I was going through my LinkedIn Applications folder the other day and saw all of the applications sitting there. They were all for the same job so maybe seeing the same line of words repeated 50+ times in that folder made me think of it, but as a job seeker you need to separate yourself from the herd. In true head hunting it is all about finding the perfect candidate. But as much as every recruiter would like to tell you they are a modern day detective when it comes to finding people, the truth is a majority of positions will get filled through online applications.
As a candidate you click apply and off goes your resume. Sure you are probably thinking you will be working for that company in 2 weeks, but so are hundreds of other candidates. It is on you to stand out to the hiring managers/recruiters who are doing the hiring. As one recruiter who I managed early on in my career once said; it is the pink envelope theory (place a pink envelope in a stack of white ones, and it will stand out).
Below are 5 ways I highlight how you can be that pink envelope:
1) Read the job description in full detail:
This one seems pretty basic but it is probably the most overlooked. If a job says it requires 10 years of experience and a technical degree and you are junior level, chances are you won’t be getting a call anytime too soon. If you have to talk yourself into why you can look past the requirements, I can guarantee you that you will have little to no success talking the recruiter into your candidacy.
2) Reach out to the recruiter:
Depending who you talk to this could be a no-no. But they aren’t writing this article, I am. And I can tell you this much; the candidates who message me directly about their resume will always get a longer or second look at their resume versus the candidates who don’t. We live in a very well connected world.
You do not have to be a super spy to find the contact information of the person you are looking for. A quick search on Google, LinkedIn or Data.com will get you what you are looking for. With hundreds of resume’s it is easy to skip past one that is worth a second look. Reaching out directly to the person will get you that look. **Disclaimer** this does not guarantee an interview. Even after a second look, if you are not qualified I can do nothing for you.
3) Show off your work:
Remember in 10th grade algebra when the teacher wouldn’t accept your final paper unless you show off your work? Well that doesn’t apply to just getting your high school degree. Let’s say I am hiring you to be my marketing manager or web developer. These positions have tangible results attached to them. In the case of the marketing manager it is to develop new marketing material for the company. For the web developer it is to give off a better web presence. In that case show your work to the prospective employer. Maybe send them a link to the website you created, or mail them some marketing material you made.
As the saying goes, put your money where your mouth is. If you truly are as great at your job as you tell me than show me. I will be that much more inclined to speak to someone who has what I am looking for. For example when I was interviewing for my current job I showed my prospective employer all of the blogging I had been doing as it pertains to recruiting. I wanted them to know I just don’t recruit from 9-5, but it is something I am passionate about.
4) Do your research:
Once your resume is selected for a phone or onsite interview the selection process doesn’t stop there. You may have made it past the hundreds of other applicants, but there is still competition for the position. If all things are considered equal, as a recruiter, I am always impressed with candidates who genuinely know information on my company. For example, this is no secret, but my company is planning on expanding into Korea. At the time this news was not all that public and I was interviewing a candidate who knew that and shared the information with me.
It impressed me because it meant the candidate actually did their homework and really researched out company. They didn’t just come in regurgitating our “About Us” page on our website. It showed me the candidate was genuinely interested in being hired with my company and not just looking for another job.
5) Have an interest in what the company does:
I understand bills need to be paid and if you are out of work you will take any job that comes along. Please also understand that for most positions that doesn’t cut it. A company is not there to just help you get by. They are hiring you because you possess skills that will help them further their business. Which in turn will help you advance your career, a win for all. So when a recruiter or hiring manager asks you for your motivation to take the job, “more money” or “I need a job” does not cut it. The company wants to hire someone who has a genuine interest in their chosen career path and also the company who is hiring. For me taking the position I have now intrigued me because it was a global organization which would give me the exposure I had always been looking for. It was because I had a genuine interest in their business that I was positioned as a better candidate to propel their organization forward because I was engaged beyond just “paying the bills”. They weren’t looking for someone to just take up space.
Take a little extra effort in your career path and you will be on the road to success. Unless you specialize in a field that .00001% of the general population knows about, there is going to be competition out there for the same job. And while you think your skills are exactly what the company is looking for, there are hundreds of other people who feel the same way.