As you all know I have opened applications for Generation Impact's Collaboration Sessions (applications close in two days so hurry up) and it's been an absolute joy to read the applications I have received so far.
"Writing a good application is hard"
At the same time, writing a good application is hard. I have been on your side of the table, (the side of the applicant) as well as the side of the application-reader who has to make the decision and I wanted to share a few tips on how you can make sure your application stands out.
I think these tips are pretty generic so they apply to anything from a scholarship, university or job application!
1. Show that you care
I have read applications in the past, where it is pretty obvious that the person completed it in about 3 min. My mother always says: "if something is important to you, you take good care of it" - and the same applies to writing a good application. Show the reader that you care about this application. This means:
Do your research on what you are applying for and who you are applying to
"Show them that you are already one of them"
I am applying to summer internships at the moment and, to be honest, when writing the 56th application I am sometimes too exhausted to even read the job description correctly. Trust me - the application reader will know (check the fun story below)!
Moreover, show that you know a little bit about whatever organization you are applying for. Read their values and mission and show them that you are already one of them! Say something like "your values, particularly your mission to (...) really inspires me because (...).
This shows the reader you have thought this through - you want this opportunity!
I had a professor once, who makes all her students read the syllabus in the beginning of the semester. Somewhere in the middle of the text, it would say "To show that you have read the syllabus, email me a photo of a rabbit in the first week of classes". She would know exactly who had actually read the syllabus and who didn't. But those who didn't read the syllabus would never know how she knew.
2. Be authentic, show me who YOU are
People don't only read your application - they read hundreds (if not more). Show me how you are different from other applicants. When you proofread your application think: how would be best friend know this application comes from me?
Don't just write what you think they want to read (that's what everyone else does). And more importantly: be yourself. If they don't like you, you don't want to work with them!
3. Spell check it. And then spell check it again.
You have heard it before but I will say it again.
There is nothing that makes me want to approve your application less than spelling mistakes. Yes, one or two misplaced commas are not a big issue (and I am sure on Generation Impact's website you will find a few). However, spekking things in wais that show that you havent proofread it oncee... is unprofessional and shows me: you don't care.
"Pro-tip: Read the text from back to front"
Hint: Grammarly is a free spell-checking tool and actually as helpful as their advertising makes it sound. A friend who is good at writing also helps.
Pro-tip: Read the text from back to front. <--- read this way
You'd read the above text "front to back from text the read"
This will make you catch spelling mistakes easier. (This is particularly useful if you are writing by hand)
4. Copy and Paste is your friend...and your enemy
I will admit, this has happened to me too. You have already answered this question in a similar way for a different application so you just copy and paste the answer, quickly send the application away until... You realize that the name of the wrong company is in the answer.
You just wrote "I would love to work for Ben & Jerries because..." in your application for Adidas. Proofreading and cmd+f is your friend!