On How To Stand Out in Your Job Application: Tips for New Grads

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The current job market is incredibly tough, especially for new graduates. With many layoffs and economic uncertainty, every job posting now receives hundreds of applications. To stand out in this competitive process, it’s important to understand how hiring managers evaluate candidates.

This post summarizes insights from a hiring manager at Substack who reviewed hundreds of applications for engineering roles. Here are some actionable tips you can apply:

  • Concise Resume: Limit your resume to one page yet highlighting relevant experience and impact.
  • Professional Resume Format: Opt for a visually appealing resume format and design. Consider using one of these standard templates as a starting point:
  • Demonstrate Fit: Clearly communicate your location/qualifications to meet role requirements in your resume/cover letter.
  • Customized Responses: Address all custom application questions, such as “Why choose company X.” This demonstrates your engagement with the specific company.
  • Leverage Referrals (most important): The best piece of advice is to tap into your network for referrals, significantly increasing your chances of securing an interview in today’s competitive job market.

If you lack connections for referrals, don’t worry. Consider reaching out to hiring managers directly or becoming part of a tech community, such as Viet Referral, designed for Viet professionals. When reaching out or posting in the community, remember that members see or receive numerous requests daily. Keep your message concise, and don’t forget to attach your resume. To make it easy, below is the template you can use:

Hi everyone,

I am XXX, actively seeking a position in the XYZ domain. I have hands-on experience in Skill 1, Skill 2, and Skill 3. Here are a few roles I believe align with my skills:

  • Company A: Job Link 1
  • Company B: Job Link 2
  • Company C: Job Link 3

Please find my resume here (attached resume). If anyone can help me with a referral or believes I’m a good fit for your company, please don’t hesitate to DM me. I appreciate your time, and look forward to learning more about the job if there is match.



Hope this helps! Best of luck to all job seekers!

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