Let’s face it, resumes and cover letters are boring (yes, even yours). Potential employers have hundreds of job applications to filter through, and one might ask “how can I make sure mine is one that ends up in the yes pile?”
There’s nothing quite like a little personality to attract the attention of a hiring manager. We’re not talking about crazy resume designs and mentioning your Saturday night hobbies in your cover letter. What we are referring to, is identifying what makes you stand out among other really qualified candidates. And while you might not think your online French class is relevant for that junior account executive role, a hiring manager might think differently – and your willingness to broaden your skills could be your ticket to an interview. So, here are three tips to get your job application noticed!
Focus on your accomplishments
When choosing who will move on through the interview process, employers favour applicants who focus on their professional accomplishments. So, instead of focusing on your title, roles or responsibilities at a company, try highlighting concrete things you have achieved – including project-based work you have done in the past, or are currently doing.
Did you help launch a product or service? Maybe you continued learning after traditional schooling. Hiring managers ultimately want to understand how you’ll fit into their team, including what you’ll bring to the organization – maybe it’s your skills, depth, independence or creativity.
Customize your resume and cover letter to the job
Generic resumes and cover letters just don’t cut it. If you want to stand out when applying for a job, show the person reading your resume that you went the extra mile even while looking for work.
Make sure to address key requirements in the job description, and highlight your training and any experience that directly applies to the job’s responsibilities. And to tackle those pesky applicant tracking systems, otherwise known as “resume robots”, try including keywords in your resume that corresponds to the job as well. And remember to be specific when describing how your experience has brought value to past employers and what you’ll bring to this role and organization.
Develop an online presence
Often job seekers are so focused on writing a great resume and cover letter, that they aren’t prepared for recruiters checking their LinkedIn profile in the background. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date by adding new achievements, courses, skill enhancements and volunteer efforts.
Your LinkedIn profile should be able to provide hiring managers with extra information they need to sway the balance between you and another qualified candidate.
It’s amazing just how much small details matter when applying for jobs. Many may think customizing their resume doesn’t matter when there’s a high chance it’ll end up in the “no” pile anyway. But it’s the resumes that are concise, personalized and transparent about why they want a job and what exactly makes them qualified that are the most memorable to hiring managers.