top of page
  • Writer's pictureLorcan Flanagan

Unlocking Success: Your Ultimate Job Shortlisting Guide

In today's competitive job market, getting shortlisted for executive positions requires more than just a well-crafted CV/resumé. It demands a strategic approach, tailored networking, and a keen understanding of the hiring process. With an average of 80% of applications never progressing to the interview stage, positioning yourself as the ideal candidate is crucial. Here’s your ultimate guide to maximizing your chances of landing that dream executive job:


1. Tailor Your CV/Resumé to Perfection:

Customize your CV/resumé for each application, to align with the specific job requirements. Highlight key skills and experiences relevant to the position.

For example, if the role is Commercial/Business Development or account management, speak to your sales highlights and impact in your previous roles.

Highlight how you achieved or exceeded targets/quota. Numbers and percentages will catch BD leaders’ eyes – they will ask how you did this, if/when you get to interview.


2. Craft a Compelling Cover Letter:

There’s some debate over the value of cover letters.

If the application allows, include a personalized cover letter with a paragraph summary or a “brag piece” as to why you are the perfect match to the role.

Keep it concise and impactful, addressing it directly to the Hiring Manager.


3. Leverage Keywords:

During your CV/resumé review, identify and incorporate relevant keywords from the Job Description into your CV/resumé and cover letter. Be sure to ask for the JD in the first place.

Many employers and recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems that scan for specific keywords to aid short-listing.


4. Network Effectively:

Leverage professional networks (e.g., LinkedIn) to connect with employees in your desired industry.

Attend industry events and engage in conversations to expand your network.


5. Maintain a Professional Online Presence:

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is comprehensive and up-to-date, highlighting your professional achievements. Be sure to make your LinkedIn landing page compelling and impactful – the “hook” for a prospective employer needs to be revealed in the first few seconds of viewing your profile.

Carefully consider your content on all other social media profiles.


6. Research the Company:

Thoroughly research the company and weave your findings into conversations during interviews. Demonstrating genuine interest and enthusiasm about the organisation and its values can make a lasting impression.


7. Follow Application Instructions:

Only provide supporting information if asked, however as in #2, you should include a Cover Letter to stand out from the crowd.


8. Develop Your Soft Skills:

Highlighting soft skills such as communication, adaptability, and problem-solving in your application shows greater ability and suitability to the role, aiding your progress. Using examples of these in your application will help you to get short-listed.

Many employers value these qualities over technical skills, to ensure that you are aligned to the values, culture and your “fit” to the organisation.


9. Practice Interview Skills:

Prepare for interviews by practicing common questions. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses. Be sure to bring a set of questions of your own to the interview. Modern interview processes are not interrogations – you are also interviewing them


10. Seek Feedback and Continuously Improve:

Request feedback from mentors, colleagues, or careers professionals on your CV/resume and interview skills and technique.

Be humble and use this constructive criticism to continually improve your application strategy.



These tips and strategies not only increase your chances of getting shortlisted, but also help you to stand out as a candidate who is proactive, well-prepared, and genuinely interested in contributing to the success of the organisation.

The journey to securing your next dream role is a process of continuous improvement and learning.

Good luck!


bottom of page