11 Job Application Tips to Boost Your Chances of Getting Hired

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May 4, 2023
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min read

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.

3 key takeaways

  • Most job application processes consist of these steps: submitting your materials, a phone screen, a few rounds of interviews, and an offer 
  • Paying attention to detail, tailoring your materials, and tracking where you are in the process will set you apart from other applicants
  • There are tools (Like Teal) that can help further set you up for job search success 

What to expect from the job application process

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:

  1. You send in your application materials (whether that’s to the company website, directly to a recruiter, or through a different method).
  2. The company contacts you to schedule a phone screen. These are usually a 15-30 minute phone call with a recruiter to assess whether or not you’d be a good fit for the role. Phone screens are not typically done with your future manager—they’re usually done by a recruiter or someone from human resources.
  3. If the company decides to move forward with your application after the phone screen, they will typically arrange an interview with the person who would be managing you directly. This can be a virtual interview or an in-person interview depending on the role.
  4. Once you’ve spoken with the person who would be managing you, they may have you interview with other members of the team, their manager, or someone in a C-suite leadership position (for example, the Chief Marketing Officer).
  5. After you’ve interviewed with the appropriate people and they decide they’d like to hire you, the company will reach out to you with an offer. This may be dependent on the results of a background check.

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.

11 job application tips for landing the job

Hiring managers are generally looking for qualified candidates who, ideally, do all of the following job application tips:

Research the company you’re applying to

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:

  • How long they’ve been in business for/when they opened their doors
  • Their mission or vision statement
  • Where they are based or where they have physical offices
  • What kinds of products they make or services they offer
  • What kind of employee perks they offer (if any)
  • How many employees they have
  • If they offer in-person, hybrid, or remote working options

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.

Read and understand the job descriptions

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.

Get your job search assets ready

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 ATS keywords from each job description you’re interested in. 

Your baseline resume should include: 

  • Contact information
  • Target title
  • Professional summary
  • Your work history (past job titles, years worked, and responsibilities and achievements) 
  • Your educational background
  • Your soft and hard skills 

Quantify your resume accomplishments

Quantifying your resume accomplishments 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:

  • Helped grow social media channels

You should write something along the lines of:

  • Scaled Instagram engagement by 40% YoY and grew following by 20% YoY

Teal's AI 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.

Use the AI integration feature within Teal's AI Resume Builder to generate work achievements.
Use the AI integration feature within Teal's AI Resume Builder to generate work achievements.

Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for 

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

  • Creating optimized content for Instagram and TikTok
  • Managing the content calendars and coordinating scheduling for all company social platforms
  • Engaging with and growing our online community
  • Working with the customer service team to field and answer customer inquiries 

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 AI 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.

Customize your cover letter

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 AI 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. 

Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter. 
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter. 

Be thoughtful about your application answers

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? 

Answer A:

I’d like to work at [Company Name] because I believe my background and experience align well with the job description. 

Answer B:

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. 

Double-check for any errors or typos before submitting

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.

Apply directly through the best possible channel 

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. 

Optimize your LinkedIn profile

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: 

  • Your full name
  • What city you’re based in 
  • A clear, professional profile photo
  • A compelling, search-friendly headline 
  • A short description of who you are and what you’re looking for in your next role 
  • Your work history
  • Your educational background 
  • Your skills 
  • Endorsements
  • Recommendations from former managers or peers

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 Profile 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. 

Teal’s Free LinkedIn Profile Review Chrome Extension.
Teal’s Free LinkedIn Profile Review Chrome Extension.

Track your job applications

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 Application Tracker. 

Together with our free Chrome Extension, the Job Application Tracker lets you take notes on each job and track each stage of the process seamlessly so that you always know where you stand. 

Follow up with the hiring manager

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.


[Your Name]

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.

Get the job application tools you need to be successful

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my resume to increase my chances of getting hired for a specific job?

To tailor your resume effectively, start by carefully reading the job description and noting the key skills and experiences required. Then, highlight your most relevant qualifications by using similar language and showcasing accomplishments that align with the job's needs. Be sure to emphasize transferable skills if you're changing industries, and consider a skills-based resume format if your experience doesn't directly match the job requirements.

What are some strategies for making a strong impression during a job interview?

To make a strong impression in a job interview, research the company and its culture beforehand to show your genuine interest. Practice answering common interview questions, but also be prepared with thoughtful questions for the interviewer. Dress appropriately for the company's environment, arrive early, and follow up with a personalized thank you note that reiterates your enthusiasm for the position and reflects on a key part of the conversation.

How important is networking in the job application process, and how can I do it effectively?

Networking is crucial as it can lead to job opportunities and referrals that might not be advertised. To network effectively, start by reaching out to your existing contacts and expressing your job search goals. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and engage on professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. Always be prepared with a succinct personal pitch, and follow up with new contacts to nurture those relationships.

Emily Polner

Emily Polner is a freelance writer based in New York City, passionate about career development and helping people find new roles.

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