Over the last few years, the job market has been pretty brutal. With so many job seekers vying over the same openings, competition has reached sky-high limits. In response, some candidates are going to crazy lengths to get noticed. Whether candidates submit their resume on a chocolate bar, perform a guitar solo about why they're the perfect fit for the job, film over-the-top YouTube videos that have gone viral, employers have seen just about everything.
As crazy as some of these situations sound, they have one common denominator: they worked. The candidates captured their target employers' attention and sometimes even landed the job.
While filming a video and making it go viral might be a bit impractical for you, there are some more realistic ways to get noticed. Here are five clever ways that, when implemented, are sure to make you stand out from your competition and help you land that coveted job offer.
1. Impress with Your Resume & Cover Letter
Both your resume and cover letter need to be perfect. This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be amazed at how many people—qualified, competent people—lose job offers simply because of one lazy typo. Have a friend or trusted colleague take a look at what you've written. An extra 5 to 10 minutes can make the difference between securing an interview and being sent a "thanks, but no thanks" message from HR.
Better yet, use LiveCareer's Resume Builder to create an error-free, professional resume. Whether you're simply updating your resume or creating your first-ever resume, LiveCareer makes the writing process easy and fast.
2. Create an Online Profile
Hiring managers will likely Google you, so you need an online profile that accurately represents you as a professional—like LinkedIn. Your profile should match your resume, be full of job-specific keywords, and be 100 percent professional. Remember: you're not on Facebook. It's probably a good idea to delete that picture from your drunken weekend in Cancun—especially if it's your profile picture.
3. Get to Know the Right People
Getting your foot in the door can be as simple as knowing the right person. You'd be amazed at how many of your friends and acquaintances will know someone who's looking to hire a candidate with the same skills you have. Plus, they can also put in a good word for you with the hiring manager, which is icing on the cake.
Send out emails to former coworkers, ask around on Facebook, set up lunch meetings with social connections—do whatever it takes to keep your name on other peoples' minds.
4. Research the Company Website Beforehand
Once you secure an interview, take a moment to let out a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back. But keep in mind: the hardest part of your job search awaits you.
Answering questions about your previous experience just isn't enough anymore. Before your interview, spend at least one hour researching the company you're hoping to work for. Spend some time on their website, and do a little sleuthing about the industry. Having a few really good questions to ask about the position and company is only going make you shine even brighter than the candidate who's just relying on his or her previous experience.
5. Show Your Appreciation
Take a few minutes to write a thank-you note. As simple as it sounds, you'd be amazed at how many people pass up this last chance to sell themselves. It's also a great time to ask that really good question that you thought of after the interview was over.
While these tips may seem obvious, you'd be surprised how many of them are overlooked or just simply ignored. Apply them to your routine and are you're sure to get that awesome job you've been dreaming about in no time. And if you need some help, remember that LiveCareer has your back. Whether you need to write a resume, cover letter, or a simple thank-you note, LiveCareer has award-winning tools that streamline the process.