Top Five Tips for Employability: How to Make Your Job Application Stand Out

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Many job ads receive hundreds of applications, so it pays to make sure your CV captures attention from the get-go. But what can you do to make sure your employability stands out? It can be hard to know what a potential employer is looking for, especially when employment rates are volatile, career development is expected, and graduate employment opportunities are competitive.

We reached out to UNSW’s very own Simone Donovan, Head of Talent Acquisition, to compile of list of the top five ways you can increase your employability and stand out from competition in today’s job market. 


Potential employers are always happy to see a clean and simple format. It’s never pleasant to receive a CV template that reads like a dictionary, with too many words and no distinction between roles. Keep your approach simple and stick to the key selling points of your work experience. 

A part of this simplicity is keeping things short. Prospective employers will breathe a sigh of relief when they see your CV isn’t longer than two to three pages. On top of this, ensure you keep to between one and three paragraphs to summarise each of your previous roles. Want to really impress? Find a CV template that uses bullet points, highlighting no more than 10 per role. This allows you to clearly communicate your skill set to time poor recruiters.  

Don’t be afraid to promote yourself! Recruiters are more likely to respond to you when they’ve already come in contact with you – whether that be in person (think Open Days, work placements and clubs and societies at uni) or online. This is why it’s great to take advantage of networking platforms like LinkedIn and MeetUp, which enable you to follow key groups and connect with relevant people within your industry. Getting into the right rooms to meet the right people can open up a variety of opportunities.  

One advantage of UNSW’s postgraduate programs is that they not only help you stand out as an expert in your field but also offer opportunities to take advantage of the university's connections and industry partners.  

You can never discount a CV that is peppered with graduate attributes that include relevant and specialised extracurricular activity. Not only will postgraduate study look great on your CV, but it also allows you to join student groups, make the most of intriguing internships or work placements and connect with your industry through sports, volunteering and other social activity. When further study meets this level of professionally calculated activity, it shows tenacity and initiative as well as highlighting your ability to embrace teamwork.

What’s the one thing no one else can offer to any role? It’s YOU! Don’t be afraid to work with your personal essence, the thing that makes you who you are. A great place to showcase this is in the professional profile at the top of your CV or in your cover letter. Not only are these the main areas that allow you to tailor your words to the role at hand, but you can also really go into what makes you passionate about your industry and the subject areas you've studied, what drives your professional development, and what your personal career goals are. There’s only one version of you, so make the most of it.