The job search is not what it used to be. With companies increasing their use of technology to help them manage the search, getting noticed can be difficult. Add to that the sheer volume of candidates applying through quick apply methods via multiple job search sites, the competition can feel fierce. The reality is that while there are large numbers of candidates applying for jobs, not all of the candidates are quality candidates.
In an ever-changing and ever-competitive job market, how can you stand out as a quality candidate?
Think of the job search as a game of strategy.
Just like you would play a board game, approach the job search with a strategic mindset. In this game of strategy, the goal is to ensure that the employer sees your resume and sees your value as a potential team member.
BEAT THE BOTS – STAND OUT
Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort resumes and rank candidates. The first step is to make sure that your resume is ATS-friendly. Use simple formats with plain text to ensure that the information translates accurately into the system. Avoid using columns or tables as the software will be unable to read the text accurately.
Check this resource out for more tips on ensuring that your resume gets through the applicant tracking systems
Use the right keywords
With the rise of applicant tracking systems, increasing your chances of the hiring manager seeing your resume is important. ATS will scan your application materials to check for keywords identified by the employer. This will then inform whether your resume moves onto the next round. You should include keywords on both your resume and cover letter to increase your chances of getting picked up by the ATS.
- Match keywords to the job description
For help on identifying keywords from the job description to include on your materials, use helpful resources such as word cloud generators such as Wordclouds.com or Wordle.net. Simply copy and paste the job description to the site to see which words are referenced most frequently. You can then incorporate those keywords in your resume and your cover letter.
- Use industry-competitive keywords
Recruiters and hiring managers will specifically search for keywords such as skills or technologies to find top candidates. Carmen.co has a tool where you can type in a job title to see the top skills listed for those roles – a great way to strategize your materials. You can also upload your resume to get a score of how your resume ranks for your target roles, as well as identify any skills gaps.
Try adding these keywords to your materials as well as your LinkedIn profile to get noticed through both ATS and online searches.
FOLLOW UP THROUGH NETWORKING – REACH OUT
The modern job search can feel a bit impersonal. Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself to hiring managers. The trick is to find the right person and the right email to contact.
Use a LinkedIn company search to find professionals who work at the company you are interested in. By searching within the employee list and browsing job titles, you can make an educated guess on who the hiring manager may be. From there, reaching out with a friendly introductory LinkedIn message will put your name on their radar – a valuable strategy in standing out.
“More and more, we are seeing employers that appreciate candidates who take the time to reach out and introduce themselves. Some employers have even cited this as a reason to move forward with a candidate. Of course, candidates should be mindful of their tone and how they approach the hiring manager. Candidates should avoid messaging related to following up on the status of the application, and instead focus their messaging on how interested they are in the role, and that they wanted to reach out and introduce themselves personally.” – Deanna Parkton, career coach
Mailscoop.io is a tool to find people’s email addresses in a few seconds. Just plug in the person’s name and a link to their company’s website. This way, you can reach out more directly rather than relying on LinkedIn.
The ball is in your court
As a job seeker, It is easy to feel powerless against the job search process. By adopting a strategic mindset, you can take back your power by taking steps to stand out.
For more ideas on ways to build your visibility in the job market, consider working with a career coach. A coach can help you identify action steps to put yourself out there. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.