5 rules you need to break to set yourself apart in job applications

It seems illogical to suggest that breaking the rules of job hunting can actually result in an offer but in this increasingly competitive market, job-seekers need to do what’s necessary to stand out from the crowd – even if that means throwing the rulebook out.

Before you get excited and start to channel your inner maverick, bear in mind that there are some rules that can’t be broken. These five tips and tricks, courtesy of Forbes, detail less conventional ways to wade through the quagmire of bureaucracy that job applications often can be and present the best version of yourself.

1. Show that you’re a human

Job seekers will always try to emulate or mould themselves into the ‘perfect’ employee they think the company would want to hire. Instead, use your cover letter to talk about you, the person. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not because you might get the job on that pretence and end up hating it.

2. Don’t think that online applications are the only route

These automatic applications are dying a death, albeit slow, but a death nonetheless. They’re arbitrary toward people who can relate with machines and result in mis-informed hirings. Find out who the hiring manager is and try going directly to them. Send your CV, covering letter and give them a call – don’t be pushy but show that you’re the right person for the job, the worst they can say is “no”.

3. Keep your hand close to your chest

Privacy is becoming a rare commodity so don’t put up with any job application that forces you to divulge more than you want to. Don’t oblige any form that asks you to explain any unemployed periods and definitely don’t give any past salary details out – you’ll lose any leverage for negotiating a fair pay later on.

4. Never bend over backwards

Getting a job is competitive but should be fair. You should feel comfortable that the person with the right skills and attitude deserves the job – even if it isn’t you. Some applications may ask you degrade yourself or do some preliminary work for free and these are the jobs you should 100% boycott.

5. The level playing field is the sign of a good company

If you feel like you’re being treated less than fairly, just because you’re a job seeker, then think about how terrible it will be working for that kind of company, especially if it’s an entry level job. Employers should know that their companies cannot function without hard-working people like you so don’t feel like you have do them a favour.

Now what?