Finding a job listing that sparks your interest is exciting. When you've found a role that you're passionate about, it can be tempting to apply as soon as possible.
What's more important than speed, though, is strategy. To truly stand apart in the applicant pool in a competitive job market, you'll want to make sure you read through the job position carefully, tailor your materials to highlight how you meet the job requirements, and more.
We'll walk through the best job application tips for landing an interview so that you can put your best foot forward every time you send in your resume.
Most job application processes follow the same general steps from start to finish. Regardless of what industry you’re in or how many years of experience you have, you can expect the process to look something like the following:
Keep in mind that these steps are not one-size-fits-all, and your job application process may vary. For example, some jobs may ask you to submit a test assignment to assess your skill set more accurately. Other jobs may only have two rounds of interviews, while some may have as many as five. It all depends on both the company and the role.
Hiring managers are generally looking for qualified candidates who, ideally, do all of the following job application tips:
You’ve found a job that looks interesting—that’s great! Before you apply, it’s important to take the time to research the company, regardless if you’ve heard of it before or not.
And good news is, this is fairly easy to do. Most companies have active websites (or social media channels) where you can find basic information, such as:
Taking the time to research a company beforehand will not only give you a better view of what the company is like, you’ll also be more prepared for your interviews. You’ll be able to ask more insightful questions since you already know the basics.
As soon as you decide to apply for a job, it's advisable to get noticed by the company early on, well before acing the interview. Sending a well-crafted letter of interest, based on thorough research of the company, can significantly enhance your chances of standing out as a candidate during the job application process.
This may sound obvious, but thoroughly reading through the job description will set you apart from other applicants. Make sure you understand what the job entails and expects from you so that you can tailor your resume and other application materials accordingly. You'll want to make sure you both have and mention relevant skills and experience.
Recruiters sometimes read through hundreds of resumes for a single job listing and will weed out the applicants who did not appear to understand what the role is calling for. If your materials reflect the job posting well, you will have an easy advantage over other job seekers.
For any job search, you’ll need to have a baseline resume and cover letter ready to go. Then, you’ll be able to fine tune them using the keywords from each job description you’re interested in.
Your baseline resume should include:
Quantifying your accomplishments on your resume packs more of a punch than sharing your achievements without concrete numbers and figures. Why? Employers want to know that you’ve driven real, measurable results in your past roles.
For example, instead of writing:
You should write something along the lines of:
Teal’s Resume Builder can help you generate metric-driven bullet points. Attach the job description for the job you’re applying for, and Teal will be able to determine which keywords to highlight in your accomplishments.
Each resume you send should directly reflect the job you’re applying for. Every job description has keywords, which should be addressed in your resume and cover letter. Neglecting to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for runs you the risk of being passed over for other applicants.
In the below sample job description, the keywords are bolded:
The social media manager will be responsible for
The words in bold are the words you’d want to sprinkle into your application materials.
Not sure which keywords to include? Teal can find them for you. Our Resume Builder can scan each job description for the relevant keywords and even generate bullet points to add to your resume with those keywords automatically included.
Like your resume, your cover letter should be customized to contain the right keywords and speak back to each specific job description. Your cover letter should be 2-4 paragraphs that explain why you’d be able to achieve what the company is looking for in the role, as well as why you’re interested in the position.
If the idea of writing new cover letters for each job seems daunting, don’t worry. There are tools that can help you write them faster. Our Resume Builder uses AI to help you generate a customized cover letter for every job you apply to, using your work experience as a reference. You can then take these cover letters and fine-tune them to your liking to send off to future employers.
Spending time crafting thoughtful answers on your job application is not only a great opportunity to show that you have relevant experiences, but it’s an opportunity to convey your communication skills. Formulating thoughtful answers to the questions on a job application will make a big difference.
Which of these two answers to the question, "Why do you want to work at this company?", seems more thoughtful?
I’d like to work at [Company Name] because I believe my background and experience align well with the job description.
I’m interested in working at [Company Name] for several reasons. Firstly, I have admired the work that [Company Name] has done over the past X years—particularly the [Name of Campaign] marketing campaign.
I am confident that my background and experience will allow me to supercharge growth. My track record in my past positions at early-stage startups is a testament to my ability to grow and scale social channels from infancy to virality.
Additionally, the [Company Name]’s values align very closely with my own. I’m excited at the possibility of joining both a company and a team that allows me to bring my whole self to work and truly thrive.
If you gravitate toward answer B, you’re on the right wavelength. Put yourself in the hiring team’s shoes and ask yourself, what kind of answer would make me want to call someone in for an interview?
To save time writing answers, you can also use Teal’s Autofill Job Application Feature. With this feature, Teal can instantly complete all your applications with AI-powered, personalized answers.
When it comes to your application materials, details matter. Be sure to check over your resume, cover letter, and any other application questions for spelling and grammar errors before you submit them. Make sure you’ve stylized and spelled the company name and hiring manager's name correctly as well.
Try not to rush the process—going through the motions of applying quickly may lead to making more errors. Once you’ve written everything out, take a short break and return to your resume with fresh eyes. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member to help you proofread, as they may catch things you might’ve not noticed.
When you’ve finished putting together all your materials, it’s time to apply for the job. The standard way to do this in the current market is to apply directly through the company’s website. Once you hit the submit button, your materials will likely be reviewed by an applicant tracking system as well as someone on the hiring team.
However, there are many other ways to submit the materials that may get you to a first-round interview more quickly. You could say, send your resume and cover letter directly to a recruiter or someone else at the company, if possible. Sending your stuff to a real human may help you avoid the black hole that may come with applying on LinkedIn or another job board. No matter what, you should still always apply for a role directly on the company website.
Your LinkedIn profile serves as a digital version of your resume. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile can help you get in front of more recruiters and make a positive impression before you’re called in for an interview.
At a basic level, your LinkedIn profile should include:
LinkedIn is an SEO-based platform, meaning the right keywords can put you ahead of others in search results. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to create a stellar profile from top to bottom.
Teal’s LinkedIn Review will analyze your LinkedIn profile for you and give you actionable advice on how to improve it. Its insights will help you edit your profile to make it more impressive to recruiters and more optimized for search results.
Whether you’re applying to 10 jobs or 100, tracking where you are in each interview process can help you better organize your thoughts and timelines, as well as give you a concrete plan of action.
You can track your job applications through an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet, and fill the cells in manually each time you get new information or reach a new stage. You can make tracking everything even easier, though, with a dynamic tool like Teal’s Job Tracker.
Together with our free Chrome Extension, the Job Tracker lets you take notes on each job and track each stage of the process seamlessly so that you always know where you stand.
After you’ve applied for a role, it’s important to stay proactive to show interest and know where you stand in the overall process. Not only will this show the company that you’re invested in the job, but it will also allow you to understand better what the overall timeline is for the hiring process.
Once you’re in contact with the hiring team, follow up with them to give thanks after each interview or stage. If you don’t hear from a job one week after interviewing, it’s safe to send a brief follow-up email like this:
Dear [Interviewer's Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me for the [Job Title] role at [Company Name]. It was a pleasure to learn more about the company and the role.
After our conversation, I remain enthusiastic about the opportunity to join the team. I am very excited about [specific aspects of the job or company culture discussed in the interview].
I would like to reiterate my interest in the position. Please let me know if there is any additional information I can provide or if there are any next steps in the hiring process that I should be aware of.
Thank you again for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Recruiters get busy—so remember, just because you haven’t heard back doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t advancing. A follow-up email will help bring you both clarity and peace of mind.
If despite sending timely follow-up emails, you haven't received any response, it might be time to shift your focus to other opportunities. Nonetheless, if you do eventually receive a rejection, it's important to respond to it professionally and gracefully.
It's true that rejection can be painful, but responding to a rejection email can help maintain a positive relationship, and who knows, a future opportunity may arise from it.
You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to applying for jobs. Job application tools like Teal can make your search easier and smarter—giving you a better chance at success over other job hunters.
Sign up for free to stand out during the hiring process—from the moment you click “Submit” to the final round interview.