In today’s competitive job market it’s not enough to simply visit search engines like CareerBuilder and Indeed, find relevant job listings and send out your resume and cover letter. The average corporate job opening posted online now receives about 250 applications, so it’s critical to think creatively and strategically to stay ahead of your competitors and land the job.
In addition to sending resumes and cover letters, today job seekers should use social media sites, recruiters, and even consider their own website to promote their skills, experience, and unique capabilities.
1. Don’t Stop at the Online Application
It’s simply not enough to visit online job boards and apply for the position. And yet, even in 2015, this method is still what most job seekers use. Chances are slim to none that you’ll hear back from a potential employer simply by filling out an online application or by submitting your resume and cover letter.
When you find a job you’re really interested in online, connect with the prospective company before applying. “Research that company and the professionals who work there, and reach out to someone at the company before you apply for the job, letting them know you admire what they do and would love their advice,” Isa Adney, author of Community College Success told Forbes Magazine.
Chances are that the person you talk to will give you some insights into the job and help you strategize your cover letter and other application materials. This is a great way to stand out from other job seekers who are also applying via a job board.
2. Use LinkedIn to Enhance Your Resume
Having a robust LinkedIn profile is essential for job seekers in 2015. After all, this year 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting. Instead of merely posting a resume on LinkedIn, consider making your LinkedIn profile stand out. Let it be a compliment to your resume, not only reinforcing your qualifications but also showing your unique capabilities. Multimedia presentations and videos are a great way to showcase your originality. Give recommendations to others in your LinkedIn network, and many will repay the favor. The more recommendations you have on your profile, the better first impression it will have on potential employers.
3. Focus on the Future
After you’ve landed an interview, spend time talking about what you aspire to do in the future, rather than rehashing your past job experiences. Employers want to know that you are excited about your professional future and how you’ll use your experience to help their company move forward.
4. Have References Ready To Go
If you’re gathering references after your interview you’re too late. Human resources professionals and recruiters today are busier than ever. If they know they’ll have to wait to receive references from you, they may make an offer to someone else who was better prepared instead.
5. Get Creative!
Ann Pickering, HR director at O2, encourages job seekers to get creative with their resumes. “Use your application as a chance to show what you’d bring to the role – and it doesn’t need to just be words on a page,” she told Forbes Magazine. “People who bring a digital aspect to their application, whether that’s a well-crafted blog post or a snappy Vine video, will always leave a lasting impression.”
6. Send Thank You Notes
While the way job seekers apply for positions is changing rapidly, thank you notes will always be an integral part of the job search. Any time you make contact with an employer – even if it’s in the form of the dreaded rejection letter – make sure to send a thank you letter, at least electronically.
If you’ve landed an interview, spend some time crafting thank you letters to every person who took part in the interview. Send the letters individually; connecting on a personal level. Make sure to reinforce your desire for the job and your reasons why you feel you’re the most qualified candidate.
7. Go Mobile
Job opportunities come and go quickly, and with more searches happening on mobile devices, it’s time to embrace applying for jobs from your phone. Consider this: 30% of job applications are submitted within the first three days after the job has been posted. More than one million people have already used LinkedIn’s Job Search app for iPhone, and job search sites like CareerBuilder and Indeed now offer job seekers the ability to apply by phone.
8. Use Keywords & Key Phrases
According to a Workopolis study of those who apply for jobs online, only two percent of applicants are selected for a job interview. Why? Because most applications go through an applicant tracking system that filters resumes by scanning them for relevant keywords. To increase your chances of getting noticed by the hiring manager, craft resumes to include keywords from the job listing.
9. Make It Public
When you’re looking for a new job, the last thing you want to do is limit your potential. Reach out through social media sites including Facebook and Twitter, and let your friends and family members know that you’re searching. Make sure your resume is readily accessible online.
Consider your own website to create a multidimensional resume and job profile. This will help you connect with businesses and hiring professionals on a global scale.
10. Reach Out To Recruiters
Enlisting the help of a recruiter can have significant benefits. Recruiters often have access to job openings not found on large career search engines. Recruiters also make excellent job coaches, are able to help you strategize your job search, and offer helpful suggestions when it comes time to update your resume and portfolio.