Grab the employer's interest with the first few lines

Can you imagine an employer having to read through a pile of perhaps 40 or 50 résumés? Do you think that they would look forward to it? Is reading a job application an enjoyable task?

Well, it should be. And, as job applicants, it’s our job to make sure that reading our application is enjoyable.

So how do we do that? It’s not that difficult to work out how to make our application attractive and interesting to an employer but it’s still quite a lot of work to write the application in an interesting way. Yes, it’s hard work but it’s not rocket science. Anyone can do it.

Employers are interested in finding the right person to fill the position and, if we are to grab their interest, we need to show through the application how we would perform in the job. And we need to show our interest in the position. Motivation to do the job well is one of the key criteria that employers are looking for so it is essential to show that we are keen. So our job is to demonstrate through every part of the résumé how we would perform in the position and to exhibit our enthusiasm in the first few lines of the application.

If the employers we are applying to are a bit jaded from reading through boring applications, think how pleased they might be to come across one that is totally relevant to the job, one that radiates our motivation right at the start of the document.

This is where our career summary or objective is such a powerful section. It is the executive summary of your résumé and it should clearly show your desire to play an active role in the organisation’s efforts to meet or exceed its targets. Don’t fill it full of buzzwords, unsupported by any evidence; make it show the real you and what you want to achieve for the company.

Rather than stating that you have skills, prove it by describing specific achievements. People are interested in stories and employers are no different. Tell them stories that show your abilities, your attitude and, especially, your motivation.

And, of course, tailor the whole application to the specific position you are applying for. Remember that it’s usually the candidate who puts in the best application – and by this I mean the whole application process, résumé, interview, research and networking – who gets the job. Yes, it’s hard work but if you really want that job, the hard work is worthwhile.

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