Applying for jobs and failing to get interviews again and again can be a disheartening process; you don’t need us to tell you that. But take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in your predicament, because research shows that 98% of applicants fail to get past initial resume screenings. This shows that getting a job is going to be a massive challenge, but a sweeter victory when you finally get your job!
If you are going to get that dream job, one of the key things you’ll need to do is to differentiate yourself from the swarm of struggling job seekers who are using the same old tired out approaches to job seeking. You’ll need to step off the beaten path to try some new tactics that will really get you noticed.
While we can’t claim to have a completely unique set of resume tips, we can offer some lesser known but highly effective job seeking tactics you might not have heard of yet that can give you the edge over the competition.
A recent study by the Federal Bank of New York revealed that applicants who had been referred to a job by a person known to the company are twice as likely to get through to an interview. So if you can find a contact at the prospective employer – perhaps through your LinkedIn network – consider mentioning this in your application email or cover letter to boost your interview chances. Name dropping in your job application will dramatically improve your chances of being short-listed.
Include your hobbies and interests
There has been a lot of debate as to whether to include hobbies and interests on your resume. But latest thinking suggests that it’s vital to include them. This research from Kellogg Business school found that modern employers are hiring people based not just on their skills, but on culture fit which was assessed by whether the applicant had similar hobbies and interests to the manager.
That’s why it’s vital to include hobbies and interests. But to do this correctly, you’ll need to carefully research your potential future boss and establish any overlapping interests – perhaps you share an interest in endurance running – and make sure that reference is made to this interest in your resume. This will enhance your perceived cultural fit, boosting your chance of being short-listed.
In this highly competitive business climate, employers are looking for effective people who meet targets and get things done on time. If you want your resume to stand out, you’ll need to demonstrate your effectiveness by listing several achievements under each role.
For best effect, achievements should start with an action word like, ‘created’, ‘completed’, and ‘delivered’, and should include some kind of metric (such as dollars, time, percentage, speed, etc.) which effectively quantifies the achievement. For example, ‘Delivered $170,000 worth of sales in 2015, exceeding target by 20%’ would be considered an excellent achievement.
Tailor your resume
Too many candidates adopt a shotgun, one-size-fits-all approach to applications. They write one template resume and blanket-send it out to multiple employers without giving much attention to the individual needs of each job, meaning their resume fails to really connect with the employer, and ends up being rejected again and again. By tailoring your resume for each post so it accentuates your most job relevant skills/experiences, you’ll create a resume that truly resonates with the employer and has a much greater chance of catching their eye.
Remember, tailoring does not mean lying: you should not claim to have a higher skill level than you actually have. By all means emphasize specific skills, but don’t exaggerate. Keep it real.
Use bullet points where appropriate
Bullet points are especially useful for highlighting achievements and emphasizing you’re an effective worker. When writing a job entry in your resume, try writing the job responsibilities in paragraph format, followed by a list of accomplishments in bullet point format, for maximum effect.
In this over-crowded candidate market, the secret to getting short-listed is to actually break away from the crowd. When you venture off the beaten path of scatter-gun applications, and go down the path less walked of tailored, achievement-loaded, cultural-fit conscious resumes, your resume will soon begin to shine, and will be winning you interviews again and again.