Applying Yourself in the Application Process - App Week

By Meredith Schneider

Photo by Waponi.

It is time to face the cold, hard facts: Although there are millions of options for jobs in the work force, it can be very difficult to get yourself noticed. Fear not, un-or-under-employed BreakThru friends! Today is the day that we share with you some of the most important details to get your application noticed, and where to find those coveted jobs, besides Craigslist.

Cover letters are kind of a big deal. There are people out there that think it is okay to attach the same generic cover letter to every web application, email, and letter that they send. While it is acceptable to keep a form letter handy, it is vital that it be tweaked to cater to every specific job. The following are some very important reminders for your cover letter, so take note!

1.) Always remember to mention the company you are applying to and the position you are interested in. A lot of companies post multiple jobs at once, and for their generic email or search engine to receive a vague cover letter is less likely to cipher you from everybody else. Mention both right off the bat as an introduction, and then go in to why you are so amazing.

2.) Pay attention to key words in the description of your desired job position. They claim to want a candidate who desires a challenge and has mastered the ability to keep calm in stressful situations? Briefly mention how you possess those qualities, and keep examples in your back pocket to elaborate or just in case they ask you about it in your follow-up interview. Remember, this application is supposed to impress them. Make them swoon!

3.) Even if you are not a writer, it is crucial to remember grammar rules for these documents. Run a fine-toothed comb over your spelling and punctuation, and remember to check if you are using the right “there” or “their” and other commonly confused words. “They’re” should not be an issue because contractions are a no-no in any job application situation.

4.) Those of you who are visual know that the human eye responds favorably to color. A small hint of color to a cover letter and application—specifically the information in the header—can work wonders to make you stand out! Make sure to keep the colors professional if you do so (browns and dark blues are easier on the eye) and make sure that you don’t make everything too loud or harsh on the eyes.

5.) Whether you are applying for the position online or sending in your information for future openings to your dream job, make sure to include a link to your online portfolio—if available—in your cover letter. This allows the hiring manager to peruse your talent in their free time. But make it noticeable! A simple link in an email or slapped on a piece of paper can be forgotten easily.

If you are wondering about the formatting for cover letters, there are several key resources out there to help you out.

Careerealism has some great information, NYU Local has a few things to say about it, print magazine and online media outlet FastCompany has some pointers, and Mary Dacuma from HelloGiggles provides a very helpful overview. When in doubt, research everything!

Now you may be asking: How do I find my dream job? As there are millions of careers and jobs available to you at this very moment, there are also numerous search engines, websites, and resources offered. Forbes released a list of the top ten websites to consider in your job search, and it is pretty spot-on.

As having a strong (or at least maintaining a presentable) social media presence is essential, make sure that you have a LinkedIn profile already built and ready to go in all of its professional glory. Remember, there is no need to add your favorite movies or mentions how you like to sing in the car by yourself. These are quirky facts, but keep them to Facebook or Twitter.,, and rank among the most popular search engine sites. Also, sites such as,,, and are visually stunning and provide creative platforms to showcase your potential to the world. Remember to check your local library or school resource center for books regarding your specific career path and the application process. A lot of the information published in print is timeless for applications.

Last, but certainly not least, always remember the phrase: “Repetition, repetition, repetition.” It is never a good idea to let the hiring party forget about you, so always be persistent in what you want. Many new to the job or internship market feel as though being persistant in any way is the easiest way to come off as annoying to a potential employer. The truth of the matter is, the persistent get hired. If you really want a job, you’ll go a long way before taking no for an answer and employers do respect this.

In the end, it is very important to realize that putting a reasonable dose of your personality into the application process helps make you memorable when employees are considering the competition. Whether that involves interesting anecdotes for a writer’s position, an impeccable film reel, or fun personal facts, it is very important to make yourself stand out from the crowd. An application is about applying yourself. It is only you who can make a perfect stranger realize that you are perfect for the job.