If You Want Your Application to Stand Out, You Absolutely Need to Do These 5 Things

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Steve Adcock for Wealth of Geeks
Steve Adcock for Wealth of Geeks
May 30, 2024 at 4:22PM UTC
Do you keep getting passed over when applying for a new job? There are many reasons why this can happen.
First, most corporate job openings get a lot of resumes. According to Glassdoor, each job opening sees about 250 applicants. Of those, employers call five or six candidates in for an interview.
Second, consider the length of time hiring managers take to look through each resume for an open job. On average, it only takes six to seven seconds for the employer to decide whether or not to call the person in for an interview. The more applications an employer receives for a position, the less time they take to look through each resume.
Most hiring managers don’t read resumes; they scan.
As a result, resumes that are easy to read stand out. Most hiring managers focus on job titles, dates, and relevant work experience. Make these elements easy to read, and you instantly increase your chances of getting a call for an interview.

How to get noticed

Throughout my 14-year career hiring staff for companies, the best candidates always did a few things right. They never left getting a new job to chance. Instead, they proactively put themselves into a position where it was almost impossible to throw their job application away.
Here are five ways to get noticed when applying for a job.

1. Write a customized cover letter.

One of the biggest mistakes I noticed when reviewing resumes was a standard, boilerplate cover letter. I knew most candidates sent the same cover letter to each job opening, which instantly turned me off. It meant the candidate could not be bothered to spend a little extra time writing a custom cover letter for this opportunity.
Write a custom cover letter for each job opening. Use the company name inside the letter. Mention the exact job position for which you are applying. And, include why you are applying for that position, and mention how your experience makes you the best candidate.

2. Tailor your resume to the position.

Like your cover letter, you should tailor your resume to the job.
Highlight specific skills mentioned in the job description. Use key terminology in your resume that is important to the employer. For instance, if expertise with Microsoft Office is critical for the job, move Microsoft Office up in your list of qualifications. Prioritize your skills based on the job. The hiring manager will notice.
The best resumes are built specifically for the job requirements. They include only what the employer needs to know to properly vet you for the position. Nothing more and nothing less.

3. Use your network.

Instead of applying for a job “cold,” reach out to your network. In some instances, you might be able to skip the application process altogether if someone in your network vouches for you. More than half of the jobs throughout my career came directly from my network.
And frankly, this is why we have a network. Use it. Ask around for job opportunities. Find businesses that need help. Your chances of getting a job are greatly improved if you already know someone who works there or receive a personal referral from a respected colleague.

4. Don’t be afraid to follow up.

It’s acceptable to follow up with an employer if you haven’t heard anything within a few weeks after submitting a resume. However, give the employer enough time to go through resumes and don’t pester them. Many organizations receive hundreds of resumes for every job opportunity and depending on the organization’s size, it could take several weeks to go through all the job applicants.
Follow up once, but stay professional. If the employer does not reply to you after following up once, move on to other opportunities. Repeated follow-ups are a one-way street to annoying the employer.
As a hiring manager, I remember several times when I would go back through a stack of resumes and relook at a candidate after getting a professionally-written follow-up email. In a couple of instances, I called them in for an interview. This works, but the key is to stay professional. Don’t be pushy.

5. Scrub your social media

It’s true, many employers will do Google searches for their final few candidates before scheduling interviews. Pay attention to what you post online to ensure it won’t disqualify you from job opportunities. This happens more often than you may think.
For instance, don’t post on social media about hating your job or your boss. Political discussions are also dicey, so steer clear as much as possible.
This is especially true on social media platforms that include your name, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Remember that the things you post online reflect on you. Ensure your social media activity isn’t secretly keeping you from advancing your career.
In conclusion, standing out is essential when applying for a job opportunity. Most companies get hundreds of applications for each opening. Use these techniques to set yourself apart from everyone else and increase your chances of getting the job.
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This article originally appeared in Wealth of Geeks.

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