Schedule a FREE Career Strategy Call with me!FREE CAREER STRATEGY CALL


4 Ways to STAND OUT as a Job Applicant

Get noticed by employers with these tips...

by Janna Kefalas in Job Search, LinkedIn, Resumes
4 Ways to Stand Out as a Job Applicant

As a job seeker, you may feel like you’re lost in a sea of applicants, bobbing along but not getting anyone’s attention.

But you wouldn’t be the only one feeling this way! With companies getting dozens (if not hundreds) of applications per opening — and recruiters only spending 10-20 seconds scanning your resume, standing out from the crowd can feel like an impossible feat.

But in working with job seeking clients across multiple industries, I’ve seen that there are some concrete ways to increase your chances of getting noticed and landing more interviews. Here are 4 tips:

Stand Out Tip #1 – Focus on Hard Skills & Accomplishments

When a hiring manager puts together a job description for an opening, they’re outlining the skills and responsibilities that are most essential to the role. They’re basically giving you the roadmap to what’s most important to them in a candidate.

For example, they might be looking for a social media manager who will be putting together various campaigns to increase engagement across their social media platforms.

Therefore, they’re definitely seeking candidates who not only possess these skills, but who showcase (on their resume) clear examples of creating successful social media campaigns in the past.

They want specifics. They want proof!

But I often see job seekers putting too much emphasis on soft skills — being organized, a team player, a self-starter, etc. — as opposed to the hard skills and technologies that are required in the job description.

Also, just listing your job duties isn’t as powerful as showcasing your accomplishments.

So it’s critical to call out your hard and technical skills within a skills summary at the top of your resume. And then make sure your bullet points are written in the form of an accomplishment statement (action-result), incorporating any relevant metrics.

Stand Out Tip #2 – Create Consistency in Your Personal Branding

Ahhh the “personal branding” term. (It’s hard for me not to conjure up a hot cattle branding iron.) But in all seriousness, personal branding as a job applicant is crucial in setting yourself apart from the competition.

Employers want to be able to quickly discern what types of problems you solve, how you solve them, and for whom.

That means that you should create consistency across your resumes, LinkedIn profile and even other social media platforms (at least while you’re job searching).

Here are some tips for ensuring a consistent personal brand:

Make sure your LinkedIn profile mirrors your resume. That means including bullet points of accomplishments under your work history (not just job titles and companies) as well as relevant hard and technical skills throughout the different sections of your profile.

Have a professional looking LinkedIn profile photo that’s framed from the shoulders up. Employers should picture you in “work mode.” And while you’re job searching, make your profile photos for all social media platforms work-friendly as well.

Use your social media platforms as a place for posting and commenting on relevant industry-related articles — or write your own! This will brand you as subject matter expert.

Stand Out Tip #3 – Go For Quality over Quantity

Applying for jobs online isn’t a numbers game, it’s a specificity game. So instead of cranking out as many applications as possible, get picky and only apply for roles where you realistically have at least 80% of the job requirements.

And then take the time to tailor each resume to the job description, incorporating the relevant keywords. (As I mentioned earlier, including a skills summary at the top of your resume is an excellent place to do this.)

And cover letters aren’t dead! One sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd is to write a thoughtful cover letter. Here you can demonstrate why you’re impressed with the company and how your recent accomplishments prove that you can solve their most pressing problems.

Stand Out Tip #4 – Get Your Resume into the Right Hands

But no matter how much time you spend tinkering with your resume and cover letter in order to get it past the applicant tracking system, there’s no better way to get noticed than to get your application into the hands of actual decision makers.

So do some detective work on LinkedIn! You can often determine who would be the hiring manager for the role (aka your boss). It’s also wise to research who the in-house recruiter is (if they have one) or the HR professional in charge of hiring.

Next, send both of these people an InMail, letting them know you’re following up on your application and attaching your resume and cover letter for their convenience. If you don’t have InMails, you can use an email finder tool like to try and determine their work email.

And, better yet, if you can use your network to get introduced to someone at that company, that person might be able to hand deliver your application to the decision makers.

Regardless of your approach, going the extra mile to get your application in front of human eyeballs can be a real game changer. You just might notice a spike in interviews.

Summing it Up

As you can see, you really have more power to stand out from competition than you may think.

By implementing these four strategies, you can become that pop of color in a vast, sepia-toned background of job applicants. And before you know it, employers will be knocking down your door!