Those who have recently applied for a job have certainly noticed the tough competition ruling the job marketplace. When there are tens or hundreds of applicants, recruiters and employers can be pickier when hiring new employees. But, for the applicants it can be a vicious circle when every single application gets followed by a rejection. And, as we all know, rejection hurts.
You may be doing all the right things and still be rejected. You might be asking yourself what you are doing wrong. The answer is simple. There is probably nothing wrong with you. The point is that from the perspective of the hiring person, you just look exactly the same as all the other applicants.
There are just so many people who all do the same old thing. That’s why creating a CV in the traditional, outdated format, and sending it to as many employers as possible won’t lead to anything but rejection.
You need to capture their attention! You need to get noticed. You have to realise this is a COMPETITION, not a homework or assignment. It is not about passing. You have to be the best. And for that, no matter what, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Stand out from the Crowd and Land the Job
Check these 21 tips gathered by Market Inspector and success in your job search:
1. Your resume is your ticket to the interview
You have about 6 seconds to grab the recruiter’s attention. Many recruiters nowadays appreciate resumes no longer than one page long. It shows the ability of the applicant to pick and highlight his or her skills and experience in a concise manner. Resumes should not be a showcase of everything you have ever done. Instead, always ask yourself: “Will this sentence help me to get the job?” If the answer is no, consider editing or removing the sentence.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #1|
|✔ In the CV keep only relevant information|
|✔ Keep it as short as possible|
2. Research the company before applying
Spend some time getting to know the company. What are their achievements, what language do they use on their website and social media profiles? Looking into this will give you an idea of the company culture. Start following the company on LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to the company newsletter to stay updated. Mentioning this to the recruiter when (fingers crossed) you get to the interview will give you some extra points.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #2|
|✔ Research the company website and social media posts|
|✔ Follow the company on LinkedIn|
|✔ Subscribe for the company’s newsletter|
3. Create a strategic plan
This is a competition. A fight. And to win the fight one needs to prepare a strategy. Create your action plan. Mind map is probably the best tool to organise your ideas, thoughts, and goals. Our brain does not work linearly but rather in clusters and using multiple directions and visualising all the keywords leading as branches to the main goal may help you plan your next step. See how to use mind mapping to focus your job search.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #3|
|✔ Create a mind map|
4. Apply for your dream job, not any job
Don’t waste your time applying for ‘maybe’ jobs. Unless you feel like changing your career path, don’t apply for jobs that are outside your field of experience and interest. Instead hunt down the job where there are lot of matches to your profile.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #4|
|✔ Focus on jobs in your field|
5. Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter
Look at your application. Do you feel tempted to get to know more about the candidate? Remember that the there is a real person who will be reading your application! Their job is to pick the best candidates and present them to the employer. Be empathetic and make it easier for them. Let them get excited about you. Make them want to have a talk with you. Give them confidence that they chose the best match when presenting your name amongst the selected interviewees.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #5|
|✔ Think like a recruiter|
6. Address a specific person
Check out whose name is mentioned in the job ad. Visit the company website and find out who is the HR person. Use this name in the cover letter. This way you show you don’t just aimlessly send out applications; you also do your research.
This minor effort will be appreciated by the person assessing the application. Gone are the days when “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” was satisfactory.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #6|
|✔ Address the person who is in charge of the recruitment|
7. Be friendly and likeable
If you get the opportunity to have an interview, remember to keep smiling while at your potential workplace. Be it the receptionists, security guy, or even the interns. Don’t be afraid of small talks.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #7|
|✔ Smile (and the world will smile back at you)|
8. List your references
Contact your former colleagues and supervisors ahead and ask them for permission to have them added on your list of references. You can also ask your LinkedIn connections to write a recommendation of your work that you can display on your profile.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #8|
|✔ Create a list of references|
|✔ Ask your LinkedIn connections to write you a recommendation|
9. Avoid getting discouraged
Don’t take it personal. If your job hunting is not producing the desired results, don’t blame yourself, just keep trying. Try changing up your strategy and see what works better. Stay motivated and focus on the small steps. Success will come in the form of those minor goals being reached. By achieving those micro goals you certainly get closer to finding the job.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #9|
|✔ Keep trying!|
10. Keep your resume consistent
If you used bold text in one title, do the same thing in other titles. Beware of too-small font, use appropriate headings and bullet points. Make sure that all text, headers, paragraphs, and bullet points are aligned correctly. This way you demonstrate that you have made an effort and that you pay attention to detail.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #10|
|✔ Be thorough, even meticulous|
11. Compile a list of target companies and contact them directly
You don’t necessarily have to find the job openings via job portals. Many companies do not even list the job openings there. Even if there are no job openings at the moment, many employers keep unsolicited applications in their system and may contact you later when such a job opening comes up.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #11|
|✔ List companies you are interested in working for and contact them directly|
12. Go through the job description and list some key phrases and keywords
Try to implement these into your CV and motivation letter. Remember to keep it in moderation and beware of copying chunks of text from the job description.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #12|
|✔ List keywords form the job description and implement them in your CV|
13. Make a phone call before sending the application
Picking up the phone to contact the potential employer is always a good idea. It gives you a chance to establish a connection, show confidence and high degree of initiative, and differenciate yourself from the others. Think things out before you call so you know what to say and what to ask.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #13|
|✔ Make a phone call, prior to sending the application|
14. Turn your social media profiles into powerful self-promotion tool
Social media has evolved to become an essential part in the hiring process. As more and more recruiters check the social profiles of potential candidates, they want to see how you take care of your online reputation. Therefore, you should keep your profiles clean and relevant.
Remember to show some personality. Your profiles should represent a consistent story. Google yourself and check out your entire online presence. Create an about.me page where you connect all your online profiles in one place.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #14|
|✔ Get rid of any pictures and comments that could harm you in the hiring process|
|✔ Keep your social media presence as a consistent story|
|✔ Create an about.me page|
15. An importance of ‘thank you’ note
A thank you note after an interview represents a good deal of professionalism and good manners. Always remember to follow-up. Such habits show the hiring person you really care about getting the job.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #15|
|✔ Follow up and express your thanks for the interview|
16. Keep the cover letter short and sweet
Cover letter templates that are not edited will show a lack of creativity. Remember to avoid hackneyed phrases and clichés. Most recruiters can tell a random template you found on the internet from a unique personalised piece. Start with something catchy and engage their attention.
The best cover letters focus on the need of the employer not on the needs of the candidate. Try to prove to the recruiter that you are the right person to solve their problems, fulfil the tasks efficiently, and make a valuable impact.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #16|
|✔ In your cover letter start with something catchy|
|✔ Keep your cover letter as a story|
|✔ Mention what you can do for the company’s well-being|
17. Don’t repeat your resume in the cover letter
You have one page to impress the recruiter. Don’t waste the precious space saying the same thing twice. Choose the most important accomplishments from your resume and include it in the letter. Beware of being repetitive; instead use vivid and professional language to describe the accomplishment.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #17|
|✔ Pick your biggest accomplishment and mention it in the cover letter|
18. Focus on results and numbers
Focus on results and numbers, not only on responsibilities and competencies. You may have helped your previous company save some money, but can you back your achievement with some statistics and hard numbers? Then throw them in. Recruiters love that.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #18|
|✔ Mention some numbers and results related to your previous professional performance|
19. Prepare some questions for the interviewer
If you get to the interview, remember to prepare two or three questions beforehand. It always looks good when you show some curiosity and interest.
- What are the challenges you will face if you get the job?
- What is your typical working day going to look like?
- Who will you be typically working with?
- What does the hiring manager appreciate the most about his job?
- How long has he been working there and what makes him stay?
- The answers can give you insights into the company culture and working environment.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #19|
|✔ Before you go to the interview, have some questions prepared|
20. The power of the first impression
Never underestimate the power of the first impression. You only have ONE chance to make a FIRST impression. Don’t waste it. Wear appropriate clothes, look confident, keep smiling, and remember to give a firm handshake and have good posture.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #20|
|✔ Act as your best self|
21. Save, save, save
Always save the job description, cover letter, and resume for each position you apply for in case you get contacted by the recruiters after the job ad has expired. If you save the job posting somewhere offline you can always get back to it and use the information for potential interview.
|CHECKLIST – TIP #21|
|✔ Once you apply save your CV, cover letter and the job description|
Stay positive, patient and persistant
Remember to follow all of these rules when you find yourself in a situation where you can implement them. Think every detail through. Be smart. And see it as a journey to your dream job that may be full of challenges and obstacles, but the reward at the end, is worth it.