How Can I Make My Application Stand Out?

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stand outGrant from University of Northern Colorado asked:

“When I submit my resume to job boards such as LinkedIn or Indeed, I feel as though my application gets lost in the giant stack of resumes and my skills and qualifications never get noticed. How can I ensure that my application will get noticed and that it doesn’t remain just a ‘number’.”

Thanks for your question Grant –

I can definitely relate to your frustration. When I was a college student, I would submit my resume to all kinds of job boards and would hardly ever receive a response. Additionally, when I spent time as a recruiter, my eyes were opened to how many people apply to a single position. In many cases, a job posting can yield several hundred applicants, even if the job is open at a smaller organization. The truth is, companies of all sizes post their jobs on places like LinkedIn and and sometimes your chances of being noticed at a smaller organization can be just as slim as at a larger company.

In response to your question, I am going to offer three things you can do to leverage the online resources at your disposal. In particular, I would like to focus on some ways you can use LinkedIn more efficiently, which is becoming the most popular way for recruiters to source applicants. My hope is that these will help get you on the right path and increase your chances of getting noticed.

Make Your LinkedIn Profile Shine

Since recruiters are using LinkedIn heavily these days to find qualified candidates, make sure that your profile is up to date and showcases all of the assets you have to offer an employer. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • A professional headline
  • A concise summary statement
  • An updated list of experience
  • Skills and endorsements
  • Certifications and education

Recruiters often use keyword searches to find qualified candidates, so the more you have included in your profile, the more chances you have of being noticed for what you are truly skilled at.

Here is a nice document I found through your campus career site on how to create a great LinkedIn Profile.

Upgrade Your LinkedIn Account

If you have been using LinkedIn as one of your primary sources for applying to open positions, I would highly suggest making an investment in your career and upgrading your LinkedIn account to a Job Seeker Premium Account. I’ve used this service before and found it to work towards my advantage. One of the primary benefits is that you can send direct messages to recruiters, even if you aren’t connected with them. Also, you are able to see how your skills stack up with other applicants via LinkedIn’s applicant insights technology. The cost is relatively inexpensive and well worth the investment.

Make a Personal Connection

One of the other features of viewing jobs on LinkedIn is that you can see if any of your connections currently work at the organization you are applying for. This is something you can see regardless if you have a premium account or not. If you can find organizations that others in your network are currently employed at, send them a note after you have applied letting them know that you have submitted interest for a specific position. Ask them if they have any personal contacts in Human Resources that they might be able to potentially connect you with to learn more about the position. This is a great way to build your network and also get your skills noticed, as you will have an opportunity to showcase your qualifications through an informational interview or conversation.

These are just a few tips that I hope you will find useful as you continue your online job-searching journey.

If you are looking for some more tips, here is a page from the University of Northern Colorado’s Career Site that has some additional tips on networking within LinkedIn.

Good Luck!

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