Applying through an online job board like LinkedIn or Indeed is one of the easiest ways to land a job, but it can be intimidating to know that there are likely hundreds of candidates applying for the same position. Because so many people have access to these websites, the pool of candidates is much larger, and therefore, much more competitive. In addition to that, many online job applications are read by machines, rather than sorted through by a hiring manager. It can be hard to stand out as a candidate when applying for a job online, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your application is noticed.
Use words on your resume that match the job description
Before beginning your application, read through the entire job description and pick out specific words that are used and change the wording in certain places to match this wording. This could be anything from “responsible” to “attentive” to “research”. When an application is read by a computer, the computer will pick out words that match the job description and send those to the top of the pile. For example, you could change “wrote and edited 15 articles per week” to “reported on 15 news-worthy stories per week,” to more accurately match a job description. The meaning of these are the same but one will help the computer recognize you as a qualified candidate.
Use small pops of color to highlight your personality
Gone are the days of black and white resumes. No matter what field you’re going into, you’re going to be using logos, commercials, social media and other forms of advertising. Showing that you know how to market yourself will also help show a hiring manager that you’ll be able to market for your brand, company or organization. There’s no need for a hot pink background and teal font, but using navy or grey font instead of black, or adding a small monogram or watermark in baby pink or light blue will show that you can work Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator and other graphic design platforms in a classy way, which can give you a big leg up. In the words of Elle Woods, “it gives it a little something extra. Don’t you think?”
Don’t use generic cover letters
There’s absolutely a way to make your cover letters personal and exciting to read, while still remaining professional. For example, this is an excerpt from my most recent cover letter:
“During my time working at Walt Disney World, I learned to value the four important keys of customer service: Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency. Just like at Disney, selling cars at your dealership is all about making magic for the customer and providing a seamless experience during the car-buying process.”
Find ways to relate your previous job experience to the job you want, and find ways to make it readable and interesting. They’ve already read your resume, so you don’t need to reiterate all of your hard skills. This is the time to really display your personality, soft skills and show them why you’re a more interesting candidate than the rest.
Attach a link to your online portfolio or website
If you don’t have an online portfolio already, head to Wix or Weebly to make one for yourself. It should include your resume, a little bit about yourself, and samples of your work. Including a link to this will give the hiring manager something more thorough and more tangible to look at than a resume. It also showcases your ability to highlight and summarize your skills and talents.