September marks the beginning of a new hiring season, as hiring managers return from summer vacations and everyone goes back into “work mode.” It’s no secret that the fall season is a great time to look for a new job, meaning there will likely be a ton of job seekers scouring the same job sites you are.
So, how do you get noticed in a sea of job applicants? We asked our career experts to offer up some tips.
When you only rely on job websites and job posts on Craigslist, know that you and everyone else is doing the same thing, explains career coach Mary Kruger. “You want to be different and stand out from the crowd. The way to do that is to think about where you want to work, build a leads list and contact employers directly. A career coach can help you maneuver through this process.”
If you have the name of the decision-maker you have someone to personally address your cover letter to, which sure beats the standard “To whom it may concern” or “To the hiring manager.” What’s more, it also gives you someone to follow-up with! You can usually find this information online through LinkedIn, the company website or go one step further and get in touch with the company directly via phone or email.
Though not always practical, hand-delivering your resume will help you stand out from all those electronic resumes, Mary advises. “If the job ad says apply online, then do so, but take the extra step and hand-deliver a resume as well. And remember to dress for success when you go.”
“Never send a generic resume. Customize it to the company, culture and the job you are looking for,” Mary advises. “A cover letter can help you stand out. Include in your letter why you are the right fit for the job – be specific- and stress your interest in the company and role. HR Consultant Rob Crawford says, ‘Always include a cover letter with your resume.”
It’s also important to customize your resume to include keywords that match the posting in order to bypass applicant tracking systems (ATS).
“More and more, sourcing is happening via web-bots/search, so make sure your application (cover letter AND resume) is geared to the job in hand, with keywords, skills, competencies and experiences that match the posting,” says career coach Vincent Tuckwood. “At the same time, as with SEO, do NOT spam the application, the moment it’s read by a (human) recruiter it will be ditched!”
“Make it easy on them,” Vincent advises. “In my experience that means: ‘Do they have the track record? Are they capable? Will they grow? Will the fit in?” Now, think of your application in that order. Cover letter, short and to the point of why they should discuss with you (think “what can I offer to this job?”). Do not repeat your resume in your cover letter. Resume next. I’m a fan of a short candidate summary (tailored to the job, of course), factual biography (job titles, education and dates) – all that should be on one page – then on a second page, key accomplishments and key skills/competencies. If you have any awards or other accomplishments, that’s the last section.
Job hunting can be stressful and tiresome at times, but it’s important you keep a positive attitude. This will not only come across as a major plus to potential employers, keeping your attitude in check while you work through your job search will make it much easier on you. Heck, you might even begin to enjoy it!
“Bring your positive attitude to everything you do in your job search. Talk about what you do have, not what you don’t have, in the interview. Smile and be enthusiastic and you will soar over the competition!” says Mary.
To distinguish yourself from the crowd, career coach Lynden Kidd suggests you get creative and use media. “Use a one-page website to feature yourself and link it to everything where you brand yourself (business cards, resume, email signature, thank you notes, etc),” she advises. “Do a video snippet of your personal branding statement and put the link to it everywhere (this can be as simple as creating a YouTube channel and sharing the link).”
Then add the media or presentation to your LinkedIn profile and email signature so potential employers and recruiters can easily find it.
Need a little assistance finding your dream job? A career coach can help! Browse our directory of career coaches and request a FREE consultation!
Kristen is the editor and community manager at Noomii.com and the Noomii Career Blog. Kristen's desire to ask questions and share information with others led her to pursue journalism. While she has worked at various publications, covering everything from municipal politics to local restaurants, it was her love of self-improvement and sharing inspiration with others that made Noomii the perfect fit. Connect with Kristen on Twitter and LinkedIn.