We have all done it; hit the submit button on a large company’s job board or sent your cover letter to a promising Craigslist job posting. You thought you were perfect for this position, and your credentials top notch.
Except you don’t get the job.
Self-doubt ensues. It can be disheartening to apply for job after job only to receive the token rejection letter, or even worse, nothing at all. We’ve all experienced the disappointment of never receiving a response from a company after spending hours tailoring the perfect cover letter and fine tuning the resume for one very specific position.
However, it might not have anything to do with your particular credentials, but rather your job hunting technique. Casually flinging your resume into the abyss of thousands of competitive credentials doesn’t work for the majority of job seekers, especially when you are one among thousands of applicants in a down economy.
Here are 6 tips to help you stand out from the applicant pool and snag the job.
My Six Helpful Tips When Applying For Jobs:
1) Know the Market – Unemployment is a global problem. Knowing how unemployment is affecting not only your industry, but the world as a whole, will help you target your efforts. Large businesses not hiring? Maybe offer to work for free at a small business to get your foot in the door. Knowing what people are talking about can help you concentrate on the strategies that will land you a job, rather than wasting your time trying a method that everyone else is using and isn’t working.
To put this into perspective and give an example, the British government recently released data about unemployment in the UK. Simply Business took that data and created this unemployment infographic that shows an intended increase of hiring among small businesses in the UK and how that affects the country’s unemployment rate. With this data in hand, you could target small businesses for a job, even being so bold as to quote this data during an interview and potentially impress the employer enough to hire you. News and industry data are invaluable and often underutilized in the job hunting phase, so get a leg up on your competition and start reading.
2) Specialize – There is value in being very specific in where you apply. While it might seem a lot easier to turn to job boards and Craigslist, there is benefit in finding small businesses that choose specifically not to post their openings in these arenas because they are trying to avoid what is essentially resume spam. Find some local companies you would enjoy working for and reach out to them directly.
3) Use Your Connections – Talk to people you know: family, friends, acquaintances, your barber, dentist and barista. Be forthcoming about what you are looking for. It is perfectly reasonable at your cousin’s 2nd birthday party to talk to your aunts and uncles about what you are looking for in a career. You don’t even have to ask them directly for a job, just casually discuss the topic, and it should naturally transition itself.
4) Get Social – Fortunately, this advice is becoming more commonplace, but in case you didn’t know, having a variety of social media accounts is an invaluable tool in the job hunt. A lot of companies carefully monitor their LinkedIn and twitter accounts, sometimes moreso than their generic email accounts that are often a cesspool of applicant resumes.
And if you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, create one this very moment and start reaching out to companies that way. Make sure to always include a link to your profile in your email to companies, too. The likelihood that someone will look at that is immensely higher than the odds that someone will ever open an attached resume.
5) Study a Foreign Language – One of the most sought after traits in job candidates is the ability to speak a foreign language. In this global marketplace, the value of someone able to at the very least communicate in a second language skyrockets daily. To visualize this, Pimsleur Approach created a language learning infographic showing what second languages are most popular by state.
Notice how widespread 2nd languages are in the US. Learning another language not only offers a competitive advantage, but it also shows the ability to learn new things and an appreciation for cultural diversity, clearly important in the modern workplace.
6) Stay Motivated – This one might be the most difficult, as searching for jobs can quickly become disheartening. But understand the longer you keep aggressively applying, the sooner you will land that new position. Remember, the moment you stop applying, your chance of finding a job virtually drops to zero.
Adria Saracino is the face behind The Emerald Closet fashion blog and the Head of Outreach at Distilled, a creative internet marketing agency. Her goal is to connect awesome people with interesting brands, so stay in touch @adriasaracino.