There can be no doubt that the online job search is a competitive space.
You could send out a dozen resumes, only to be lost amongst a sea of hundreds of other candidates. Without the benefit of a face to face meeting, it’s a challenge to establish a lasting first impression.
But this doesn’t mean you should give up now.
In the new age, there are advantages to the online job search movement and plenty of opportunities to make your digital application stand out from the crowd.
1. Layout for ‘Scannability’
In the fast-moving world of recruitment, you have less than 6 seconds to impress a hiring manager before your resume is placed in the rejection pile.
The perfect resume should be easy to read, with concise headings and bullet points for scanning.
Within seconds, a recruiter should be able to judge your professional experience, character and work practices. All without ever meeting you in person.
This means that your resume will need to include only the most important information. Save the in-depth explanations for your interview!
2. Personalised Cover Letter
The perfect cover letter should not only be specific to the business you apply to but you, as a professional and potential next hire.
Try not to open with the common ‘I am interested in applying for the position of’ because your first few sentences are the most important.
Your opening is what will entice a hiring manager to read on.
Establish from the get-go a clear tone of voice and direction. Branch out from the normal to create a dialogue that sells your specific knowledge and expertise to that business.
3. Back it Up With Facts
Briefly, explain your core skill set and how many years you were with an employer to qualify your experience.
But what about measuring your impact?
Hiring managers are looking for real value, which a case study format will deliver.
Don’t outline that you transformed the customer experience, explain that you were directly responsible for over 20% growth in customer acquisition. Numerical figures are easy to pick up while scanning a page.
It can also be useful to include a testimonial from a stakeholder to backup your claims. Ensure that you take responsibility for your achievements, whether it’s a project milestone, award-winning portfolio or adult learning certification.
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4. Social Media Presence
Creating a catalogue of your best work can be helpful, depending on your chosen industry.
This could include anything from a professional social media account to a freelance blog. Most hiring managers will take to Google to search your digital footprint.
This way, you provide a great starting point and keep in control of the content.
In media and communications industries, candidates are often required to be familiar with digital platforms and online content. Just be careful to review all of your social media pages and presence before you hit send on your application.
5. Work Out Your Keywords
A keyword search is an invaluable tool for hiring managers, who are able to sift through a database of applicants to find a suitable candidate.
Resume keywords eliminate those professionals whose experience is irrelevant or not specific enough to what the business is looking for.
It is incredibly important that you use the correct industry language in your application. Respond directly to the language of the job listing to ensure that your application won’t be missed.
Include specific skills, credentials, software experience and position titles for the best chance possible.
If you know a business is looking for a professional with human resources experience or who has studied at a particular institute, write ‘Diploma of Human Resources’ and the place of education, not just a ‘Diploma of HR.’
6. Use Positive Language
Be upbeat and positive in your application.
The good vibes that your resume will project affect the perception of the hiring manager and could just push you over the line. If you don’t believe you deserve the job, why should they?
You can’t train attitude.
Businesses need confident professionals who are excited about that particular job, within that particular company. If you read like every other application, you’ll get drowned out by the crowd.
7. Proofread Your Application
Preferably, before you hit send!
Computer systems are not forgiving and one small error could spell disaster at a much larger scale. Always take the time to proofread each section of your application before you send the document across.
Although it may be a small, uncommon mistake on your part, recruiters see it far too often and will immediately view your resume as careless and unprofessional.
Online Job Search: Summary
So there you have it – 7 ways to stand out in the online job search.
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning. She is passionate about adult learning, further education and encouraging professionals to learn project management online.