4 HR-Approved Tips to Make Your Job Application Stand Out From the Crowd
You and your résumé deserve to get noticed.
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Who doesn't want their job application to stand out from the crowd? If you're currently looking for a job, you don't just want to get noticed, you want to get the interview (and the job). Which is why you want to get the hiring manager's attention right from the start. This means you shouldn't keep recycling that same old résumé and cover letter at every job you apply for. Now is the time to revamp your job applications and show them what you have to offer.
But if you're uncertain on whether or not now is the right time to apply for a job, consider this: The net for job opportunities has become a whole lot wider due to new remote working arrangments because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"As remote working is becoming our new normal, companies are recognizing that their talent pool is even wider than they thought," Netta Dobbins, CEO of Mimconnect, a digital community and diversity consultancy helping professionals of color navigate their careers, tells HelloGiggles. "With more opportunities to work outside of your physical location, remote roles are becoming more available. Now is the time to start looking for more roles outside of your comfort zone."
Before you hit send on your application, though, here's how to make yourself stand out in a job application.
How to make an job application stand out:
1. List the most relevant experience pertaining to the job first.
Let's be honest: Millennials and Gen-Zers do a lot. You may work at a corporate job from nine to five, but afterwards, you're probably working on a side hustle like freelance writing or developing video editing skills on TikTok. This is why Dobbins tells clients that having one résumé doesn't cut it.
"It's okay to have multiple versions of your résumé, especially if you have a variety of different skills," she says. "With each résumé you submit, you have to remember that a recruiter is likely going to spend 30 seconds or less on it. So, you want to make sure that your experience relevant to the role you're applying for comes first."
For example, let's say your full-time job is an analyst at a financial firm, but in your free time, you've learned how to become a web designer and built out a variety of different websites for freelance customers. If you're looking to transition to a web design position, Dobbins recommends leading with your web design experience and highlighting those projects so that it captures the recruiter's eye. "Then, you can go on to talk about spending three years at a firm. This shows longevity, commitment, and versatility," she says.
2. Get a warm intro or referral.
"Referrals are a huge part of getting your foot in the door at most companies," says Dobbins. "Oftentimes, they even place direct referral applications in a special section to guarantee that recruiters take a look at them."
This doesn't mean you'll automatically get the job; however, it can help you land a more secure chance of getting your résumé in front of the right person.
Dobbins recommends using your persona, network, communities, and LinkedIn "to build genuine relationships with people working at companies you admire and ask if they'd refer you for a certain position."
3. Find the hiring manager or recruiter on LinkedIn.
Want to really connect with the hiring manager? Then literally connect with them.
"The truth is, recruiters are often inundated with applications and can't possibly get through them all, especially if it's a more popular company or entry to a mid-level role," says Dobbins. "Nothing sets you apart more than sending a thoughtful note to the right person responsible for whether you're in or out."
If you're wondering how to do this, Dobbins says, "Take a look at the company's profile on LinkedIn, or take a look at their website to see if they have an organization chart, and try to find the person you'd be reporting to or the recruiter recruiting for that position."
Dobbins recommends this super short template within your LinkedIn connection request:
"Recruiters are looking to hire people quickly," she adds. "So, if you can capture their attention, they'll likely be sure to take a closer look at your résumé."
4. Be clear on what you're qualified for and what you're not.
"The biggest mistake I've seen people make is applying for positions that are way above their current qualifications, or roles that they're overqualified for," says Dobbins.
While the pandemic has made some job seekers a little frantic (rightfully so), in order for applicants to really save time and get closer to getting that final offer letter, Dobbins says, "it's important that you don't spray and pray."
"Take the time to really align on what your skill sets are, what you've been able to accomplish, and where you want the next level of your career to go," she says. "When you truly understand what you bring to the table and which of your efforts you can showcase with past work experience, finding the right role will be a little easier."