The job hunting process is becoming increasingly competitive; between online applications and a myriad of tools to help job seekers optimize their resumes and cover letters and other tools to help employers sift through job applications – The difference is made by innovation, creativity and a good old sense of determination.
How we approach our resume has changed significantly in the past decade alone. How hiring managers review job applications has also changed significantly. SEO optimized resumes and cover letters are gaining increasingly more ground and job seekers are pushed to new limits.
Here are our tips and tricks to navigate the world of effective job hunting and making your job application truly stand out.
- Keep the Basic Information Short
These are some of the most significant changes regarding the content of your resume:
- Details related to family, address, and marital status have become obsolete. This is partly due to the fact that prospective employers shouldn’t be asking you these things and partly due to the fact that it’s irrelevant information that just takes up space and time to read through. Depending on the requirements of the employer, your personal opinion and the cultural background of some countries, you can include a professional photo.
- Place special emphasis on your skills, strengths, and capabilities. Don’t turn your resume into a novel as nobody will have the time and patience to sift through it for the relevant information. List your skills and strengths in view of the job you are applying for, shortly demonstrating the value they have brought to previous employers (if any) and the value they can bring to the company where you’re currently applying.
- Leave room to list your extra-work activities and your personal interests. If the hiring manager gets thus far, he or she may find your personality and interests particularly fit for the environment of the company. List blogs (professional ones make an impression), voluntary work, events you helped organized and others that say something special about you. Refrain from listing such interests as ‘music’, ‘reading’, ‘skiing’. They’re general and highly impersonal.
- Inject Personality and Flavor in Your Resume’s Design
This piece of advice may not be applicable to some more conservative industries. Nonetheless, a compromise could be successfully reached. There is a wide variety of tools that can customize your resume and give it a designer-made look.
The days of the black and white flavourless resume are gone. If you have a knack for graphic design, you can try your hand with an extra-creative resume. Engaging graphics and creative designs are sure to draw a potential employer’s attention. Showcasing your projects, experience, value and skills in both image and text will give your resume an edge.
Treat your CV as an empty canvas where you can play with styles and designs. Make it easy to follow and read through, and as less tiring as possible. This designer-look tip is bound to make the resume more entertaining, thus retaining the hiring manager’s attention for longer.
Nevertheless, if you want to go the extra mile and make sure you stand out, try thinking outside the box and pitch yourself in an innovative way. Some courageous applicants have even gone as far as putting their talent for sale on Amazon or sending a box of pizza to their potential employer, with an epic-looking resume inside.
These are just a few examples of job applications that really worked, but there’s still a lot of room for testing in this respect. Whichever one you decide to apply, just make sure to do it smart and creatively and success will be guaranteed.
- Create an Online Portfolio
This is an engaging and entertaining way to get more attention from your prospective employer. There are various tools that will help you create an online portfolio featuring all your projects. Nonetheless, a link to the online portfolio and any other social media account that may be relevant to the employer (they will look up your social media activity anyhow) inserted in the resume could work wonders.
- Tailor Your Cover Letter
Cover letters may be close to extinction for some jobs. Nonetheless, they are still relevant for some others and employers value a job candidate who will take the time to craft this often painstaking piece of professional bio.
Don’t emulate your resume in the cover letter. Take the opportunity to expand more on your skills and strengths in addition to the value they can bring the company. Choose three key points to focus on and make sure you’ll repeat them during the interview. This is the researched and proven rule of three. Few people remember more than three things about a person they just met, a new book they just read.
Make these three skills and strengths the centre of your self-eulogy and put them in perspective for your potential employer.
- Be Determined and Do Away with Shyness
One of the most appreciated things by hiring managers is having job seekers contact them to inquire about the job application process, preferences related to the format of the job application pack and other pertinent questions.
Moreover, surprise ‘gifts’ such as job candidates who send a tailored proposal as to how to answer one of the company’s needs or how to solve a problem related to the company are always welcome. They showcase will and determination, an attention to detail and orientation towards problem-solving, as well as courage.
Few job seekers really dare to take the chance and think outside the box when it comes to adapting a job application to a shifting reality. Make full use of these tips and experiment with your own personal style. Good luck!
Author bio: Karl Magnusson is a Contributing Editor at Armstrong Appointments, a motivational writer and a career coach with over five years of experience under his belt. He loves helping people identify their hidden talents and thrives on seeing his clients achieve their much-desired professional acclaim.