Ever been told to act ‘casual’ when going after something you really want? To ‘play it cool’ when courting a partner, and not get too excited when someone brings cake into the office? Us too. But these comments are not exclusive to just those activities – it’s a trait that for some, leaks out into covering letters when applying for jobs, too.

Last week, Forbes published an article advising how not to appear desperate when job seeking. There’s a fine art to appearing enthusiastic but not overbearing, and we’re going to delve a little deeper to uncover the secrets to job seeking success – and also learn how to not get too excited when you see cake being shared around your desks (although we can’t guarantee absolute success on this part).

Maintain Your Authenticity

It’s important to remember your actual motives for applying for a role. What will the position bring you? Closer to your dream job, the chance to work for your ideal company, the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals?

Keep that at the forefront of your mind – and your covering letter. It’s all too easy to see through a flimsy application that’s been shoehorned to hit a job listing’s criteria, and it lacks identity. Maintain your authenticity and your voice, and ensure that your covering letter is a solid depiction of you as an individual – and not just another carbon-copy box ticker.

Don’t Over-Promise

We’ve all done it. You get to an interview and suddenly anything your interviewer throws at you is fine – and the line ‘I’ve not had the experience of that yet, but I am an eager learner’ is repeated all too many times.

Take stock of your actual skills, and remember to bolster those in your interview. It’s good to show a willingness to learn, but it’s also OK to admit when something is slightly out of your comfort zone.

Don’t ever lie in a job interview. If you don’t know a program, don’t say you do just to appear more attractive to an employer. You will be caught out, and it will only reflect badly on you.

If you were given a technical question there and then, how would you work your way out of it? Silicone Republic says on this topic that “you’re [then] showing yourself to be a disappointing hire as well as someone who stretches the truth.” Honesty is always key.

Uphold Your Manners

Following-up job leads can be an exhausting and sometimes defeating activity. Get into the habit of sending thank you messages straight after an interview – in Forbes’ article ‘4 Non-Annoying Ways To Follow Up After An Interview’, they advise that you send out a thank you “with lightning speed” straight after an interview.

Not only is it courteous, but it acts as a sure-fire way to reassure the employer about your dedication to the role. It proves that you’re not just hitting any interview you can get your hands on, but shows your commitment to success in their position.

Outline a few points to prove why you would be a great fit for their company – and as Forbes says, “make it easy for them to decide on you.”

Remember: You Don’t Have to Jump Through Extensive Hoops to Land a Job

If an application is asking too much from you, remember that you can opt-out at any time. For creative roles, this point is especially prevalent. It’s all too easy for an employer to request some mock material to show your ability – which is absolutely fine – but you need to learn when to draw the line, and suss out when an employer is taking liberties with their requests.

Your time is your currency – so don’t waste too much of it working for free. Although the employer has what you want, you need to uphold your values and ensure that you are being fair to yourself and that their expectations are equally fair. If someone is asking for too much, it may be time to back down.

The key to job seeking success lies in being true to yourself – keep your values in the forefront, and ensure that your authenticity shines through any application form you complete.