8 Tips for Your Next Job Application From a Former HR Manager.

Key takeaways.

  • Be an opportunist and use the ‘third door’.
  • Lead with value and make it easy for them to say yes.
  • Go above and beyond in your application, don’t use the scattergun approach.

The Third Door.

Do the thing really well and build a portfolio.

Make it easy for them to say yes.

Lead with value and cut the BS.

Keep it short and tailor your application.

Go above and beyond in your application.

Consider video applications.

Don’t forget the Applicant Tracking System.


  • Use keywords from the advertisement or description in your application.
  • Use text, not graphics. The ATS doesn’t pick up graphics.
  • Write out acronyms. For example, write “Applicant Tracking System (ATS)” rather than just writing “ATS”.
  • Use typical headings such as ‘Education’, ‘Qualifications’, ‘Experience’, ‘Skills’. This makes it easier for the ATS to categorise the sections of your application.
  • Use an elevator pitch rather than a ‘career objective’. Include some key points from the advertisement in the elevator pitch.


  • Go overboard with too many keywords. The employer and a good ATS will see through this.
  • Use images, graphics, shading or symbols. Most ATSs won’t pick be able to make sense of these.
  • Answer mechanically. Don’t just select “Yes” or “No” to questions. If there is a text box, use this as an opportunity to sell yourself.
  • Leave out the jargon. Include the terminology relevant to the position, especially if you’re applying for a technical position.
  • Make spelling or grammatical mistakes.



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