Applying for a Job: Your First Impression is Your Last Impression


Working in Careers and dealing in the recruitment process means that I have to go through a number of submitted applications every day. One of the first things I came to realize was that the adage ‘your first impression is your last impression’ is highly applicable to the employability world – particularly when it comes to impressing your employer with a few tips and tricks in your first application.

Don’t forget: recruiters are likely dealing with a large volume of applications daily, so you need to do your best to impress them from the beginning, otherwise you won’t get  any further. So how do you stand out amongst so many? How can you differentiate yourself from other applicants? Here are some of the techniques, or things you need to be aware, that can help to make your application attractive to your HR or recruitment manager:

Read the Job Description Carefully

The first thing you need to do is ensure that the job you are applying for is suitable or not. You can find this out by reading the details of the job requirements completely and carefully. In most cases, I found that students only either read the title of the job or briefly check the summary and they apply without giving their application much thought. The results in such cases are always negative. I strongly recommend you read the job in detail, make sure you read the requirements, responsibilities, and skillset they are asking for, and don’t forget to read the position description if there is one attached. This will help you understand the job and finalize whether it is for you or not. Also, be sure to check the start and end time, the duration of the role etc and figure out if this is suitable for your study or other work commitments. Hence, please read and understand the job very carefully before hitting the apply button.

Read more: How to research the company you are applying for?

Complete and update your application

Your application – generally a resume and cover letter – should be updated and complete whenever you submit it.

Your resume should give detailed information about yourself, your education, your experience and other voluntary or extra-curricular activities you are involved with. Please ensure your work experience and education sections are up to date, and list them in order from present to past.  I have found many resumes use a variety of listing orders, despite the fact that the standard format is to list them present to past. Be sure to include the details of your university name, year when you completed the degree, and potentially the university’s state and country. Do the same for the work experience, and please elaborate when mentioning your responsibilities to include some of your achievements.

There is plenty of resume guidance available online, and there are some good resume samples available. Moreover, if you are a UTS Student or Alumni, you can actually find a lot of resources on how to write resumes and cover letter in UTS Careerhub.  The resources provided here are very useful. Please spare some time to build your resume.

Read More: Writing your Employment History

Have your application reviewed

It seems obvious, but be sure to have your application reviewed by an expert, as well as by your family and friends (if possible). Most universities have this service in their Careers department, so please go and get your resume and cover letter reviewed before you apply for any roles. At UTS we have the Drop-In service (located at CB01.04.13) where our expert Recruitment Advisors will help you on reviewing your applications (or even your LinkedIn profile!). Please feel free to visit them to ensure your resume is competitive – this is highly recommended from my end.

Don’t forget that your application is one of the only tools you can use to attract HR, differentiate yourself from all the other applicants, and get to the interview phase!

Application procedure

Every job has different requirements and requests for applicants to undertake when applying. For example, some job ads may ask you to apply with your resume and cover letter in an email, while some will ask you to send your resume, cover letter, academic transcript and portfolio through a provided link. So reading the application procedure and following it is another necessary thing in getting to the next phase.

Don’t neglect any of the required documents mentioned in the application procedure. If you miss to follow the instruction provided, most recruiters will not even look after your application, regardless of whether you’re a good match for the role. Missing key elements means recruiters will think that you lack an attention to detail, or simply don’t really want the job.

As a side note, when the Careers team went to visit employers for Valentines’ day earlier this year, the feedback we received from a few of them were that students are applying for roles without reading the instructions – employers are noticing! So make sure that you carefully read and follow the instructions before applying.

Once you’ve followed the application procedure, then all you need to do is apply! If you have tailored and updated your application, and had it reviewed, then send it off and wait for that call or email from the employer. I’d say that 80% of people who are not called for an interview have not followed the steps I’ve outlined, and have failed to apply properly. So if you’ve followed the advice I’ve outlined above and impressed the recruiter, then you’re on to the next stage!

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Chandani Tuladhar

By Chandani Tuladhar

Recruitment Administrator

Chandani Tuladhar is a motivated Recruitment Administrator at UTS Careers since October 2016. Her previous experience of 3.5 years as an Internship Consultant, in the Education Industry and engaging in internship placements allows her to bring considerable recruitment and customer service experience to UTS. She now ensures UTS connects with quality employers and our students get the right internships and opportunities. She is an individual who understands the duty of care owed towards her job and stakeholders, as well as the level of professionalism required, and has years’ experience in recruitment. She enjoys engaging with students, being involved in recruitment activities, finding the right skill set for employers, and seeing her students’ success.