How to Make Your Job Application More Exciting  

by Jonathan Walker

After an excruciatingly concerted effort of searching the job market for that One True Job; you find the perfect job (well, at least for the time being); that vacancy that makes your ears prick and your toes twitch involuntarily. You're thinking "This is it. This is the one I've been looking for all along." Then, like a football receiver anticipating that wild Hail Mary pass from the other end of the field, you think "This one is mine. Please let this one be on me." The quarterback lets loose the ball...

And you did not make it. Maybe you fumbled. Maybe you were tackled 20 yards to the grid iron. Maybe you did not run fast enough. And maybe you realized that the ball was not really meant for you, and another receiver strutted after the touchdown. You bend over at the sidelines, gasping for air.

You could think of the quarterback as that faceless employer, who has to sort through hundreds of applications for that vacancy; and they have to form quick decisions and filter through the solid applicants from riff-raffs. They have to make sure that nothing should fall through the cracks, this being done with quick, furtive glances per application. If your application is a beat-up rehash of the usual format, with a template objective and an ambivalent attitude, then it blends in perfectly with the muddied blur of the recruiter's daily routine. But if your application kicked and elbowed its way to the forefront demanding not only a second glance, but thorough attention, then not only did you score a touchdown, but you hit the ball out of the park, at least before the interview.

Every applicant's immediate objective is to put one foot inside the door and merit an interview. That's why the application is written with this goal in mind. You pepper it with words you know are in line with the industry. You bombard it with your experiences and achievements. These techniques are in no way harmful, but if they are overused and overemphasized, the application reaches the limits of mediocrity.

Consider the following objective: 'Applying for the position posted/advertised in..." The statement is in the active voice which is good, but the phrasing is beat up. Plus the opening is self-defeating. Weren't you writing the application for the purpose of applying? Why restate the obvious?

Or have you fallen for this one? 'Seeking employment in a job commensurate to my qualifications and experience.' Not only does this sound vague and redundant, it tests the recruiter's patience to move on to the next sentence.

Now consider this opening: 'With ten years of experience in journalism as a field correspondent, I have the ability to discern what makes news tick, which promotions sell, and which headlines move copies. I have no plagiarism and libel suites filed against me, and my reputation as a correspondent is impeccable. I have a deadline-oriented attitude, flexibility when it comes to rushing late-minute updates, and I am extremely capable of handling pressure. The following qualifications will further strengthen my necessity in the company:

The recruiter immediately sees the applicant's experience and core strength, the confidence in knowing the industry they are involved in, and the determination to apply these skills and experiences to the job at hand.

A powerful opening grabs the employer's attention and gives him or her pleasure in making a thorough run-down of what you have to offer. It lets them know that the two of you speak the same language, are both on the same page, and most importantly, that you mean business.

About the Author

This article is written by Jonathan Walker of Recruitment Jobs