Making your application stand out is not easy in the ultra-competitive climate we live in today. Whether you are applying for a job, a Masters, Ph.D., or funding, there are a few critical things. We must be aware of multiple concerns, such as how you come across, the institution, and the course or job. It is no small task to bring all of these things together into a cohesive and impressive application. Here are eight unique and inventive methods to make your application stand out.
- Don’t Hold Back in Talking Yourself Up.
The biggest single mistake applicants make is being too modest when showcasing their talents. We wouldn’t dream of suggesting making things up and lying about achievements. Some things are black and white facts, such as grades achieved or jobs held. Other things we can bring a degree of subjectiveness to. If you feel a position you had involved management or leadership roles, but you think that was only a brief or small part of it, still talk it up. If you were part of a research project, mention it, but don’t play down your role; talk up what you did and what you learned. Always find the achievements and learning points in every part of your work and study history.
- Contact Those Making the Decision
It cannot harm to reach out to those making the decision. Admissions staff are routinely faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. It is not humanly possible to give their full attention to every application. This volume of work makes it imperative to stand out, and direct communication can aid this approach. Sending an email or a quick phone call can show your genuine interest and enthusiasm for the position. Even if you are unsuccessful, it can demonstrate enthusiasm, and if you apply again, your name may stand out this time.
- Make it About Why They Should Want You (Not the other way around)
When talking yourself up, you should make it specific to why they should want you. If applying for a scientific position, mention your dedication to high academic standards, pinpoint past successes and any published work. Make any work examples relevant to the work done at the department you are applying to and identify how you would fit in. Try to avoid simply stating how much you admire the work they have done and not showing you can contribute; you are applying to be a part of it, not a fan.
- Use Multimedia to Present Yourself
These days we are not restricted to a simple written CV or a textual application. The internet has presented us with a massive variety of ways we can promote ourselves. As a bare minimum, we should have social media accounts for presenting our research and networking with other academics. Beyond having these channels, it is vital to decide what to put on them. For any promotional purpose, posts should be visually appealing. You may not feel you should be ‘promoting’ yourself, but academia is competitive like any other industry. One of the main issues with academics is they think the work should speak for itself, and perhaps in an ideal world, this would be the case. Back here, in reality, we need to use any tool to get ahead. Pictures and videos of the work are classic ways of making a post more noticeable. If you can find the budget, it can be a fantastic idea to get professional media work produced. Something like the work video production West Palm Beach can provide might just give you the edge.
- Tell Your Referees What You Want from Them
Every application must have at least one professional or academic reference. What many of us fail to do is use this opportunity to its fullest. If you have a good relationship with your referee, it will pay dividends to ask them to tailor their reference to the position you are applying for. This is not dishonest; we are not asking them to lie or elaborate; instead, we might request they concentrate on the parts of your work together which are most relevant. It is not out of order to ask them to mention a particular project or achievement they are aware of. The worst that can happen is they say no, and this is not the most likely outcome.
- Talk Your Cultural Background Up (Not Down)
We all come from different backgrounds, and this fact is celebrated more than it was in the past. There was a time when most academics came from a particular class, and sadly to say certain ethnic origins. Thankfully, those days are mostly behind us. Having a diverse research team can bring a variety of views and ways of thinking to any problem. Collaboration is not really collaboration if all team members are so similar in background that they all see things the same way.
- Show Them What You Are Going to do with The Degree
Often it can be advantageous to outline what you are looking to do with the degree you are applying to. Colleges and universities like to use the achievements of past students to promote their institution and courses. If it looks as if you are going to go on to bigger things, then it will reflect well on the school and increase your chances of acceptance.
- Pay Attention to the Culture of the School
Every institution has a culture, be it a school, a workplace, or a social institution, such as a sports club or youth organization such as The Scouts, we all have heard the “be prepared” motto. A motto is not a bad place to start, but there is so much more to learn to appreciate the culture and identity of the place fully. Once you feel you understand what they are about, look at how you would fit into this culture? Consider if it has a proud tradition of research and cutting-edge work, or is it more concentrated on community inclusion, or sports
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