If you haven’t already done so, create a LinkedIn profile right now. LinkedIn is a business and employment networking platform with immense power to help you build new connections and open doors. Its search tools can help you identify and reach out to the right people within almost any organization, and it has a built-in recruitment side that enables employers to find you. Building a complete and very professional profile is something any serious job hunter must do.
Don’t play the “computer literate” card. Here’s a reality check: if you’ve reached the stage where you owe money, you’ve already been successful in filling out an application form, which matches the skills you need to set up and optimize a LinkedIn account. If you’re more sophisticated, use it to your advantage. Employers notice these things.
If you’ve been looking for work online, then you’ve already come across listings on Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster and numerous other sites. If you have not been using Indeed’s résumé builder, you are certainly missing out.
Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster and numerous other sites are great resources for finding all kinds of jobs, from skilled trades positions to entry-level work in every sector. It’s also a good place to research job types and requirements in learning what kind of work fits your qualifications and experience. On Glassdoor, you’ll also be able to see reviews past and current employees have written about a company.
Indeed helps you build a résumé super quickly and enables you to easily apply for jobs on its platform. The downside is that your Indeed-made résumé looks identical to every other résumé employers will see—and in job hunting, blending in means you’re invisible. See this as an opportunity. Sure, use the résumé builder for its ease, but be sure to customize your new résumé in a program like Microsoft Word or use Google Docs’ Template Gallery.
STAND OUT. WAY OUT.
The average time a recruiter spends looking at each résumé is six seconds.
Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. And that’s the average, including the time spent looking at the great ones—mediocre résumés get skipped even more quickly.
So you can’t put in the bare minimum effort and expect to compete with candidates who go all-in for the job. You need to work smarter and use the tools available to you.
Making that résumé as professional as it can be is a great start. It’s what opens the very first door, and your first clear opportunity to stand out. Make your résumé strong enough, different enough and enticing enough that no employer can easily skip past it. Use spelling and grammar checkers and read it over 100 times looking for typos. (If you are not great at this, find someone who is.)
You need to work smarter and use the tools available to you.
Your Cover Letter
In order to show interest in the jobs you’re applying for, a strong, compelling cover letter is a MUST. Unless you are seeking a job in public relations or communications, dazzling the reader with fancy words is not the goal. In fact, being too wordy can ensure your letter does not get read. Better to use short, conversational sentences, in a language that reflects your personality and uniqueness. Don’t be too casual or use slang, but showcase yourself as a real person, with just the amount of professionalism the employer is looking for.
Say a little about why you want this job, and why you would be an amazing fit. Think about how the work aligns with your passions, strengths and goals. Tell your future boss how you would make a difference in the organization. If you always seek to find efficiencies to increase profits, employers love to see examples. This kind of demonstrated ability (or even the thinking behind it) is more than most applicants tend to do, and an important way you can stand out.
Before you go for a job interview or take a pre-screening call, research the company and understand as fully as you can what the job entails. Most candidates do very little research, so rise above them by showing knowledge, initiative and keen interest. Getting this far is a major victory: now throw everything in your arsenal at landing the job. Get lots of sleep the night before, arrive punctually, and show your enthusiasm for the job and employer.
There are numerous videos on YouTube about how to prepare for an interview. Don’t do what this girl did. And if you’re technology-averse or old enough to use Facebook, you can always go find a local job board or walk into businesses and get a job the old fashioned way, printing out a stack of resumes and hitting the streets as a supplement to your online activities. Mixing up your approaches helps keep things fresh, gets you out there and helps keep you from getting in a rut.
Think about how the work aligns with your passions, strengths and goals.