Job Application Tips

How to get the first interview, and smash it!

Posted on 9 September 2022

Two pairs of shoed feet standing on pavement slabs, on which the words PASSION LED US HERE are painted in red.

Two pairs of shoed feet standing on pavement slabs, on which the words PASSION LED US HERE are painted in red.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

This blog post has been created from two twitter threads of mine, here and here:

How to score an interview:

Be un-ignorable.

No ‘quick apply’, no generic cover letter.

Address the person hiring directly, write a friendly email, make the cover letter heavily reference the company.

It is effort++, so you need to get picky!


Have time & want to go the extra mile? Seen a job ad you REALLY like and want to give it your all?

Especially if you’re going for Frontend Development: Build a mini-site. It is your cover letter now. Style it to look a bit like their website.

Any other job - do it no-code.

I mean, why wouldn’t you?

It’s more fun to do, and it’s about as much effort now to build something fast and deploy it via GitHub to Netlify or Vercel or even via Wix/Webflow, as it is to fire up Word, format a letter nicely and print it to PDF.

If you’re smart about doing this, you can make it easy to adapt for different job applications to different companies - but then do your very best not to be generic in your language.

If you’ve been picky and found a job and company you’re very keen on joining, get specific.

Your aim is to make it impossible for them not to interview you.

They might think you a bit zany (🤪) or try-hard, but so what? If it lands you the interview, that’s all you need.

I have won jobs by sheer enthusiasm in the past. They love it. It beats qualifications.

Smashing the interview:

It’s really worth preparing some answers you know you can go to, given the common HR style questions. Common ones are easy to find in listicles online!

I personally always hated these questions.

I found them to be always sort of insincere, but even though I could probably tell you several of the common questions, I never prepared answers. That was silly.

I would end up flustered, and any negative thoughts I had about any past work would bubble up to the surface.

So, you need to look up these questions, and formulate answers to them. Write them down. Be as positive as possible.

Be real, sure, but be careful not to start talking your way into the negative self-story paths.

Self-story? What’s that?

We all have stories about ourselves. They seem to explain how and why we are how we are.

Some of them are negative, “Oh yeah I always do X, it’s so frustrating, that’s why I’m Y.” Some are more positive, “Oh man, I love being Z! It helps me do N.”

I needed help with mine.

A friend can help you reformulate them, but sometimes it can really be worth talking to someone outside of your friends or family - therapy is good, yes, and so is coaching.

Sometimes you can do with a little help from someone specialising in the things you struggle with :)

I am friends with @talkwithecm and admittedly, I got mates’ rates on her services.

But I want to give back to her, because I believe she was instrumental in my recent interview success. She’s not paying me:

Other coaches are of course available!

It’s OK to seek extra help. Always. It’s not cheating, it’s helping you break out from traps you might otherwise have fallen into.

Taking advice like this isn’t only for just one interview - having my self story lifted out of negativity has been such a wonderful gift ❤️


There are so many different things you can do, to improve your chances - but I wanted to share these specific things that really helped me. I’m open to any questions!

This advice does not include tips for technical parts of interviews, only the ‘getting-to-know-you’ kind, however the internet is full of great advice for this side of things :)

Above all I wish you all the BEST OF LUCK!