What Gets a Job Application Noticed (or Binned)? – A Recruiter’s Opinion

When applying for a graduate job, you’re likely to be up against hundreds – if not thousands – of applicants who have acquired similar qualifications and skills as you. So, you may be wondering how it is even possible for your application to get spotted and taken seriously by employers and recruiters, and reduce your chances of it ending up on the junk pile. The Talent Development Team at graduate recruitment agency, Inspiring Interns, have shared their opinions on how a candidate can catch recruiters’ attention, and boost their chances of getting hired.


Whether you’re recording a video CV or attending an interview, don’t forget to smile. A smile symbolises an optimistic and productive person – and that’s a key attribute that every employer looks for. They want to hire someone who will bring positive energy to the team, and be easy to work with, and a simple smile can easily make a great impression. It’s natural to feel nervous when recording your video CV or sitting in front of a panel of interviewers, which will come across in your body language, but a smile can easily put both you and others at ease.

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Explain what you learned in your previous roles

When it comes to writing your CV, or filling in a job application, don’t just outline your responsibilities, explain what you learned in each role. This will enable employers and recruiters to understand what you can contribute to their company. They will want to know what you have learned about yourself, the skills you’ve developed, and the knowledge you have gained about the industry itself.
The STAR technique is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate what you have achieved or learned from previous roles:

SITUATION: Give a brief overview of the situation.

TASK: Describe the task that you were set, and the end goal to be accomplished.

ACTION: Explain the actions taken to deliver the required goals.

RESULT: Describe the positive result of your actions.


Outline your transferable skills on your CV & job application

Although you may not have any previous experience in the workplace, you’re likely to have acquired several transferable skills during your degree, which can be applied to almost any job. If you include them in your CV and application, you are already putting yourself one step ahead of other candidates.
Here are some of the key transferable skills that are typically acquired at university:

  • Time management
  • Presenting
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Project management
  • Leadership

Additionally, transferable skills may give you a greater chance of securing job roles that are outside your degree subject area. Recruiters will analyse your transferable skills and match you with a range of graduate jobs and internships that they believe could be suitable for you, which in turn, could widen your horizons and prospects.


Let people know what you’re interested in

Following on from the above point, from a recruiter’s perspective, it is not always evident which professional areas candidates are interested in pursuing. Many graduates fall out of love with their degree subject and want to branch into new areas. When you contact recruitment agencies, let them know if you wish to change your career direction, and they can show you an array of opportunities you may never have considered before.


Still looking for a graduate job?

Head over to Inspiring Interns’ job board to find your perfect graduate job or internship.


Find out more:

Getting a Job That’s Unrelated to Your Degree – Inspiring Interns

Graduate Job Applications – Tips for Jobseekers
How to tackle job applications & succeed at each stage of the recruitment process.


More from Laura:

How to Tackle the Job Search