7 ways to make your application stand out in a lockdown labour market

With many sectors being impacted by the restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing numbers of employees are facing redundancy, and unemployment saw a significant rise across the past year.

As we see more people competing to enter the labour market, it can be a worrying and difficult time for those filling out job applications and wondering if they will be considered for interview.

As part of National Careers Week 1-5 March, experts from Working Wales (the Welsh Government’s all Wales careers service for those aged 16 and over, delivered by Careers Wales) provide their top tips on how to make your application stand out amongst the competition.

Tailor, tailor, tailor

Adapting applications for each role is something that’s emphasised often to applicants, and that’s because it really is that important.

Careers adviser Avril, from Powys, says: “Focus on what they are asking for in the job description and the person specification. Look through your application and make sure you’ve included examples of what they’re looking for.”

Research the employer

Doing your research and showing off your new knowledge within your answers will help gain the employer’s attention.

CK, an employability coach in Bridgend, said: “Look at something different, something that everyone else isn’t providing. Look at the company’s future plans, when they were founded, or how the way they work fits in with your own personality.”

Focus on what you have achieved

Rather than listing duties you are or were responsible for, include what impact you had on the organisation through carrying out these tasks.

Careers adviser, Paula, from Flintshire, explains: “For example, don’t just say you were ‘ordering supplies’, say you were ‘responsible for ensuring the company had the necessary resources to operate efficiently”.

Be honest and accurate

Ensure everything you have on your application is an accurate representation of you, describing specific examples of your experience that are relevant to the job specification.

Sam, an employability coach from Newport, said: “Use the STAR (situation, task, action, result) technique to guide you, take your time and make sure you check for errors. You could ask friends or family to check it over for you.”

Think of skills you use outside of work

Help to demonstrate skills and competency by using examples of experiences outside of work too.

“Talking about skills you’ve gained or demonstrated from a hobby, volunteer work or other activities can help give a real feel for who you are as a person and help you stand out from the crowd” says Emma, a trainee careers adviser from Conwy.

Include something unusual

Featuring a range of interests can not only show off your different skills and experiences, but also help make you more memorable.

Tracy, an Employability Coach in Carmarthenshire, explains: “Your hobbies and interests show an employer that you will have your own talking point when you are working alongside your new colleagues. It can be a great conversation starter if you reach interview stage too.”

Don’t be modest

Now isn’t the time to feel shy about your achievements – highlight all of your skills, attributes and experiences that make you suitable for the role.

Employability coach, Andrew Harding, from Newport said: “This is your chance to impress. Be proud and ensure your commitment to learning and professional development comes across too.”

If you’re currently looking for work and would like some help with your applications, or want to explore your opportunities with a careers adviser, please contact the Working Wales team by calling free on 0800 028 4844, emailing workingwales@careerswales.gov.wales or through our live chat.

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