Think Like a Manager When Applying
By Larry Achara
When creating any document, a writer must consider
the audience’s needs and wants. Why should it be
any different with job applications? As you work
through a job application form, update your résumé
and write a cover letter, think about what the hiring
manager wants to know about you and how your
knowledge, skills and abilities align with the job
The more you anticipate and meet the reader’s
needs, the more likely your application will make it
from the mountain the employer receives to the
small stack the employer finds intriguing. Make
yourself stand out from the crowd by showing
yourself to be who the hiring manager wants to find.
Follow the tips below to make your application
something a hiring manager will actually want to
Keep your writing to the point. Flowery language and
big words frustrate more than they impress.
Applications should be dense with facts, not with
buzzwords and strings of adjectives.
The faster you can say something about yourself,
the easier it will be understood and the more you
can say in a reasonable amount of space.
Application forms have defined field lengths and text
box sizes. Think long and hard before exceeding
Cover the bases.
All requirements outlined in the job posting must be
followed to the letter. If the posting requires
applicants to submit college transcripts, you must
include them. Failing to include required documents
shows lack of attention to detail and gives the hiring
manager a perfectly justifiable reason to throw your
application away without looking at it. Double and
triple check your application packet to ensure that
you include all the necessary materials.
Talk about fit.
Contrary to what many people believe, hiring
managers are not primarily concerned with finding
the person with the highest qualifications. After all,
rocket scientists don’t deliver pizzas for a living (not
that there is anything wrong with delivering pizzas).
Managers want competent new hires, but they are
willing to take the second or third most talented
person if they will be a better fit than the most
Managers are concerned with how a new hire will fit
in with the manager’s team, division and
organization. Even if you’re applying for a job that is
mostly a solitary effort, being a team player is never
a bad thing.
Good fit trumping talent is shown most clearly in
professional sports. While few organizations are
more talent-focused than a sports franchise, a
supremely talented player that gets labeled as a
“locker room cancer” will only be tolerated for so
long. A team cannot thrive with someone disruptive
to the team’s goals.
Explain the benefits to the organization.
You should say you are excited about the job and
that it will offer you opportunities to grow, but do not
dwell on it. The more important thing to discuss is
how you will benefit the organization. Take your
personality and experience and apply them to what
the ideal candidate for the job looks like.
Be on time.
Your application must arrive at the correct place by
the deadline. Even if you see the job posting for the
first time the night before the application packet is
due, there is no excuse for turning in a late or
incomplete application. Your punctuality should
continue throughout the hiring process.