It is so easy to apply for a job these days, you can do it from anywhere and with minimal effort using a saved resume and cover letter in most cases. It isn’t effective but it’s easy.

What if spending 20-30 minutes more on each application will increase your call back rate? It takes more time but increases your chances of getting hired, I think it’s worth the effort.

So what are 5 things you should do before you click apply?

1.      Find out more about the employer

Take the time to do some research. Read over the information on their website and social media pages.

Know their industry, products and service, who their customer base is and find out as much as you can about their vision, goals and company culture.

2.      Take the time to really understand the role requirements

Read through the job posting a few times, make notes on the requirements, duties and soft skills mentioned. If you are unsure, call the hiring team and ask questions. The more you know about the job and what their ideal candidate looks like, the easier it is for you to address.

3.      Write stories

No, this isn’t the time to drag out the novel you have been working on, I mean stories about your experience. Short, quantifiable examples about what you have done in the past that demonstrate the skills and abilities listed in the job posting. For those you don’t possess, look for transferable skills or how you could develop these. Then your last story should use the information you gathered from your research, a brief overview of why you want to work with this employer and in this role.

4.      Cutsomise your application

Using your stories, write your cover letter and update your resume so your previous positions have an achievement section noting 1-2 relevant achievements.

5.      Write down at least 3 questions

Sure you don’t need them for an application but if you have created a great application you should be prepared for your phone to ring for an interview and you want to have some great questions to ask.

Now you can click apply. Remember to keep records of your applications, research and notes so you can refer back to them when you get called for an interview.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse