How to Submit a Successful Job Application

December 12, 2023

The simultaneously best and worst thing about remote hiring is that there’s rarely a shortage of applications.

The volume of applications often reaches in the hundreds, sometimes in the thousands. Having such a high volume means great candidates can fall through the cracks very easily and it also means that job seekers feel like their chances of landing a job are slim.

But, believe it or not, hiring managers are rooting for you. They want to have great applicants. Recruiters spend a lot of time searching for how to source the best talent.

Hiring managers invest an unbelievable amount of time looking for the right fit. What you need to do is show them that you are the right fit.

Here are some of the ways you can set yourself up for success when you’re applying for jobs, written from the hiring manager perspective.

When is the best time to submit a job application?

The best time is whenever you’re ready to deliver the best application you can.

There’s a lot of conventional advice like avoiding weekends or trying to apply at the beginning of the week, so you get a response as quickly as possible. This is mostly irrelevant to your chances of success.

A successful application will always be a high-quality one that stood out from other applicants for some reason. If you need an extra day to deliver that, it’s worth taking the time for it.

How many jobs to apply for per day

Again, this depends on the quality of application you can deliver.

The typical recommendation of applying for 5-10 jobs isn’t ideal. That makes it impossible to properly tailor your application to each company or even to take the time to research the company enough that you know you’d be excited to work there.

That isn’t something you can mask. Apply for one job a week, if that will be a great application.

How to apply for jobs

1. Apply for the right job

What is the right job?

It’s a job that you actually want to do.

You’d be surprised at the number of people who apply for jobs they’re clearly not suited for or that they’re simply not motivated to do in the first place.

The point of this isn’t to say that you need to fulfill the requirements of the position’s description 100% to apply. It’s rather to say: Ask yourself honestly if you would be excited waking up every morning to do this job.

You can’t sell your motivation if you aren’t motivated.

It’s very obvious when someone is applying for a role because they think it’ll be easy, because it’s remote, or because they’re desperate and are applying for anything. None of this will help you get that job.

Rather than sending out 100 lackluster applications, send ten great ones for jobs that genuinely excite you and that you can do well.

2. Research the company and their product

Research here doesn’t mean look briefly through their website. It means:

  • If they offer a free trial or a freemium model, create an account and use the product.
  • Spend some hours of your time understanding how the product works, who the target audience is.
  • Look through their help articles or blog posts.
  • Check out their social media.
  • Read up on any interviews done by the company’s founders.

This takes a lot of time and effort but it’s worth it.

Nothing shows your motivation the way this will. It’s also an important step for yourself, to develop that genuine motivation in the first place.

How else would you do that if you knew nothing about the company and the people and perspectives present at it?

Your application should make it clear that you know the company you’re applying to. You’re applying for that specific company, to work on their product, and you can say why.

This is really hard if you’re sending out applications based exclusively on the position description.

3. Tailor your cover letter and CV

The extent to which you do this depends a lot on the expectations and requirements of the company you’re applying to but the many companies still ask for a cover letter at the very least, even if they don’t judge based on CVs as much.

What’s important to keep in mind is that both have to sell your abilities.

The cover letter is your main opportunity to convince the hiring manager on the other end that you have the skills required to do the job well and that you have the right mentality and culture fit for the company.

A good cover letter should touch on the main requirements mentioned in the job description and fundamentally answer the following questions: why you, why this job, and why this company.

Your motivation should come through loud and clear:

  • Why you’re applying for this job
  • Why you believe you’re the best candidate – the experience and skills that you bring to the table that no one else can
  • What’s special about this company that makes you excited to work there

CVs might not be looked at in a ton of detail but it’s still important to highlight your relevant experience there, rather than share a lot of information that has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for.

4. Go the extra mile

Whatever you can do to make your application stand out will be a meaningful use of your time.

Not only will it help you in your job search but it will also help you develop broader skills and deeper self-confidence.

Start by putting real effort into the application process.

  • Answer the questions that they ask for properly and with attention to detail.
  • If they do some kind of challenge or project as part of the hiring process, make sure you read it, ideally multiple times.
  • Use every opportunity to display an attention to detail and true commitment to that company. This is hard and it takes time but trust me, as a hiring manager, that effort will be noticed and eventually rewarded.

Anything else you can provide on top of that is great.

  • Can you create a website that introduces you in more depth?
  • Do you run a blog that shows what you can do?
  • Can you show that you’ve engaged with the company’s product properly?
  • Do you have any other professional or personal profiles that show more of who you are and what you’re interested in?

Whatever it is you do, try to tailor it to the company you’re applying to.

For example, if a company writes repeatedly about their focus on a text-based hiring process, don’t record a video for them. But if a company talks a lot about the value they place on face-to-face interactions as part of their hiring process, consider recording a video. Think about what you can do to show this particular company that you’re a good fit for them.

It could be that you do all of this and still don’t get the job that you wanted.

Don’t get discouraged.

Sometimes hiring managers are looking for specific profiles or types of people at certain times. That’s an unavoidable part of hiring and of job seeking.

You’ll still have written great applications for the places you applied to and that experience will always help you for the next applications you write.

If you’re going to write an application, make it a great one.


applying, hiring

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