application3By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Here are a few strategies that will help make your passive market application (usually through job boards or a spec from a recruiter) stand out from the rest.

Tailor Your Application

Do your research! If you are applying for a job you’ve found it is because you think you have the skills and experience to get hired for the job and do it well. Are there certain skills and experiences that are more critical to this particular job that it would be beneficial to highlight on your application?

Customize your application including cover letter and resume to extenuate the aspects of your experience that will be appealing to this particular employer.  This is one of the most effective application strategies because it tailors your application to the job and company you are applying to work at.

Be Unique, Appropriately

Depending on the position, the company may receive hundreds or thousands of application for a single opening. If you have the opportunity to submit a cover letter, make it unique. Tell a story that will be remembered and that you can discuss during the interview. Carefully consider the company you’re applying for and ensure whatever you choose to do to stand out is appropriate and will be appreciated. Certain features could cause your application to end up in the No Pile if it goes too far outside the company’s standards of decorum. However, if the company is creative or unique itself, they might just love your approach and standing out could get you an interview.

Follow Directions

Depending on the size of the company and the number of applications, your application may be reviewed by a computer before it even has hope of being seen by a human being. Before you start filling out an application, read the whole thing and ensure you not only meet the criteria and have the required documentation but that you know what the application will entail.

Follow Up

Calling the company’s main office and asking to speak to recruiting or human resources is an appropriate follow up. LinkedIn may be helpful here as a reverse lookup to research names within the organization. Keep in mind, your follow up reflects on you and your skills. If the position requires phone calls and regular follow ups with clients- for example a sales position- a follow up call within an appropriate amount of time will likely reflect well on you and your skills.


Many of these job application strategies hinge on your ability to appropriately research the company you’re applying for. Certain things matter to certain companies that may not matter to others. Always being thorough and most importantly, yourself, on your job application!

Let’s get to work!


If you have questions about your executive job search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected].