Looking for a job is tough, but just for a second, put yourself in the shoes of HR professionals. All day long, they read vague, poorly written resumes from people who claim to be super smart and possess excellent communication skills. Often, it seems they haven’t read the job description or done the slightest bit of research about the company. How do you make your application stand out? In a great post for U.S. News & World Report, Jobhuntercoach founder and CEO Arnie Fertig outlines “5 Things Hiring Managers Want From Job Seekers.” Read on and see how to get a leg up on the competition.

1. Articulate Resumes and Cover Letters — Don’t just string together a bunch of cliched sentences that don’t actually say anything. Be compelling and articulate, and don’t say, “I was excited to hear about the position,” even if you were. Find a new way to say it.

2. People Who Don’t Waste Time — During the interview process, you may be tempted to prattle on about every detail about your life, but as Fertig writes, “they probably don’t care about what you minored in when you we in college in the ’80s.”

3. Good Preparation — It’s all about doing your homework, and not just if you’re lucky enough to land an interview. In your initial approach, show that you’ve read about the company, and avoid asking about things that are easily researched. If the company has you in, Fertig writes, it’s not to have a casual chat. They’ve vetted you, and they’re using time and resources to speak with you. They’re taking you seriously, in other words, and you should do likewise.

4. An Understanding of Value — What do you bring to a potential employer? The phrase “personal brand” gets thrown around a lot, and everyone has one. Understanding yours means being able to say definitely why you should get the job over someone else.

5. A Good, Honest Story — Job interviews are opportunities to present the narrative of your professional life. Explain where you’ve been and how it’s prepared you for the job in question. It’s “partly about being authentic,” Fertig writes, but more so, it’s about being clear and portraying “the arc of your career bending toward the opportunity at hand.”