Michael Mack of Smiths Gore sets out five simple steps to help first-time applications stand out from the crowd.

1 Make sure you provide what is being asked for: read the application pack and make sure you answer all the questions – gaps can give a poor impression. If you are not sure about something, contact the agent and ask.

2 Ensure your business plan must be financially sustainable: you must show the landlord how you will afford to pay your rent each year – setting the right level is a challenge but overbidding is not sustainable. If the landlord is in doubt, you will not be shortlisted.

3 Be focused: make it clear what you will do and how you will do it. If it is hard to find this information among the waffle then your application may be rejected. If you get an interview, that will be your chance to expand on the application.

4 Give a good presentation (the application and you): first impressions count – don’t turn up in work gear, don’t submit an application covered in coffee stains. To a landlord this will mean you will present their farm in exactly the same way. Similarly, poor spelling, grammar and sums that don’t add up will get an application turned down very quickly.

5 Don’t give in: if you fail on your first application, ask for feedback and listen to the feedback, put these lessons into action when you apply for your next application.

Smiths Gore is running a free one-day workshop on putting a tenancy application together. This will be on on 15 February in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council which has five farms to let this spring.