A lot of the opportunities you’ll find will be online listings. That’s intimidating because they’re so available they attract loads of competition. But the competition doesn’t know how to use these listings and most of them never get found.
Here’s a couple of tactics you can use to set yourself at the top of the online resume pile:
1. Think beyond the instructions for online applications. Most of the applicants you’ll be competing against will give the employer whatever they ask for, no more no less. Take, for example the “Email Your Resume” button that often ends an online req. Of course, you need to push the button and add your resume.
Most of your competition will just send their resume. A few will attach the cover letter they wrote three months ago. And that’s all. That’s why online applications represent such a great opportunity for you. Because the instructions make your competition lazy.
So you can distinguish yourself so easily just by emailing your resume with a customized cover sheet.
Just getting the recruiter’s name and the company street address will often set you apart. Additionally, you can analyze the job posting and pull out company values (innovation, compassion, being first to market, flawless execution) and industry keywords. Make sure you use the keywords in your resume and tell a story in your cover letter that reinforces their values. With two or three very quick gestures you’ve set yourself apart.
2. Use Monster.com and other job bank sites more effectively. What your competition overlooks is that big online job banks attract millions of resumes. They have to process them differently from the way small companies do. What they do in particular is scan the resumes electronically. And that’s why most resumes listed on these job banks never get viewed. They don’t have the right keywords.
Recruiters use sites like Monster and hire candidates they find there every day. But the candidates that get hired off Monster first get found on Monster. They know how to find industry keywords and how to use them to salt their resumes so they get discovered.
Search for postings for jobs similar to the one you want. Build a list of the keywords recruiters use in your niche. Then, create a resume that has those keywords and is search engine friendly (in other words, it doesn’t have a lot of curlicues and such that search engines don’t know how to read).
Now, you’ve done some online resume writing that’s created an interview magnet.