We’ve all been there before – you find a job post that seems perfect for you and you’re ready to apply, only to find that 500 other people have already applied for the same role. You’re then discouraged because you know that this growing number of applicants can reduce the chances of your resume ever getting in front of the right person – so how can you make yourself stand out amongst the crowd?
Applying to jobs can often seem like a big numbers game, calling for you to cast a wide net and apply to as many jobs as you can. While that may be beneficial in some industries, it’s better to invest your time in applying to jobs that you’re actually excited about. Putting in extra work and allowing your passion for the role to come through in your application will help you differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Tailor your resume and cover letter to the role
Before submitting your application, take a good look at the job description for the role. Then, tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight what you’ve done in your career that directly ties back to the requirements and qualifications. Here are examples of how you might align your expertise:
Example 1: If they are looking for somebody who has worked in a team-oriented environment, you can speak on cross-functional projects you’ve worked on or mention the teams you’ve helped support in your cover letter.
Example 2: If they mention certain skills that are needed for the role, highlight those skills at the top of your resume and expand on how you’ve demonstrated those skills in your cover letter.
In your cover letter, you can include a short paragraph about your most relevant experience and why you’re interested in the role. This makes it easier for recruiters to understand whether you have the experience they’re looking for.
Update your LinkedIn profile
A well-crafted LinkedIn profile can make the world of difference. Many recruiters will look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before they review their resume. Here are some tips that can help you up your LinkedIn game:
Consistency is key: Make sure the “Experience” section of your LinkedIn profile is the same or similar to your resume. Your LinkedIn should give a quick overview of what your professional experience has been like, while your resume should provide more color on your day-to-day responsibilities.
Get a five star review, for you: Reach out to a past manager, mentor or teammate to see if they would be willing to write you a recommendation for your profile. This is a great way for somebody else to vouch for your work ethic, determination or skills, and for it to be easily accessible to recruiters or hiring managers.
Build your personal brand
Building your personal brand is often a key component in getting noticed by a recruiter. This is especially useful if you’re looking to make a career change or your work experience doesn’t necessarily reflect your career goals. One of the main ways people build their brand is by attending networking events or scheduling meetings with leaders in the industry you’re interested in. Now that we are living in a more remote world, here are some ways you can build your personal brand at home:
Connect with the right people on LinkedIn
Connect yourself with leaders in the industry, and make sure to write a personalized note with your connection request. If you get the opportunity to connect with them over Zoom or on the phone, ask them questions about how they got started and if they have any advice for someone who’s looking to make a career transition.
The more you build your network, the higher the chances that you’ll hear about opportunities that you’re interested in (and you’ll have more connections to help you get there!)
Tailor your LinkedIn profile to who you are and who you want to be
It’s important for your LinkedIn profile to be an accurate representation of your professional experience. It’s also just as important to highlight what you’re looking for and where you aspire to be professionally.
Gain relevant experiences and shout them out
On LinkedIn, on your resume and in your cover letter, be sure to highlight any experience that’s relevant to the role you want, especially if you’re making a career change. Our Greenhouse CEO Daniel Chait was recently featured in Business Insider and provided some example questions for someone in the food industry looking to switch to tech – Do you have a GitHub profile? Have you gone to a local technical meetup? These are things that can put you one step ahead of other candidates, even if you don’t have the specific job experience.
Keep in the know and do your research
Research the industry you want to be in and arm yourself with knowledge you can add to your resume and cover letter. Bonus points for reviewing the company’s blog.
Be consistent, but take care of yourself
Looking for a new job is no easy task. Some days you may feel more discouraged, and it can often seem like new opportunities are sparse. However, try to keep these things in mind:
Choose one or two days out of the week to research job opportunities
If you check job boards every day, you probably won’t find any new jobs to apply to. But if you check once or twice a week, you’ll see newly posted jobs and be able to apply while the number of applicants is still low.
Don’t apply to 100 jobs you kind of like, spend time applying to 5–10 that you really love
Research that dream opportunity at the right company. Once you’ve found it, give it your all and customize your resume and connect with the right people.
Although you’ll be sending fewer applications, by dedicating the time and effort to the right roles, you’re increasing your chances of hearing back from every company you apply to.
All of these strategies make it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to see your profile and become interested in who you are and what you want to accomplish. With the right strategies in mind and a clear understanding of what you want, you’ll be able to put yourself in a better position to land your dream opportunity.
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