Making the Shortlist for your Job Application

Have you ever applied for a job which you thought you were perfect for, only to find out that you’ve not been called for an interview? Disappointment much?

Perhaps, like me, you dealt with your disappointment by rationalizing that the competition was simply too great, or by fuming at the hiring manager’s inability to recognize your capabilities.

Why you failed to get shortlisted for an interview is either due to the fact that your application just failed to demonstrate sufficiently why you’re a good candidate, or that you misunderstood the job, and simply weren’t good a fit as they thought you were.

Here are some tips on how to avoid this by uncovering what an employer is really looking for when they post that vacancy – and how to prove you are their ideal candidate.


Match job requirements

Make sure you meet the main criteria, drill down into the detail of the job. Most job ads come will a job description and a list of essential skills and competences for the role. Go through each selection criteria to check if you have good examples to back you up.

Your examples should detail not simply that you did these things, but that as a result of doing them, there were benefits for the organisation.


Uncovering hidden requirements

On some rare occasion, hiring managers would name a contact you can talk to in order to find out more about the job before you apply. Always take this opportunity if it is offered. You need to find out more about that it is like to work there and how it operates.

Look closely at any information you have been sent as well as their website and marketing materials. Pick up clues about the culture and self-perception of the organisation. Then use the language that is reflective of this within your application, making you seem more of a natural fit.


What if you don’t meet all of the criteria?

If you meet the majority of the criteria but not all but you’re convinced you could do a great job for them, then just go ahead and send your application in. Try these strategies:

1. Identify ways in which you could easily bridge any gaps

Say: “Although I do not currently have Adobe Photoshop skills, I have an extensive Marketing experience and have signed myself up for Adobe Photoshop classes for the next three months.”

2. Highlight transferable skills

Say: “Although I have not worked in account management before, I have always worked in customer-facing environments where relationship management was essential.”

3. Use extracurricular experience and show your keen interest

Say: “Although I do not have direct experience of working for a charity, I am actively involved in volunteering for a larger environment charity.”


Source: Max Pixel (image)