Stuck on What Jobs You Should Be Applying For? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions Before You Apply

a stack of papers next to glasses and a pen


Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley for FlexJobs
Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley for FlexJobs
May 22, 2024 at 1:35AM UTC
Are you in the middle of a lengthy job search? Submitting applications and resume packets can get tedious for anyone, especially when your job search has gone on longer than you had anticipated. Or, perhaps you’ve discovered your dream role and need to ensure that you’re sending in an application that stands out from the crowd.
Regardless of where you are in your job search, make sure you’re taking the time to ask yourself some critical questions before you push submit. Your application packet will introduce you to the recruiter and hopefully land you an interview, so you want to ensure it shines.

Evaluating Your Job Application

Sometimes it’s best to take a short break and review your application materials with a clear head. You’ll want to ensure that everything you intend to convey is genuinely communicated.

1. Have I included everything requested in the job posting?

While submitting a tailored resume is usually standard, you also need to ensure that you include all of the required materials. Often, employers will specify what they want to receive along with your resume. They may ask you to address specific qualifications within the cover letter, including samples of your work, pass along references, or note your availability. Some request that applicants use a particular subject line to make emails easier to sort (and to see who knows how to follow directions).
Scrutinize the job posting and double-check that you’ve covered all bases. Then, triple-check that you’ve attached everything—it’ll spare you the embarrassment of having to resend your material because you forgot something the first time. Sending a complete application packet will help get you noticed by the recruiter as someone thorough and detail-oriented.

2. Have I connected the dots from my experience to the role?

It can be tempting to want to include everything about yourself in your resume, but this can backfire. Employers are often looking for particular skills and experience, and if your resume is too long or full of irrelevant information, they may have difficulty finding what they need. Instead, focus on relevant information that will demonstrate why you’re the right person for the job.
Use actual examples from your background and previous experiences that connect the dots for the hiring manager about how your experience is a great fit. They need to have an idea of your skills and how you would be an asset to their team.

3. Have I checked the grammar, spelling, and accuracy?

Did you know that over 75% of recruiters report that typos are a deal-breaker? Take the time to run spelling and grammar checks, and then return after a break and check again with fresh eyes. And it would be best if you were also looking for errors beyond the obvious spelling and grammatical errors. You need to ensure that all the information is accurate. Consider whether your contact details are up to date. Do all of your links work on your digital submissions? Is the font consistent throughout the document?
It’s also critical to check that the salutation includes the correct name of the hiring manager. Finally, it’s worth taking a step back and ensuring that everything makes sense. If you’re constantly cutting and pasting while composing your application, it can be easy to include some irrelevant information accidentally. By taking the time to proofread thoroughly, you can avoid these mistakes and avoid appearing sloppy.

4. Have I showcased that I’m the best candidate?

Finally, take a moment to reflect on the total package. Is your tone upbeat? Does your material appear tailored to this specific position, or does it come off as generic? Is there evidence that you thoroughly researched the company and you’re eager to join the team? Or, do you seem overly anxious to get any job? Fix any areas you find lacking.
Perhaps you need to concentrate more on the employer’s agenda rather than your own, or maybe your text could benefit from a lively story or action verbs that pack a more potent punch. Are your resume bullets well-crafted, or are they rife with generic adjectives that don’t communicate anything? The confidence that shines through when you’ve presented your best self may be the edge that catches someone’s eye and lands you the job you want!

Crafting Your Best Application Submission

Many job seekers spend oodles of time creating their resumes, scrutinizing fonts, and agonizing over the perfect layout. And while all of those are important, proofreading your application packet is one of the most critical things you can do to ensure a successful submission.
Regardless of how inviting your layout is, typos, factual errors, and straying from the topic can lead to your resume quickly hitting the recycling bin. Take your time crafting a great submission, and then give it final proofread before sending to feel confident that you’ve presented your best work.
This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.

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