The tiniest details can make or break your job application. If you have even one typo in your cover letter, your entire claim that you’re good with details is called into question. If you submit your resume in a format that doesn’t work on the hiring manager’s computer, they can’t even take you into consideration.
Before you send your application off, here are seven quick fixes you can make to ensure you nail every detail.
1. Use a matching template
Don’t hand in plain white pages as your application. They’re boring, show no personality, and your career highlights won’t stand out to a hiring manager. Look online for a set of resume and cover letter templates you can move all of your information to. Canva is a great place for this, and Style Nine to Five offers some as well.
If you have the extra time, customizing these templates to the best of your ability – or even creating them, if you’re pursuing creative positions – will offer potential employers a glimpse of your personality and allow you to show off your unique creative vision.
2. Add your contact information
This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget! To make sure hiring managers can always get back to you, include your email, phone number and LinkedIn on both your resume and cover letter. Give these details their own section, styled in a way where they’re easily noticeable.
3. Use metrics and numbers
Go over your cover letter and resume’s work experience and edit in metrics to add more weight to your accomplishments. Saying you planned and executed a charity event attended by 200 people sounds more impressive than simply saying you’ve “done event planning” at former positions.
Whenever you include numbers, write them in their numerical form rather than written out – 200 instead of two hundred. You can even bold them or put them in a highlight color. This way, the metrics stand out among the text.
4. Address the hiring manager by name
“To whom it may concern” and “dear Sir or Madam” are generic. Starting a cover letter with either of these greetings tells the employer that you put no effort into researching their company and who works there. Check the company’s website and LinkedIn presence to see if you can locate the hiring manager’s name. Your attention to detail and dedication to the company will shine through this tiny move.
If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, at least try to add a more personal touch: “To the Hiring Manager of Style Nine to Five” sounds much better than “Dear Sir/Madam” and shows that you aren’t firing off the same cover letter to multiple companies.
5. Check for spelling and grammar
Once the rest is done, carefully comb through everything you’re applying with to ensure there isn’t a single typo or grammatical error in sight. They can be easy to miss, so go through your application a few times or have a friend or two look over it as well. After all, it’s hard to say that you have an eye for detail in your cover letter without double-checking your work – an employer will see right through that!
6. Name your files properly
Make sure your files all refer to what’s in them and have your name attached. Simply submitting “resume.pdf” shows a lack of care for finer details, and will also be confusing for the hiring manager when they have a file on their computer and aren’t sure of where they got it.
If the company is hiring for multiple positions at the same time, it wouldn’t hurt to throw the position’s title in your file’s name too. So, you’ll have something like: Christie Lohr – Resume or Christie Lohr – Stylist – Resume.
Ensure that all of your files follow the same format for consistency. If you submitted one with the second format, your other files should be titled Christie Lohr – Stylist – Cover Letter and Christie Lohr – Stylist – Portfolio.
7. Send as a PDF
Yes, your file format is something you should be putting thought into as well! Some programs for creating applications will have recommended file formats, but ignore them. If the job posting doesn’t specify otherwise, always go with PDF – that’ll always ensure a good look for a stylized resume (for instance, .docx can’t open correctly on some computers, destroying your formatting) and is considered industry standard.
Double check that you’ve got all these details right and you’re good to go! Now, you’ve got a leg up on any other applicants with similar skills and experience, but a vague cover letter greeting or incorrectly labeled files. Send that application off and hope for the best!
Unsure of what to do for your application’s aesthetic? Purchase a Style Nine to Five Job Application Template!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock