A is for Application: How to Make Your Job Application Stand Out

How to make your job application stand out in 2018

Happy New Year from all of us at JSG!

For many of you, the new year means a fresh start. Some of you will be vowing to hit the gym and throw out all that junk food, while others may be promising to read more or learn a new skill. Others are even vowing to get a fresh start on their career path.

The job market is very competitive right now. In fact, unemployment levels across the country have reached an all-time low with an unemployment rate of only 4.1% in December of 2017. We haven’t seen unemployment rates this low in almost two decades!

This figure is great for the U.S. economy; however, this also means you’re facing fierce competition on the job market. To stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in the crowd of applicants, try doing these four things in 2018.


The first thing you need to do before submitting your application is research. And by research, I mean researching not only the job opening you’re applying for, but also the company. Doing your due diligence may help you uncover something useful to include in your cover letter or help you tailor your resume to appeal more to the company.

Remember, Google is your best friend. Jump on your phone or computer, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down for a couple hours and do some digging. Google the company name and see what pops up. Is there a recent article online about a new product launch from the company? Are there any recent press releases? Doing a quick search can uncover invaluable information to help make your job application more noticeable.

Don’t forget to check out the company’s social media, too! See what they are posting. This will help you get a feel of what the company cares about and what’s happening there.

And don’t be afraid to contact the company to ask questions. This will help you understand the job better and may even help HR recognize your name when they are sifting through dozens of applications.


The last thing you want to do is submit a generic resume and cover letter. Hiring managers and recruiters read dozens and dozens of job applications a day. You need to customize your application to help you stand out and show that you are good fit for not only the position, but also the company.

Use the information you learned in your research to tailor your cover letter for the position. Mention the employer’s recent news or achievements and tie in your background to illustrate that you align with the company’s core values and mission.

Your cover letter and resume may not even reach the hands of a hiring manager if you’re not using specific keywords that are relevant to the position. Organizations utilize Application Tracking Systems (ATS). When you submit your resume and cover letter online, it’s probably being ran through ATS. The ATS is scanning for keywords and other criteria. If your application isn’t tailored for the position and company, it likely won’t even make it to the hands of HR.


After a while, job applications start to blur together after hiring managers have been reading through resumes and cover letters for hours. Don’t try to incorporate fancy fonts and formats. Instead, a great way to help your application stand out is to add some of your unique talents are experiences.

Just make sure they are relevant to the position. Nobody cares if you are an experienced underwater basket weaver. Have you won an award that differentiates you from other applicants? Do you volunteer your time doing community service for an organization you care about? These will help you get a leg up on your competition.


You probably already have a LinkedIn account. You may get on there from time to time. But are you an active user? If your application gets into the hands of HR, they will likely look you up on LinkedIn if they are interested in your job application.

LinkedIn is a great place to showcase accomplishments and skills that may have been omitted in your application. It’s also an opportunity for HR and hiring managers to get an idea of your personality. Following companies on LinkedIn, posting articles, interacting with other users, and participating in discussion groups are great ways to help get you noticed and build your personal, professional brand.

Recruiters love nothing more than discovering a candidate who not only knows their stuff, but who is passionate about it too!