Did you know that, according to the World Economic Forum, the COVID-19 pandemic and following lockdown procedures caused over 100 million people to lose their jobs during 2020?
Additionally, experts do not expect working hours around the globe to return to pre-COVID levels this year.
If you’re among these people, and you’ve lost your job because you were laid off during the pandemic, you might find yourself feeling incredibly stressed.
Even though you’ve filled out job application after job application, you can’t seem to get results. You might be getting a few emails or calls, but for the most part, you aren’t getting noticed. And you aren’t getting any interviews.
It’s a frustrating position to be in—and it’s also financially frightening.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, you’ll learn about all the different strategies you can use to make your job application stand out. Finally, you’ll get that interview and land your dream role. Read on to learn more.
Send in a Video With Your Job Application
When you’re doing your job search, you can sometimes see how many applicants have applied for a job on the same job site as you. When you look at the numbers, it can be overwhelming. How could you even dream of standing out?
One of the ways to stand out is by sending in a video with your job application. Here’s how you do it.
Fill out the job application as you normally would, putting in all the information they ask for, such as details, your resume, and cover letter.
Then, if there’s a section where they ask you to provide additional information, you can include a video link. (If they don’t do this, then you can creatively link to it in your cover letter or resume.)
When you include the video, write something along the lines of, “I’ve made a one-minute video that highlights what I can bring to this position and your company. You can find it here [put the link in that last sentence].”
The video should be short, lasting only between 30 and 60 seconds. In it, you should explain:
- Why you chose to apply for the job and why the company interests you
- What you can bring to the role and how you could help the company
The second part of the video should be a bit longer. It should include details such as accomplishments, experiences, and skills. Also include information about anything you’ve done in past roles that’s similar to what you would do in this new role.
Once you’ve recorded the video, you can upload it to YouTube. Make it an “unlisted” video so that only those with a link can view it.
The reason this strategy works is that it makes it possible for you to personally connect with your potential employer.
Do keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily work in every industry.
To make sure this strategy will be effective, look up the company first to see if they’d enjoy seeing a video or if they’re a little more old-school. If they’re more traditional, don’t send in a video.
Use Your Network
When you’re applying for your dream role, it’s hard to get noticed—even if you’re the best candidate for the job. This is because when applicants are applying “cold” for a job, they’re simply one among many applicants.
If you want to stand out, then you need to give your potential employer a reason to give you more consideration than these other applicants.
One of the best ways to do this is by using your network. Think about it this way. If you were hiring someone for a position at your company, and one of your colleagues recommended someone, what would you do?
You would look at the recommended applicant first—and you would probably spend more time looking at the application, too.
This is why you should use your network when applying for jobs. If you see a role you like, see if you can find a connection you have in common with the person hiring.
Doing a little research on LinkedIn goes a long way, as you can usually find that you have only a few separations of degrees you have to get through before reaching out to your potential employer.
Going to networking events can also open up a whole world of hiring opportunities. Of course, networking events are a bit limited now because of the current pandemic.
However, there are many networking events online these days. You can always go to a Zoom networking event.
Finally, you can reach out to connections you already have and ask if they know anyone who’s hiring. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Make Your Resume Visual
Another strategy you can use to stand out among other job applicants is by making your resume visually appealing and attention-grabbing. Instead of using traditional black and white, include some colour and a company logo.
You can also choose interesting layouts and fun fonts. However, make sure that the font is easy enough to read.
You’ll also want to make sure that your colourful, playful resume is industry-appropriate.
Tailor Your Resume to the Role
One of the most effective ways to stand out when applying for a role is by tailoring your resume to that role. Even though it may seem like a lot of extra work, it should only take you between 5 and 10 minutes to do this.
Additionally, the more you tailor your resume to each role, the easier it will be when you apply to other similar roles.
To tailor your resume effectively, take a look at what the requirements and responsibilities for the role you’re applying for are.
Then, update your skills section to reflect exactly what the employer is looking for. For example, if a large part of the role is using Adobe Photoshop, this should be the first skill that you list.
You’ll also want to tailor the section related to your work experience.
In the area where you describe what you’ve done in past roles, you should write about specific responsibilities, tasks, and milestones that are the exact type of work you would do in the role you’re applying for.
By tailoring your resume this way, the person hiring will pick up your resume and immediately think, “This is the perfect candidate for the role.”
Reach Out About Roles Before Companies Are Hiring
When you’ve been doing your job research, have you noticed any companies that you thought could be a great match for you? After which you went to their LinkedIn page or their website, only to find that they weren’t hiring?
You might have thought to yourself, “I wish they had an opening. I’d be a great fit here.”
Here’s the thing: you should reach out. If you do, this is one of the best ways to stand out among other job applicants—because they don’t even know about the fact the company is hiring yet.
How does this work, exactly? It works in two ways. First of all, companies often search for people to hire internally before they post about the role on the best place to search for jobs.
For this reason, job searches like you never even find out about jobs that are available.
But if you reach out to the company or to one of the people who work there, and you query about potential work opportunities, then you’ll be able to be considered for the role, too. Before a whole slew of applications come in.
An added benefit is that the company will see you as having initiative and interest, which will make you stand out from the competition, too.
Finally, even if a company isn’t currently hiring, they’ll keep you in mind the next time a role opens up. You’ll be first in line and will have way less competition than if you were applying through a traditional route.
Another great way to stand out when you’re in the midst of applying for jobs is to stay connected to companies and industries that you’re interested in working in. Follow them on LinkedIn and social media.
Additionally, think about using a tool such as Newsle to get updates about what hiring managers and executives are doing.
This way, you’ll be the first to know when a role at your dream company opens up. By applying first thing, you’ll stand out among the applicants who apply later on.
Get In Touch After You Apply
After you’ve applied for a role, it can be helpful to get in touch with the person in charge of hiring at the company you’ve just applied to. You can do this over email or through LinkedIn. If you’re able to find out their name and address them directly, this is quite effective.
Of course, you don’t want to come off as desperate or pushy when you do this.
So remember not to send them a long message. Instead, send 2 to 3 short paragraphs saying that:
- You applied
- Why you’re a great fit for the role
- You wonder if they agree about you being the right fit
By doing this, you’re giving the hiring manager a reminder that you’ve applied for the role. When they come across your application (they might even look for it and read it first), they’ll remember you. As a result, your job application will stand out.
Follow up After You Apply
It’s also smart to follow up after you apply. However, don’t do this immediately, as this could come off as impatient or desperate. It’s only after you haven’t heard back about a week after that it’s a good idea to follow up – this is for several reasons:
First of all, if the hiring manager hasn’t come across your application for some reason (maybe they’ve gotten hundreds of applications), this will make it more likely that they’ll pull yours up and consider you for the role.
Second, sometimes applications don’t arrive for some reason. Maybe they get stuck in a spam folder or an intern accidentally didn’t send it to the right person.
You’ll prevent this from happening by following up after you apply.
Finally, if you follow up after you apply, this demonstrates that you have a great interest in the role. Any hiring manager will feel that you care about getting the role, which will make you stand out among other applicants.
When following up, keep the email brief, and remember to include details about why you’re a good fit for the role, the same way you would with skills to put on a job application.
Improve Your Online Presence
If you’ve been doing tons of research about your potential employers, remember that they might do the same for you. For this reason, you want to make sure that the right websites and photos come up whenever anyone Googles you.
A great way to improve your chances when this happens is to have your own website where your future employer can find out about your career, skills, and past work experience.
If there are any places online where you appear that might cause your potential employer not to hire you, it’s worth taking down these websites or asking someone to remove your name or photo from their websites.
You want to stand out—but not for the wrong reasons. Make your online presence strong and positive, and you’ll give your potential employer plenty of reasons to want to hire you.
Need More Information?
Now that you’ve learned about all the different ways you can make your job application stand out, you might want to learn more. Maybe you want to learn about how to best design your resume for your industry.
Or maybe you want some help finding your dream job and getting your application seen by the right people.