Before the Internet, it wasn’t uncommon for people to walk into a company, ask to speak to the manager, and deliver their resume in person. This was a great way to show motivation, drive, and the true personality of the person behind the resume.
Unfortunately – or maybe fortunately, depending on how you look at it – this isn’t how things work today.
Today, people spend most of their job-hunting time scouring the Internet for job postings. There’s a lot out there, but the important thing to remember is that if you are seeing a job opening, so are thousands of other people. This means that for every application you submit, you’re likely to be one of hundreds – if not thousands – of applicants vying for the same role.
This isn’t to say that it is impossible to land a job via Internet applications. People do that every single day. Rather, I want to stress that today’s online-first job hunt means resumes and cover letters are more important than ever. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you need to wow potential employers with resumes and cover letters that directly align with their requirements and address their needs.
I know that this sounds extremely daunting, but you shouldn’t give up hope. There are a couple of ways – in addition to an excellent resume and cover letter – that you can rise above all the other applicants in the space:
1. Post Your Resume Online
The most common job sites include Indeed, Monster, Recruiter, SimplyHired, and LinkedIn, but there are many others – including a lot of industry-specific and niche job boards that can be very helpful.
The benefit of posting your resume is that you gain access to a whole new realm of opportunities. Due to the high influx of applicants, many recruiters do not actually post their available jobs online. Instead, they search through the candidate resumes that are available on job boards and career sites. This enables them to search by keyword, giving them a more targeted group of candidates to work with. If you don’t have your resume posted, you are missing out on all sorts of opportunities for jobs and networking.
Networking with recruiters and hiring managers is also a great way to bypass that large applicant pool. If you are recommended by a recruiter or hiring manager that already has your resume, you are more likely to get noticed than you would be if your document was one in a thousand waiting to be read.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Connections
I know a lot of people who don’t want to reach out to connections because they want to do everything on their own and by their own merit. It’s important to realize that there is a difference between reaching out to ask about new opportunities and asking someone to get you a job.
The truth of the matter is that if you don’t reach out to your connections about new opportunities, someone else will, potentially leading them to get a job instead of you.
Think about it this way: If you don’t make your intentions known to the outside world, no one knows about them but you. If you don’t reach out to connections to tell them you’re interested, they won’t think about you when a position becomes available.
Getting noticed within a large pool of applicants can be hard, but if you put the time and effort in to make sure your resume and cover letter align with the job’s specific requirements, your hard work will pay off. Similarly, if you take advantage of other resources, such as posting your resume online and reaching out to contacts within your industry, you just may be able to bypass the large applicant pool altogether.
Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer and the founder of Write Styles.