Applying for a job is hard
If you quit your job and haven’t been working for a while or you got fired life can feel a bit overwhelming.
Maybe you feel like getting past recruiters is a lost battle.
Even though you’re clearly qualified and confident that you would be a great fit, it seems like superpowers are needed to prepare an awesome job application.
One that recruiters will not only read but consider following up on with a job interview.
You worry that you will never crack the cover letter code which will get you closer to the job you want.
Current tips for cover letters, which they also call pain letters now, can be intimidating and confusing.
Did I put in enough of this, do I need to talk about that, shouldn’t I at least mention this?
Recruiting automation technologies are of course a totally different subject. I’m not sure that you can still make a difference once the hiring process is taken over by software.
Apparently, in certain cases, the software even conducts interviews while analyzing your voice and answers. This allows recruiters to screen candidates more efficiently.
This sounds surreal and creepy to me. It would make applying for a job that much harder. Let’s just hope that we don’t have to go through this kind of hiring process…
One application that was a fun experience
Last Sunday, I spent all day preparing a complete job application for a friend. After breakfast, we stumbled upon a job offer from a local DIY-store and it was just perfect “Wow, you have to apply, this is great!
And they are so creative and unconventional, their ads and commercials are awesome; even the job offer is written in the same tone of voice”.
I love their marketing and, based on their communication style, I believed that we could apply in a more informal fashion.
This really was an exciting creativity trigger. So I thought of an infographic to send with the rest so we could show my friend’s extensive experience in the sector.
Calculating, designing, brand colors
This job has nothing to do with marketing, so I didn’t go overboard with the whole infographic idea.
For myself, I would have to take it up several notches because the competition would be fierce.
But, in my friend’s case, no one else will send an infographic.
So it’s perfect to stand out and give the recruiter additional, highly relevant information about his experience.
Information they can’t find in his resume, because refurbishing your own home generally isn’t work-related.
It took almost all day to make the infographic. Choosing a basic design, adapting it to my friend’s needs, putting it in the company’s official colors and getting all relevant information from him.
Then calculating, calculating and calculating some more to fill it with the correct numbers.
This infographic could be improved if needed, but again, it wasn’t for a “creative” job, so it’s fine the way it is.
Everything just flowed. It’s easy to imagine what’s important when you really care about the job and especially the company. It was so much fun to do.
If, like me, you usually dread writing yet another cover letter and drag your feet, this was not one of those times.
It truly was a fun project even if it took all day (and I stayed up bleary-eyed until 1 am).
I’ll show you the result, just to give you an idea. I opted for a very clean and simple infographic which would have involved more work for a different position.
I found the original on Freepik but adapted it to our needs. It’s in French because the job offer was in French.
It shows what kind of material my friend used in two different houses, from the roof to the garden, including tools as well.
The job is in logistics and the infographic illustrates that my friend knows pretty much every type of article they sell in the store.
And the cover letter?
The cover letter was also super easy to write. Although it wasn’t for myself, it reflects my love for home refurbishing and decorating.
I miss having my own home. In Switzerland, you need so much savings in advance that I don’t think we could ever afford to buy anything.
We were homeowners for 13 years though, and I just love making projects. You work together as a team and I got to be creative to make our home as cozy and beautiful as possible.
I still love strolling through the aisles in DIY-stores, touching tiles and hardwood floors, looking at decorative paint and plaster…
People who work there need to be great advisors so your project doesn’t turn into a disaster.
There’s nothing more frustrating than to mess up your dream because you picked the wrong material, or didn’t buy enough of it, only to find out that it was the last batch…
The possibilities to mess up are endless and DIY-staff plays an essential role in helping you make the right decisions.
That’s how you end up happy and proud. No one wants to be embarrassed or disappointed by the end result.
Sometimes it comes naturally
Writing the cover letter was easy. Which stresses my point. If you are a good fit, preparing awesome applications comes naturally.
It only gets difficult when you apply for jobs you don’t really care about.
Unfortunately, that happens more often than not.
Let’s face it, when you need a job, you can’t be picky, at least not much.
So you’re stuck with offers that are “so-so” and you scramble for reasons why you want to work there.
Writing good applications isn’t the real problem. Finding artificial reasons when it’s not your dream job, is.
So what can you do to improve your application?
If you can’t wait for the perfect opportunity to come along, you could
- send spontaneous applications to companies you admire even if there are no job offers
- try to imagine what the real value of the person doing the job would be and show the recruiter how you can deliver
- find out as much relevant information about the company and the job as possible, so you can customize your application (this is the uncomfortable part that involves some effort. If you’re passionate about the company, you’ll do it naturally)
- think outside the box, like adding an infographic, so your application doesn’t get lost in the huge pile of candidates
- make sure your application matches the brand’s voice and colors (if you have the necessary tools)
- ask a friend or someone else for help with your application
I hope this Learning Ninja post gives you some inspiration and motivation if you’re having trouble with your cover letter.
Don’t get discouraged by the rejections, often they have nothing to do with you personally.
Tell yourself that the person who will appreciate you and your skills simply doesn’t work at that company who rejected your application.
Best of luck with your job hunt.
My friend sent his application out on Monday. The very next day, the recruiter invited him to a job interview this Monday.
His application definitely made an impact. A little authentic marketing helped him stand out and got him a foot in the door, hopefully, his experience and personality will get him the job. He deserves it!
Which tip do you like best? If you have more tips and tricks to make this sometimes painful process easier, please leave a comment below!
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