

At the end of the day, it’s about you, not the company. Vision is always a step ahead of execution, and this conundrum often leaves people frustrated and impatient, forcing them joining a company for the wrong reasons. Do your research, ask questions and think if this job is for you. If you had all of the money in the world, would you still want this job?