Get better results from your job applications

A good, well-targeted application is essential to get ahead of the competition.

Online advertisements for IT jobs can attract a hundred or more applications, with only a fraction of these matching the stated requirements. When good, capable candidates get buried in piles of ad-spammers, the shortlisting process can be very time-consuming for the person doing the recruitment. The most important thing for the serious job seeker is to separate yourself from the time wasters. Why are you better suited to the job than your competition? If this is clear, you’ve got a much better chance of getting yourself shortlisted.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re on the right track:

Get your CV prepared

Some roles go quickly, so you need to have your CV ready when you see a role you want. If you’re unsure about what information is important to have in your CV, take a look at our sample CV that will give you a good start for technical roles. If you’ve got the content sorted, it may pay to check out our blog post on CV structure to make sure it’s pulled together effectively. Remember the spell-check!


There are some important details you should solidify at the start, as it’s not a good look to change these further down the track:

  • Salary: Before you send out your CV, think about what salary you seek for your next job. Expectations here need to be realistic as there aren’t many companies in this market with wide open wallets.
  • Availability: It’s worth checking your contract for your notice period too; while most employers require four weeks, some vary. If the notice period is very short, will you be obliged to stay longer?
  • Location: How far are you willing to travel for work and how do you plan to get there? Would you relocate for a good job?
  • Restrictions: If you’re not a citizen or permanent resident, make sure you know what visa restrictions apply to you, and what you need to do before you can start new work. If you’re working in a competitive market, check if there are any restraints of trade or similar restrictions in your contract that may prevent you from working with specific companies.

Be specific

The most important thing is to ensure you can do the job you apply for. It may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many people don’t read job ads before applying. If you’ve got all the skills required in the ad, you’re already beating well over half the competition, so make it obvious in your application how your skills and experience match the ad’s requirements. Make sure the details above for salary etc line up.

While your CV should state your technical skills clearly near the start, a cover letter or email intro is a great place to highlight your suitability, clearly and briefly stating your experience with each of the key requirements. Have a read of our recent blog post for more info on putting together a good cover letter.

In our opinion Seek is the most used site for IT jobs in Auckland, so it pays to register and set up your profile to streamline the application process. Once registered, we recommend you set up automated job mail to keep track of all new roles that suit your skills and experience.

Last but not least…

Because you’ve put together such a great application, people will be trying to get in touch with you. If you can’t take calls while at work, mention your preferred means (or times) of communication in your cover letter and/or CV. At some point a phone call will usually be needed because recruiters and employers need to know you can communicate well. Make sure your voicemail message sounds professional and keep an eye on your emails too so you don’t miss anything important. If you know you have all of the skills requested and you haven’t heard back about the advertised position after one week it doesn’t hurt to call the advertiser to chase it up.

Finally, if unsuccessful, don’t be disheartened. With well-targeted applications and realistic expectations, recruiters and employers will take note. Any feedback taken as constructive critique will help you improve each application.