The essentials of job application success: Send the right documents


What do recruiters want to see in addition to your CV in your job application form? The answer could mean the difference between landing an interview and being overlooked.

The importance of the make up of your job application forms cannot be stressed enough. In the recruitment industry, first impressions last. All the hiring manager gets to see is a CV and the supporting documents. It is upon the first glance of your documentation that a decision is made: shortlisted or chucked in the bin?

Sometimes adding too many documents in your job application could be the reason you don't receive any job interviews, especially if you've applied via email. So, what do hiring managers and recruiters want and NOT want to see in your job application? 

To include in your job application:

Your CV

It may seem silly, but many applicants often send an email to apply for a vacancy and forget to attach their CV! Nothing disputes your 'excellent attention to detail' statement more than forgetting the most important job application detail.

Do remember to always make name of the document: Name Surname applying for Job Title at Company Name. 

Cover letter

If a company has specifically requested that you add a cover letter, then you should attach one in your email. If the job ad is uncertain, you have three options:

1. Add your cover letter in the body of the email

2. Add your cover letter as an attachment

3. Both 1 and 2.

Do remember to always make your subject line your Name Surname applying for Job Title at Company Name (e.g. Kebe Chinyere applying for HR Manager at Coffee Star Inc). This rule is to be broken if the job advert specifically requests you use a reference number or any other unique indicator. Not adhering to instructions speaks louder than any fancy content your application form may contain.

Read: Cover letter mistakes sabotaging your chances of getting hired

Sample Portfolio

If the position you're applying for requires you to submit a portfolio of your previous work, then you should oblige. Different industries and job titles will have different instructions regarding the size and format of the files, as well as how many portfolio items they wish to see.

Models, architects, designers, writers, hair stylists, and the like are usually requested to include evidence of the abilities and experience.

Do remember that if you are asked to include your portfolio, it is usually quality not quantity that is important - so only add the items that you're most proud of.

Not to include in your job application:

Copies of your qualifications

Your CV already contains your educational background and the recruiter, as yet, has no reason to suspect that you're lying. It is only once you're shortlisted (or hired) that they may request certified copies of your degrees, diplomas, certificates, or any other courses you've completed as indicated on your CV.

A copy of your ID and Driver's Licence

Again, certified copies of these documents are only required once your CV and cover letter have won the recruiter over.

Your academic results

It is not necessary to include your matric or university marks in your CV unless you are applying for your first job. Recruiters welcome matriculants and graduates report cards but if you've been in the industry for more than 12 months, your academic results are no longer relevant. 


You do not have to include any feedback that you've received from your former employers, clients or mentors in your CV. If you are particularly proud of the praise you've received, you may add it in your portfolio. Do ensure that it is presented in an attractive way.

If the recruiter is interested in hiring you, they will call the references you've supplied in your CV.


Unless specifically requested in the job advert, the potential of hurting your chances to make a good first impression greatly increases when you include a photograph. Recruiters only need your skills and experience to make a judgement on your fit within the company, and that should be covered in your CV and cover letter. Not only is its inclusion completely unnecessary but you also run the risk of sending an outdated, unprofessional, and unflattering photo of yourself.

 A picture is worth a thousand words, and your profile picture will speak louder than all the words on your CV.

Read: 5days till "You're hired"

Above all, you need to follow the job advert's specifics to the tee. Otherwise no matter what you attach, you will be overlooked simply for already proving your negligence to follow instructions. Improve your chances of landing an interview by committing to these CV and cover letter tips.