Your file for job application is your first impression to any potential employer and is the first indicator as to whether or not you’re a good fit for the position. It’s important to get it right so you can show a potential employer your best strengths and skills.
However, you’ll also need to strike the right balance between highlighting your strengths while avoiding any red flags. Here are the important things employers look for on your file.
Focus on Strengths
It’s important to make sure you are highlighting your strengths on your resume. You can do this by making sure everything is accurate and up to date. You can also include examples of success and results you have achieved in previous roles. Also, highlight skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
Avoid Red Flags
You should also make sure you don’t say anything about yourself that can be seen as a red flag. For example, if you mention in your document that you love cats and dogs, this could seem like you can’t work with people on your team or that you aren’t going to fit in with the company culture.
It might also seem like an indication that you won’t be able to take direction well or be able to follow instructions. These are all bad signs for employers and will most likely eliminate you from running for the job.
Handle Applicant Tracking Systems Correctly
Employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan your file for specific keywords and key phrases. This is why it’s important to have relevant keywords in your file, as these will help your application get picked out of the pile. When you are crafting your job application document, think about what an ATS would look for when scanning for a certain position.
For example, if you were applying for the role of an accountant, you would want to make sure that there are words like “accounting” and “audit” listed in the work experience section of your application file. The ATS may not pick up on other terms that you consider relevant to this position such as “taxes” or “bookkeeping.”
Simple Is Always Best
If you’ve been in your industry for 10 years, there are probably some big words you can use to describe yourself and your experience. But if you’ve only been in the industry for a year, it’s better to use common sense language that everyone will understand. Employers want to see that you have the potential to learn new things, so don’t try and come off as too good, too smart, or too qualified.
Don’t Go Overboard With the Length
A potential employer will not spend more than a few minutes reading your job application document. If they can’t find the information they need in those few minutes, then you’ve lost their interest.
The following are items that may make an employer skip over your file: lengthy long-winded sentences, a list of every job you’ve ever had, too many details on every job, and irrelevant information, like references and awards.