From increased flexibility to better pay, working as a contractor can offer a lot of benefits.

However, it can be difficult to maintain continuity with your work as there is often a lot of competition for the best roles!

Submitting a job application is a key part of this process. But how can you make your application stand out from the crowd so you are selected for your dream role…?

The first hurdle to get over is to impress the recruiter enough to ensure they feel confident enough to send your details to their client.

They will only consider submitting your application if they are 100% sure that you are a high-quality applicant.

With this in mind, here are five proven ways to ensure you make it through the sift and have a successful job application.

How can you have a successful job application?

Here are the five key ingredients of a successful job application.

1) Put the contract length in your job application

Although contracts can vary, a recruiter is looking to ensure that you have some long contracts on your CV.

In our experience, most contracts are extended and if your contract roles are only ever one or two months, it can be less desirable than those with some long contracts.

Contract extensions serve as social proof that you were liked and wanted by your previous clients.

Is contracting right for you? Find out in our blog post, The 5 Things You Need to Work as a Contractor.

2) Include the work description in your job application

Recruiters need to be able to understand what you did in your previous roles and what business benefits you offered. Remember that your work description can make or break your application! Try and put as much detail as possible here, while also ensuring it is concise.

You should also familiarise yourself with the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format of interviewing. To do this, make a list of the skills and/or experiences that are required for the job and list specific examples of occasions when you displayed those skills – using STAR for each example. Ideally, you should use it in your CV!

In our experience, most candidates do a decent job when it comes to describing the situation and task. However, a common problem is in dis-identifying what YOUR action was (as against what your team did).

Furthermore, the quality of how you describe the results is really varied. Some candidates focus on the immediate results. Nevertheless, the key here is to spell out the wider benefits in ££ terms as it demonstrates your ability to see the big picture – which is a BIG asset.

3) Highlight that you are continuing professional education

With the initial sift, there is often a high volume of applications to go through and evidence of continuing professional education can set you apart from the crowd.

If you are spending time on developing your skills, recruiters will be more impressed and it’ll help you reach the next stage of the job application process. This can be a very difficult decision commercially as attending a training often means accepting the loss of income, and the course fee.

However, industry certifications hold great value and here at Mindful, we lookout for such certifications. Plus, often you do not even need to sacrifice your working hours to achieve one!

In our blog post, How To Upskill As A Contractor, we explore 3 ways that you can build sustainable skills and expand your personal and professional development.

4) Use matching keywords in your job application

It is important to use keywords from the job description in your job application. Recruiters often just scan through applications for the relevant keywords and in some cases, they just use an Application Tracking System which will automatically pull out specific keywords.

As a result, you should make sure you tailor your CV/application for each role you are applying for, although please don’t go overboard. We once found a CV that appeared to have copied all competencies from a website. The candidate was sifted through but immediately failed when the hiring manager scanned his CV.

The key is to try to explain your own experience using industry-standard terminology.

5) LinkedIn Recommendations can help you stand out

Just as we read reviews on products/services before we make a purchase, a savvy recruiter will check for LinkedIn recommendations to find out what others are saying about you.

If you don’t have any, ask people you have worked with before to recommend you. This will build up your profile and make you more attractive to employers.

To make it as easy as possible for the person writing you a LinkedIn recommendation you can send them this excellent LinkedIn review template.

Would you like help with your job application?

Are you fed up of your recruiter recommending you for roles that don’t suit your clearly-defined skillset?

Here at Mindful, our promise to you is that we’ll never waste your time!

Mindful Contract Solutions built by IT and commercial contractors – meaning that we truly understand the brief and can communicate with you in an informed and transparent way.

But don’t just take our word for it… 100% of our consultants rate our service nothing less than 4+ stars!

If you would like to get first sight of any roles we are recruiting for, please get in contact or follow us on LinkedIn.

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