The job market is slowly but surely improving, so it’s a great time for unemployed people to put it into gear and start applying. As an HR professional, I have unique access to information on what it takes to stand out enough to get an interview, and eventually get hired. I’ve compiled a list of 9 tips on helping land you the job you’ve been waiting for.
1. Some times it’s a numbers game.
With the high level of unemployment, even with a few more positions open, there’s still a high number of applicants for each opening. This high number of applicants makes it particularly difficult to stand out. Which is why it’s so imperative that you do. Be sure to brainstorm ways to connect with your prospective employers before applying cold. For instance: We use google docs for a lot of work documents, if someone sends us a link to their resume using google docs, it automatically makes them stand out to us. Find out information on your company and adjust your application strategy accordingly.
2. Be clear on how skills and accomplishments are relevant to the position at hand.
Don’t assume that because you list a skill or accomplishment on your resume, that the person doing the hiring will automatically know how that is relevant to the particular job. Sometimes HR people don’t know exactly how every position operates. Make sure to format, and word your resume in a way that the person reviewing it will automatically see how your skills can be applied. A qualified candidate is always going to stand out.
3. Target your resume for each position you apply for.
So many people have told me they have had success with this method. Each position you apply for has different requirements, so make sure your resume reflects this. You only have a few pages to summarize your entire career, so be sure that it reflects those skills, qualities, and accomplishments, that are most applicable to whichever position you apply for.
4. Get personal.
No matter what business you apply for, the employer undoubtedly has a large inbox to deal with. Reaching out through the internet is not enough anymore. Calling, going in person, or even mailing a letter, are all DIY ways to standout to an employer. Obviously, this won’t be appropriate in every scenario, but use your judgement, and make an effort to get to know the people doing the hiring.
5. Have patience, and don’t give up.
The high number of applicants for each opening, means it often takes a long time to sort through all the resumes and pick a candidate. So don’t fret if you don’t get a call back right away. Also, don’t give up on it, and be sure to follow-up. If you give it time, but continue to be persistent, there’s a better chance you’ll get noticed.
6. Don’t annoy, or badger employers.
There’s some old school of thought out there, that if you continue to call and email an employer that they’ll eventually hire you. This is entirely untrue, and can in fact, work against you. While it’s good to be persistent, calling or emailing too much will just annoy someone hiring. Same with applying for multiple positions within an organization. Nobody wants to hire the annoying guy if they can help it.
7. Use job titles everyone can understand.
Maybe your actual job title doesn’t make sense to everyone, alter it a bit so it does. As long as the title accurately reflects your duties, it’s not lying. Position names vary organization to organization, so using a more generic version of your title so someone hiring can understand it better, is totally acceptable, and even encouraged.
Making a human connection is the most likely way you’ll land a good position, so go out and do it. Go to industry conferences, workshops, even social gatherings where you know there will be a lot of industry professionals if you can find one. While it’s always more important what you know than who, it certainly does help to know someone in the business.
9. Research the company.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, employers love candidates who know about their organization. With the information only a google search away, you really have no excuse not to at least know the basics about a company. So fire up your search engine and do some work before you apply.