The online job search is competitive. You could send out a dozen resumes, only to join hundreds of other job seekers. Without the benefit of a face-to-face meeting, it can be challenging for recruiters to establish a point of difference between potential candidates.
This doesn’t mean you should give up hope. In the new age of digital communication and global connectivity, there are advantages to the online job search movement and plenty of key approaches that will give your application an edge on the computer screen.
Format for Scannability
In the fast-paced world of recruitment, you have on average less than 6 seconds to impress, before your resume is tossed into the rejection pile. A perfect application should be concise and easy to read, with clear headings and bullet points to facilitate scanning.
In moments, a hiring manager should be able to make a judgement on your experience, personality and work ethic. All without meeting you. This means your resume will need to outline only the most important information and cut out the detailed explanations. Save those for your first interview!
Personable Cover Letter
Contrary to popular instruction, the perfect cover letter should not only be specific to the business you apply to, but to you as a professional and potential employee. Refrain from opening with the standard ‘I am interested in’ or ‘I believe I would be the right candidate’ because your first two sentences are by far, the most important.
They are what will entice a hiring manager to read on and, in an increasingly digital world, are the nearest thing to a physical first impression. In your opening line, you need to establish a clear tone of voice and personality. This is your opportunity to branch out from the norm with dialogue that sells you as a professional.
Back it Up With Case Studies
A brief explanation of your tangible skills and the time spent with a particular company can qualify your experience. But how can you share your impact? Demonstrate real value to a potential employer by following a case study format and pull out the figures. This means not only mentioning that you transformed the user experience, but generated 31% growth in customer acquisition.
It is also engaging to include a testimonial from a stakeholder of your best work. This will validate your expertise and character, not to mention numerical figures are easy to pick up while scanning a page. Above all, be accountable for your achievements – whether it is a project milestone, short course certificate or award-winning portfolio.
Include Social Accounts
If this is relevant to your industry, it can be helpful to provide a catalogue of your work. This could range from social media accounts to a professional blog or portfolio. Anything that will give the hiring manager a starting point to explore, beyond their stock-standard Google and LinkedIn search.
A broad range of jobs in the media field often require candidates with a grasp of digital platforms, audiences and content – which you can demonstrate through your own channels. Just be careful to review these pages before you click send.
Email Your Resume Elsewhere
While this approach is not always advisable, it can get your foot in the door. Often, job listings provide a solo email address which will be inundated with applications. To avoid the sea of job seekers, locate a senior point of contact, such as management. This can get your name in front of the right people early on.
Contact details are often listed on company websites, but be careful to keep your tone polite and friendly. Trust your judgement, the last thing you need to do is annoy the person who could potentially hire you.
Utilise Your Keywords
Ask any hiring manager if they conduct a resume keyword search through their database of applications and they will tell you, yes. Resume keywords eliminate those candidates whose experience is irrelevant to what a business is looking for.
For this reason, it is incredibly important that you use correct industry terminology and respond to the language of the job listing. Your application should make mention of specific skills, software experience, credentials and previous positions.
Be Positive and Confident
Use an upbeat, forward-thinking and actionable tone throughout your application. The language you use will affect the perception of the hiring manager and could just push you over the line. Businesses are looking for confident professionals, interested in that particular job, at that particular company. If you sound like the hundreds of others applying for any job they can get, you’re going to get lost in the masses.
Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about short courses, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.