Job search has become more competitive than ever. With the average job posting receiving 250 applications (even more for tech positions), it is important to find ways to help your job application stand out and get noticed.
Recruiters are a critical piece of a successful job search strategy and are often the first contact you will have within an organization. As a career coach, I speak with recruiters frequently because I highly value their experience and insights and encourage my clients to reach out and develop relationships with them.
To get the conversation started, I asked four senior recruiters the question:
What is your advice to job seekers to help their job applications stand out?
Here is what they responded:
1. Use specific examples of the results you’ve achieved.
Thom Jennings, Senior Account Manager, Team Leader at 24 Seven Talent suggests, “Use examples with numbers to back them up. Saying you managed a team is great. Saying you managed a 45-person team that was responsible for $100M in revenue is much better!” Jennings goes on to say, “By quantifying your achievements, you provide context and grab the reviewer’s attention. Resumes and applications are often only skimmed for important information, and numbers stand out in a sea of text. It’s a great way to trigger the hiring manager to stop and read more.”
2. Personalize your application to each company.
“Personalize your online application as much as possible,” offers Claire Stroh Petrie, Director Technology Talent Management at Lighthouse Technology Services. “Spend an extra few minutes to use the company name where appropriate, highlight transferable skills you have that are mentioned in their posting, and express your interest specific in the role.”
Petrie goes on to say, “Recruiters get so many applications with the required fields filled out to the bare minimum. If there is a place to insert that company name customization and your personality and voice, do it! Your application will definitely look different to the recruiter when scanning through. Of course, follow all of the online application requirements and provide what is asked for, whether it be a resume or cover letter, to ensure you’re even considered.”
3. Create a strong first impression.
“Make sure your resume is reader-friendly,” recommends Thaddeus B. Dunn, Sr. Talent Advisor for Faculty Recruitment at Morehouse School of Medicine. “Ensure that your resume is professionally written, thorough, and specific to the job to which you are applying. Use keywords to showcase your main skills and qualifications. Be sure your resume aligns with the job to which you are applying. Remember, before you walk through the door of an interview, you have spoken through your resume. Remember you must tell your story through your resume, and you only get one shot.”
Dunn’s other top tip is, “Have a strong online presence. Connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn; this will allow them to see your presence on social media and professional platforms. Make sure you also have a professional picture.”
4. Make reaching out to you easy.
Lauren Lewis, Partner at StaffBuffalo LLC advises, “It may seem very simple, but make sure that the resume is clear, concise, and shows the tangible and quantifiable things that were done in your positions! Also, include your contact information at the top of the page, along with a link to your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are always going to look up each candidate on LinkedIn, so make sure that you have an updated and complete LinkedIn profile!”
This is so important because it really shows how diligent people are,” continues Lewis. “You would be surprised at how many people have incorrect contact information on their resumes. If you are applying for a job, you want to make sure that the hiring manager is able to contact you, right?”
The purpose of creating a resume and submitting an application is to secure an interview for the job you seek. Differentiating yourself from the competition by providing results-oriented content that demonstrates your value can make the difference between getting the call for the interview and not. Take the extra time to make your one shot count by ensuring your job application stands out from the competition.
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