Nothing will feel as competitive as the online job search. You could send out a dozen applications, only to join the sea of job seekers doing the same. Without the advantage of a physical meeting, it is difficult for hiring managers to see the difference between you and other potential candidates.
Don’t give up your ambition just yet, though. With the rise of digital interaction and worldwide connectivity, there are unique benefits to the online job search and plenty of opportunities to give your resume a head start.
On average, you have less than 6 seconds to impress a recruiter before they throw your resume into the rejection pile. The perfect application should be easy to scan, with bullet points and concise headings to facilitate quick reading.
Within the first minute, a hiring manager will look to make a decision on your experience, character and professional work ethic. Without ever speaking to you! This means that your resume should only include the most important information. Keep any detailed explanations for your interview instead!
A perfect cover letter will be specific to the role you are applying to and also you, as the potential employee. Try to step back from the standard ‘I am interested in the position of...’ because your opening sentences are the most crucial.
In your first three sentences, you need to create a tone of voice and personality. This is your chance to leave the normal application style behind with language that sells your knowledge and vibrancy as a professional.
This section of your resume is important to share your impact, not only your professional experience. Employers find real value in the facts and the figures. Don’t briefly explain that you developed a consistent user experience for the business, but that you generated 20% customer growth.
Including a testimonial is unconventional but engaging, particularly if it is a stakeholder from some of your best industry work. This can help to validate your professional standing, while numerical figures are easy to read while scanning. It’s important to be accountable for your achievements - whether it’s a job milestone, short course certification or esteemed portfolio.
Provide a catalogue of your work, such as a professional blog or online portfolio. This will give a hiring manager a great starting point and puts you in control. Remember, they are likely to include a Google and LinkedIn search as well, so clean up your social media accounts in advance.
A number of jobs in the media and communications sector can require candidates with experience using digital platforms. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate your skills through your own channels and is an exception, whereby providing your social media handles could enhance your prospects.
Looking to get your foot in the door? Most job listings provide a single email address which you can bet will be inundated with applications. While it’s great to apply to the advertised point of contact, locating an individual higher up, such as a manager, could get your name in front of the right people, faster.
Often, companies list contact details on their website. Ensure your email is friendly and respectful, trust your own judgement on this one - it’s a risky move that is not always advisable!
Most recruitment agencies conduct a resume keyword search through their database before the reach out to the general public for applications. Resume keywords immediately eliminate candidates whose experience is irrelevant to what they are looking for.
For this reason, it is necessary, in the digital age more than ever, to use the correct industry terminology and reflect the dialogue of the job listing. Mention your specific skill set, whether this includes software experience, academic credentials or previous job positions. If you know an employer is looking for a professional with apprentice training, don’t label your apprenticeship programs as trade training.
Upbeat, forward-thinking and actionable professionals are what every business is looking for. Try to create a dialogue that conveys this to the hiring manager as it may just be the finishing touch that pushes your resume across the line.
All around the world, companies are looking for professionals who are confident and interested in their particular job offering, at their particular business. If you apply with a resume that reads like the hundreds of others who have submitted their application, you’ll only get lost in the masses.
Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate short courses, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.
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