Applying for jobs and work experience is hard. Selling yourself in just 100 words like we ask you to do when you apply for an opportunity with us is even harder. We know that. We all applied for our jobs through the GoThinkBig site too. It is not easy. The good news is of course that we’re here to help. We’ve spoken to some of the people who review your applications for various opportunities to find out what they like to see in the stand out section of the application.

Talk about the company/brand you’re applying to

One of the things that all of the people we spoke to said was to make sure you mention the brand that you’re applying for. They want to see that you know the kind of things that they do and that you’re passionate about them.

“A lot of people just say they want to work for O2 in their applications,” says Vicki Ferguson, Events and Content Manager at O2 Think Big. “I’m impressed when they’ve spoken specifically about the programme or product which is referenced in the opportunity description.”

And one thing to never ever do is say that your dream is to work for another brand or company. We know you probably didn’t mean to and it was a mistake that you overlooked. But check and check again and then check a third time, just in case. “I’ve actually had two people over the last few months listing why they love Vogue so much,” Matilda Stanley, style assistant at, erm, Closer told us. Not a great start, guys. Must try harder.

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Show that you’re passionate

Saying that you’re passionate about PR or cooking or technology or whatever opportunity it is that you’re applying for is one thing. But being able to show it is another. “I like it when an applicant has given examples of things that they’ve done to show their passion and skills, rather than just saying that they’re passionate.” Camilla Smith, GoThinkBig’s Partnership’s Manager, says and she’s responsible for helping brands such as Blue Rubicon, ITN, and Reed Smith pick their applicants so she must know a thing or two.

Put links in

A lot of the people who go through your applications said that they like to have a look at the work that you’ve done. It gives them an even better idea of the person who’s applying for the opportunity and they can double check if you’re as good as you appear to be in your application. “If they lack journalism experience or training it is definitely heartening to see that some have blogs,” Chrissy Amer, editorial assistant at Grazia says. “I always click the link and look too.”

So make sure you include some links if you can – we’d recommend using a link shortening service such as bitly.com to keep your standout looking clean.

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Do something a little bit different

Don’t be afraid to do something a bit different with your standout. You have 100 words to do anything you can to convince someone that you’re the perfect candidate for the opportunity. One applicant who was applying for work experience with Kerrang! had written their standout as a Kerrang! style review. It’s about being creative and doing something unique. “Avoid clichés,” Camilla says. “Don’t write what everyone else writes. I don’t want to read ‘I am a hard working graduate who is passionate about getting into media.’”

Don’t ignore it

The standout section has been put into our applications for a reason (to help us find the best candidates). Don’t ignore it. “Don’t write ‘see cover letter’ in your standout,” Eleanor Payne, our Opportunities Manager says. “It needs to include something that entices me to find out more about you and have a read of your cover letter.”

We appreciate that selling yourself in 100 words is not an easy task. But if you get a bit creative, think outside the box a little bit and mention the right brand you should be ok.

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