5 Ways to Stand Out in Your Cleared Job Search

Posted by Rob Riggins

stand outBe a more thoughtful job seeker. It increases your odds of getting the job you want.

Recruiters are usually your first line of contact for most positions, and they often have a crushing workload. We’ve all heard stories – and there are actually studies confirming this – that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing a resume. Hiring managers are often in much the same position, trying to juggle their daily tasks as well as working to fill open positions.

What does that mean to cleared job seekers? Pay attention to the job description. Follow the direction the company is giving you. Take some common sense steps to make the recruiter’s and hiring manager’s jobs a bit easier. You’ll be both appreciated and ahead of your competition if you do so.

First, be thoughtful and clear in your communications. Simple things such as naming your resume with your name, the job title, and the requisition number if it’s available. That’s much more effective than titling your resume MyResumeVersion2. Use the company’s job title, not your version of what the position is. When you leave a message for a recruiter, include your full name and your phone number, speaking slowly and clearly. If you email your resume, include the job title and requisition number in the Subject Line of the email. Simple, thoughtful efforts such as this make the recruiter’s and hiring manager’s jobs easier. And it makes them more likely to pay attention to your application.

Follow the instructions on the job posting. It’s really one of the first tests of you as a potential employee. Can you follow direction? If the posting asks for a cover letter, then you definitely want to include one and write a really good cover letter. What’s a good cover letter? Address specifically how you meet the qualifications requested in the job posting. Don’t use a generic cover letter that you’ve used for many other jobs.

Do the same with your resume. Be sure that your resume is written to address the position you are applying for. Use the company’s terminology and keywords. Review your resume and in your accomplishment statements for each past position you’ve detailed revise those accomplishment statements to be more pertinent to this position. Too many job seekers still view their resume as their biography. What you did more than 10 years ago rarely matters. Particularly when it comes to technology positions.

Highlight pertinent skills from the job description at the beginning of your resume. Detail any certifications and experience with relevant technology that the company is requiring and include the number of years’ experience you have. Only include items you really have experience with. The 6 weeks you played with Hadoop isn’t something you want to feature on your resume.

Lastly you’ve heard it before, but a thank you email after an interview can make a difference. We know several contractors that used a thank you note as the tie breaker between two otherwise equally qualified individuals. The number of job seekers that do follow up after an interview is shockingly small. The estimates we hear from recruiters and hiring managers is that it ranges from 10-25 percent. That should be a red light to you as a job seeker that this is a way that you can stand out from your competition. Not interested in the position? Communicate that in the thank you, while also keeping the option open to future opportunities. Or better yet, refer someone who you think is more aptly suited to the position and pay it forward:

“We found a qualified candidate on ClearedJobs.Net who couldn’t accept our offer. He referred a qualified friend who could accept our offer.”
– Walter McKnight, Shim Enterprises

Much of a job seeker’s experience is defined by how in-demand their skills are. The more in demand you are, the more non-conformist you can be because….you’re in demand. But if you’re struggling to get any traction in your job search, put yourself in the shoes of the individuals you’re talking to at target employers and work to make their hiring of you easier.

Recruiters can be tremendous advocates for job seekers and a source of invaluable information before sending you into an interview with a hiring manager. Don’t think of a recruiter as your roadblock to getting in to a company. They are your partner if you meet the proper qualifications for the position, and you are a cultural fit for the organization.

Do what the job description asks of you. When you interact with recruiters and hiring managers, follow their direction and advice. Being a thoughtful job seeker who knows how to follow the rules speaks volumes to the decision makers in the hiring process. And it may make the difference in your next career search.


This entry was posted on Monday, August 15, 2016 7:57 am

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