In general, a job opening attracts between 200 and 300 applications. At most, six of these candidates will be selected for an interview, and eventually, only one person will be hired.
Clearly, when you’re looking for a job, the competition can be steep. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your application stand out from the crowd.
Polish your résumé. Your résumé should be up to date and well-organized. A recruiter or hiring manager — as well as an ATS system — should be able to scan it for relevant skills, experience, and education. You should also include your achievements in each previous position, preferably in a quantifiable manner. For example if you’re a developer, you could state something like, “Developed a new customer interface that streamlined the customer experience, saved three minutes per transaction, and generated $20,000 in sales in the first quarter.”
Customize your cover letter. While it’s perfectly fine to have a general cover letter to use as a foundation, you need to tailor it to each specific job application. Make sure you address the most important points mentioned in the job posting by using the same keywords, and include your most relevant and impressive accomplishment in the body of the letter.
Get more certifications. According to the Monster article “Best certifications for boosting your salary,” you can earn at least 25 percent more if you earn a certification. Research which certifications are most sought-after in your field, and invest some time and money in earning at least one.
Leverage your personal website or blog. In her Forbes article “Why Every Job Seeker Should Have a Personal Website, And What It Should Include,” Jacquelyn Smith reports that more than 50 percent of hiring managers are more impressed by candidate’s websites than by other personal branding tools. Yet less than 10 percent of job seekers actually have a personal website. There are many no or low-cost platforms that allow you to quickly create a website — Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and others — where you can post a bio, showcase your accomplishments, and even write your own blog.
Follow up. Jane Eldrich reports in her Glassdoor article titled “These 5 Email Mistakes Can Kill Your Career” that you can make yourself more memorable by following up within 14 days after submitting your application. Keep your communication short and polite — simply ask whether your application was received in good order and state that you’d be happy to discuss it further with the hiring manager.
For an employer, finding the right candidate for a job is absolutely critical. So when preparing your application, think about all the things you can do to make a good impact before meeting with the hiring manager face to face. When you consistently do them, you can enhance your chances of getting an interview for a job you really want.