To help you succeed and land the tech job opportunity of your dreams, we have put together a short and sweet list of tips to keep in mind when applying for a job. Before we dive into the details, here’s the bottom line:
tl;dr: Three tips for improving your chances of getting hired
- Respond to the requirements and tailor your application
- Keep it short and simple to ensure readability – less is more
- Personalise and stand out
Now, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what this means in practice:
1. Respond to the requirements and tailor your application
At the first stage of the recruitment process, the hiring team is primarily focused on deciding who will be selected for interviews. A key part of winning them over is to make that decision as easy as possible for them by providing the right materials and answering the questions they’re interested in.
Share your story and motivation
You can think of sharing your story as sitting around an imaginary campfire where you can tell about your past and reflect on your career highlights, future plans and motivation towards the company you’re applying to. Take some time to write a few paragraphs about what is important for you and how that might match with Futurice to convey your expectations and help the recruiters decide whether to call you in for an interview.
One of the most commonly used methods to deliver your story is your cover letter. It is appreciated by companies around the world, and it is not only beneficial for them but also for you. Keep in mind that the people reading through your application are your future colleagues, and they are not just interested to see your technical skills but also your motivation and your interest in becoming their team member. That is why it is sometimes also known as a motivation letter. Your story helps us decide on an interview offer. If you get called in, you are likely to get more out of the discussion as the interviewers can also prepare for the interview better, having read your story.
If you start creating your story from scratch, one tip is to list the requirements mentioned in the job posting as a guideline for yourself. After that, you can go through each point and reflect on how they match your situation. Our recommendation is to contextualise your experience rather than just list skills. The context can be a work task, project, role or hobby, for example. If you do not have a ton of experience yet, you can emphasise your learning interests instead. Share things that we can’t see in your CV. Don’t assume that the recruiter knows what kinds of challenges you’re looking for and what kind of relevant experience you might have.
How to sell yourself to the recruiters
To help you land that interview, here is a list of questions we recommend you to answer in your application.
- What things get you excited and motivated at work?
- What sort of role are you looking for? What got you interested in this position at Futurice?
- What would you like to learn more about? What kind of career dreams do you have?
- Why are you our next team member and why?
- Why would Futurice be the best fit for you?
If there are additional details you would like us to know about you that might affect your application, this is a great place to mention them as well. Consider the following, for example:
- When can you start?
- Are you looking for a part-time or full time job?
- Are you willing to relocate for the position, or looking for a fully remote position?
- What is your salary request?
As a general rule, write your application in the same language that the job listing uses. For example, if your native language is Finnish and you’re applying for a position based in Finland, don’t let that affect your decision – always go with the language used in the job listing. This applies even if you’re certain someone in the recruiting team understands Finnish – there may be others involved in the decision that don’t. Think of it as a great opportunity to show off your language skills.
2. Keep it short and simple to ensure readability – less is more
A job application is not the same as an essay, and recruiters typically have tons of applications to go through in a fairly limited amount of time. They have to make decisions relatively fast – so brevity is key, and first impressions matter. With that in mind, you can do a lot with different methods and formatting choices to help the recruiter to recognise your core strengths.
You can think of this as optimising the user experience of your application. This is not rocket science, and the tricks to deliver relevant information about your history and future interests more efficiently are fairly simple. Consider for example using formatting (such as bold text) to highlight important keywords, creating structure with headlines, organising information with bullet points, and using links where necessary. All these help you say a lot about yourself without writing a long text that contains everything under the sun.
Once you have a first draft ready, don’t say you’re done yet. At Futurice, we love feedback, and it’s always a good idea to ask a close friend or family member for their opinion. Does the cover letter present you well and is it easy to read, and can they understand it even if they’re not familiar with your field of expertise? If your application includes referrals from people who know you professionally, they can be a great source of feedback as well.
3. Personalise and stand out
When recruiters are hiring new talent, they’re looking for more than just faceless resources, or pairs of hands to allocate to different tasks and projects. What they’re after is a team member, and in our business, those tend to be living, breathing human beings complete with a unique personality.
So, as people trying to find a new teammate, we’re not only interested in your skills – we are just as eager to know who you are and what you’re like to work with. To help us see that, let your personality show in your application. This is a major part of standing out if there are other people applying for the same job as you. Don’t be afraid to let your own style show in your writing and the visual appearance of the materials you share with us.
There are also other ways besides your personality to showcase the real you. Consider including information that is unique to you, such as:
- Links to your portfolio or GitHub
- Participation in tech communities
- Qualifications and certifications
- Both work-relevant and irrelevant hobbies
Early on in your career you may not have a lot to share in this area. Don’t let that discourage you! We’ve all been newbies at one point. Here are some other things to emphasise if you’re still in the beginning of your professional journey:
- Expected graduation date and any plans to pursue postgraduate studies or another degree
- Academic grades
- Extracurricular activities
- Previous work experience and personal/hobby projects
And since we’ve been talking about personality, there’s one more important thing to mention here. In some cases, having a personality is misinterpreted as being overly extroverted and able to constantly broadcast your personal brand. Don’t fall for that – be yourself. If someone ends up hiring you based on an imaginary persona that’s not actually who you are, you can find yourself trapped playing a role, and that can get immensely exhausting, fast.
Now go give it a try!
Ultimately, recruiters want you to succeed and recognise your potential. If you'd like to test these tips in action, please go ahead and check out our open positions and apply!
- Anu AnsolahtiTalent Partner, Finland
- Katharina SchütteTalent Acquisition Manager, Berlin