How to make your job application stand out

Experience in database admin on ABC Systems Matrix for XYZ Inc.

Right: Advanced database and server administration experience across multiple platforms on ABC Systems Matrix for XYZ Inc.

The correct version is only four more words, but look how much more information it provides. The words 'advanced' and 'across multiple platforms' express much higher value to an employer.

Most people don't know how to do that. They don't even think in these terms, and haven't been trained to do their job applications like this. The sad part is that it also means these people waste a lot of time doing applications that just won't make the cut.

Another related problem, for some people, is selling themselves short because of too much natural modesty.

Don't be shy to the point of not doing yourself justice.

If you have advanced skills, say so. If you have really unique experience or qualifications, make sure you mention them. Fit them into your CV or cover letter, or preferably both, in context with the job you want.

Now, a few questions about your CV:

  • How many parts of it could be easily improved by simple additions?
  • We'd be prepared to bet at least half of it.
  • Can you express more meaningfully what your work involves? Almost definitely, because broad descriptions tend to reduce meaning to readers.
  • What are the employment values involved in your work, and have you shown them effectively in your application? Most people simply don't.

Upgrade the information content. Do yourself justice and make your applications as strong as possible, every time.