Standing out from other applicants is the hardest part of a job search. Only 30% of job seekers may be looking for jobs. However, as much as 87% of the remaining 70% are passively looking, which means they still occasionally apply for appealing jobs despite already having a job.
With hundreds of applications submitted for suitable job openings, it’s critical to do everything to make sure the recruiter notices you. So here are a few helpful tips that can help any job seeker stand out from other candidates during the job application process.
1 Make Sure Your Job Application Is the Best It Can Be
Some job seekers think a job application doesn’t matter much; they expect to impress the recruiter or hiring manager in person. But with only one-fifth of the applicants getting to the interview stages of the hiring process, it’s essential to take care of one’s resume and cover letter first. Without them, there won’t be an interview.
1.1 Work on Your Resume
Your resume is a summary of everything you’ve achieved so far career-wise. It’s the most important part of a job application and the number one thing recruiters use to judge candidates’ potential. The best approach to ensure that yours is great is hiring a pro resume writing service for help. But you can also write a decent resume as long as you’re willing to do the work.
Try to focus on specifying your achievements and providing actual examples of how you added value in your previous roles. This will help your resume stand out and demonstrate your potential to the recruiter. Add certifications to demonstrate that you have a certain level of knowledge and expertise in a particular field, which can be attractive to employers. For example, if you’re applying for a job in finance, having a certification like the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field. So make sure to invest time in preparation and continue reading this if you’re looking for a SIE study guide, to increase your chances of passing the SIE exam and boost your resume with a valuable certification.
As ischemgeek from Reddit points out, the most helpful resume advice that most recruiters and experienced job seekers give is to make one’s achievements quantifiable. Don’t just claim that you “improved the team’s performance.” Instead, write that you “improved the team’s performance by 37% in 8 months.” Recruiters appreciate relevant numerical data on resumes.
Take Care of ATS Optimization
Recruiters see only one-third to one-fourth of all job applications submitted. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) filter out the rest. This means most applicants have zero chance of hearing back about their resumes. To ensure you aren’t one of them, include enough relevant keywords in your resume and cover letter.
Don’t Forget About Soft Skills
Job seekers often neglect to include soft skills in the skills section of their resumes, which is a huge mistake. Soft skills can make or break a job application; sometimes, they’re more important in the potential employer’s eyes than the candidate’s hard skills. Recruiter surveys show teamwork, communication, and time management are the top three.
1.2 Include a Cover Letter or a Pain Letter
A cover letter is necessary for any job application, even if the job listing doesn’t mention it. It’s a candidate’s chance to show who they are as an employee and person and reiterate their genuine interest in the company. Never neglect to include one.
But to stand out from other applicants, consider including a pain letter instead of a traditional cover letter. It’s a description of what, in your view, is a problem area in the company or position you’re applying for and ideas on how it can be improved. A pain letter is a chance to show one’s expertise and problem-solving skills.
2 Spend Enough Time Getting Ready for the Interview
If you’ve landed an interview, congratulations! But remember that an interview invite doesn’t mean you’re getting the job, so don’t rejoice before there’s a reason to. Whether you have an offline or online job interview, thorough preparation is key to a successful job search.
2.1 Do Your Homework
Research the company and the position you’re applying for thoroughly. Few things annoy recruiters more than a candidate who knows nothing about the potential employer and struggles to answer why they’re interested in the job. So practice your answers to common interview questions and develop a few intelligent questions.
2.2 Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being
Interview preparation matters, but so does your emotional stability. To avoid becoming nervous, take care of your mental health on the eve of and during the interview. Do something physically tiring, meditate, and get a good night’s sleep. Also, master breathing techniques (for example, box breathing) to keep your nerves under control during the interview.
3 Don’t Let the Recruiter or Hiring Manager Ghost You
Finally, don’t let the interviewer forget about you once you leave the room. Even if you don’t get the job, the recruiter’s feedback can be constructive. Unfortunately, only about 40% of interviewees get it. So it’s a good idea to follow up with the recruiter if you haven’t heard from them in the specified time. An email or even a call is perfectly appropriate.
To stand out from other job applicants is no mean feat, but it’s not impossible. You only need to handle an exceptional job application, interview preparation, and follow-up. If you do, your chances of getting hired for your dream job will grow exponentially.
And you can always count on Skillhub or resume genius for help with the job application, including your resume, cover letter (or pain letter), and LinkedIn profile. Hit us up!
1. Does the resume or interview matter more?
They’re equally important. Look at your resume as a ticket and the interview as the actual ride. None makes sense without the other. So put in effort in both.
2. Is it necessary to customize every job application?
It is! When a job seeker is applying for dozens of jobs simultaneously, it’s tempting to send the same resume and cover letter everywhere. But that’s a losing strategy. Customize both every time; otherwise, recruiters will be way less likely to see you as a good fit.
3. Do recruiters verify the information on the candidate’s resume?
Not always, and not all of it, but they do. Inflating your skills is okay, but outright lying is a considerable risk.
- “25 Shocking Job Search Statistics You Want to Know.” Apollo Technical LLC, 5 Jan. 2023
- Castrillon, Caroline. “How to Stand Out to Employers during Your Job Search.” Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022
- ischemgeek. “For resumes – the advice I’ve always seen is to make your own contributions obvious and quantifiable….” Reddit, 31 Oct. 2022
- Richardson, Megan. “9 Ways to Calm Your Job Interview Nerves.” Indeed, 17 Feb. 2023
- Sofiah, Arina. “10 Essential Soft and Hard Skills Most Valued by Recruiters.” Human Resources Online, 4 Oct. 2021