This past summer I was in the position to hire for an admin job for my office. In less than two weeks, I received 135 resumes, of which only 20-30 were junk (over-qualified…think MBA degree… or severely under-qualified). So how does one stand out from the 100+ remaining applicants?
- Network: In my case, any applicant that was referred to me received a phone interview. Networking and being referred to a hiring manager may not guarantee a phone interview, but your application will get a serious look. This has been my experience when referring candidates onto hiring managers at ad agencies…if the person is a viable candidate, the person usually receives an interview.
- Tailor: The person I ended up hiring (applicant was not a referral) did a great job of tailoring the application to address skills mentioned in the posting. The resume/application is often the only impression one gets to make on a hiring manager – by highlighting skills that are not specifically mentioned in the job posting, you could be hurting your application because you are communicating you would prefer another job. As an example, I received resumes highlighting teaching, event planning, and sales skills for the admin assistant position. The person I hired highlighted experience running an office, handling difficult customers, remaining calm in pressure situations, and creating a welcoming environment – skills I indicated were a ‘must’ on the job posting. This showed me the individual took the time to think about my hiring needs, thought through past experiences, and understood the job – what hiring manager wouldn’t want that in an employee?
- Target: When I hear from job hunters that they have applied to 500 jobs in the past month and have not received a single interview, I ask if they think sending another 500 resumes next month will the the trick to turn around their luck? Randomly applying to jobs in hopes that something will stick is a low percentage job hunting strategy, along the lines of playing the lottery as a way to plan for your retirement. Target an industry and job function, focus your energies, and evaluate what strategies have been successful for you. If something works for you when job hunting, keep going with that strategy.
For more ideas on how to be stand out, check out:
Any additional ideas of how to stand out?