They say that first impressions count – and that’s especially true when you’re applying for a new job. Internships and graduate positions can be competitive – so how do you make sure that your application stands out from the rest of the pack?

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your application gets to the top of the list.

Tailor your application to the role

Each role you apply for will have different skills or attributes that they are focused on, so highlight how your experience has prepared you for a particular position. An example might be a role that calls for experience in a particular programming language. If you completed a project using that language at university or a previous position, then highlight that experience. When a recruiter receives a large volume of applications, the best way to ensure yours gets noticed is if you make it easy for them to see why you’d be a great fit.

Be a STAR

The STAR strategy (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is often discussed as an ideal way to demonstrate dealt with a particular situation at your work at the interview stage. However, a condensed STAR outline of tasks and outcomes in previous roles can give greater insight into your capabilities than a generic, high-level outline of what you do.

An example might be to discuss how you helped a client boost their online presence – so let’s break that down.

S – The Situation is that the client has a limited number of visitors to their website.
T – The Task is that you need to help them build their online presence.
A – The Action might be that you help them set up one or more social media channels.
R – The Result is that they received 25% more traffic to their website.

It’s also worth noting that quantified results such as “I increased their web traffic by 25%” can be more powerful than just a description of “I helped them get more web traffic”. If you can show in a more meaningful way what the outcome of your actions was, then it helps the recruiter to understand the value that you bring to the table as a candidate.

Don’t ditch the cover letter

It’s not uncommon to see the cover letter listed as optional, and it can be tempting to skip writing one if it doesn’t seem necessary. However, a personalised cover letter is another opportunity to address why you’re a fantastic candidate for the job. It’s a great way to highlight soft skills or point the recruiter in the direction of desirable skills mentioned in the job ad, that might not stand out otherwise within your resume.

Showcase your skill sets

This one is especially relevant in you’re applying for a technical or design focussed role. Employers want to see what you can do, so don’t be shy about sharing your online portfolio or a link to your GitHub profile. If you’ve done some work that showcases your ability – show it off! Portfolios are an under-utilised opportunity – and a great way to demonstrate your strengths and skills.
Surprisingly few applicants include a link to their projects or a portfolio of work, which is why doing so is such a powerful way to stand out from the competition!

Looking for your first grad position? Applications for our graduate program are open now!

The AMpowered graduate program is a two-year program designed to help you transition from uni to the workplace. The program provides a supportive, structured environment in which to apply your knowledge and develop skills in your areas of interest. Opportunities cover a range of projects in areas such as Software Engineering, DevOps, Cloud, Mobile App Development, Testing and more.