If you’re wondering, “how can I stand out from other job applicants online?” then this is the article for you.
In the next 10 minutes, you’re going to learn how to get your job application noticed with 9 creative (and highly-effective) methods that will help you stand out any time you apply for a position online.
The first method I’m going to show you is one of the BEST ways to apply for a job, and I’ve seen people get great results with it.
So I’ll cover that method first, and then I’m also going to give you 8 more ways to differentiate yourself and get noticed when applying for jobs online.
Let’s get started…
This is a method that many people I know have gotten great results with, and it will definitely differentiate you from other job seekers.
(Here’s the feedback from someone on LinkedIn when I shared this tactic recently):
With this method, you’re going to do everything you do in a typical job application (like sending your resume, filling in the basic details they ask for, etc.) with one added step…
The extra step: When you apply to a business, create a 30-60 second video explaining:
Spend more time on the second part. You can mention skills, past experiences, accomplishments, what you did for your last employer that’s similar, etc. That should be the main focus.
Then, upload it as an “unlisted” video on YouTube. That way, nobody will find it unless you share the direct link with them.
And when you apply for the job, send a brief message with your application (either in the email, in a space for “comments” or “notes” in the online application form, etc., and say: “I created a one-minute video to briefly highlight what I can bring to this role and how I can help your team. Here’s where to watch it: LINK”
You can record the video with your smartphone camera. This doesn’t need to be Hollywood movie quality. The fact is, just putting in the effort to do this is going to help get your job application noticed immediately.
My name is Biron. I was on your website and saw you’re looking for a <Job Title>, and I wanted to send a quick video to share a couple of unique things I can bring to this role. I took a look at your job description and it sounds like you need ___ and ___. I have a background in ___ and have been doing this for X years. Most recently, I helped XYZ Company do ___ and ___. I have a few ideas I could share based on your job description that I think would help you, too. If any of this sounds interesting, I’d love to set up a time to talk on the phone! Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!”
Get creative, adjust this script for your situation, and use this to stand out any time you apply for a job online.
PROOF that this works:
My friend at Tesla confirming it worked there, too:
And here’s another great reason to use this “Value Video Method”:
Now, this isn’t going to work everywhere… In my experience, the technique mentioned above will work best for start-ups, smaller businesses, etc. However, it may not work when applying to government jobs, large corporations, and very traditional businesses in industries like banking & finance, etc.
So if this method doesn’t feel like it’ll work in your industry or job type, keep reading. Coming up, I’m going to share 8 more ways to get your resume noticed without having to send a video.
This is one of the best ways to not only get your job application seen, but maybe skip the whole job application process entirely.
If you’re not already using networking in your career, it’s a big mistake.
If you build your network and get introduced to employers and hiring managers directly… by people they know… you’re going to have their attention immediately.
You may not even have to go through the painful process of applying online, depending on the size/structure of the company.
So always be talking to your network AND trying to build new contacts. You can find some starting steps in this article.
Most people don’t realize, but tailoring your resume properly only takes 5-10 minutes. And it makes a MASSIVE difference in helping you stand out when applying online.
You see, recruiters and hiring managers glance very quickly at your resume to begin. They’ll read more if you catch their attention, but that first glance is only 8-10 seconds.
So if you don’t tailor your resume, they’re not going to see compelling, relevant info at first glance, and they may move on.
It’s okay if this doesn’t make sense to you yet, or you’ve never tailored your resume before. Just read this article and you’ll know exactly how I recommend doing it.
Overall, tailoring your resume is one of the best things you can do for your career and job search.
The next way to avoid competition and get your job application seen is to email and contact companies even if they don’t have a relevant job posted.
Growth-stage companies in particular are always looking for great people. They may be willing to hire you if they like you enough… even if they weren’t looking for someone with your skill set this year (because they know they’ll need you in the near future).
INC publishes an “INC 5,000 list” each year with the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the US. This is a great place to find companies to email and get in touch with.
After applying, consider getting in touch with the hiring manager (via LinkedIn, email, etc.)
You won’t always be able to find the hiring manager’s name, but if you can, this can help your job application get noticed.
Don’t be pushy, and don’t send a long message. Instead, send two or three very brief paragraphs letting them know you applied, sharing why you’d be a great fit (very briefly), and then telling them that you’re curious whether they agree with your assessment that this might be a great fit.
This is what will make your application stand out from other applicants, so you can boost your chances of getting the interview.
This is similar to the step above, but you can also follow-up with someone else in the company (like an HR person) after applying for a job online. Just give the employer a reasonable amount of time to respond to your initial application first (5-7 days minimum).
However, after that, following up to point their attention toward your application to make sure it gets seen can’t hurt!
Many recruiters will tell you “don’t contact anyone else in the company,” but that’s usually just them trying to protect their own position (and protect the commissions that they earn).
While I don’t feel that a company owes you a response if they weren’t interested in your application (whereas, after an interview, they do owe you a response and you should follow up more aggressively)… I still think it can’t hurt to try this.
So if this is your dream company or your dream job, then why not follow up to draw more attention to your application and boost your odds of getting seen and noticed?
You should never rely on recruiters for your entire job hunt. They don’t find jobs for people, they find qualified people for jobs. It’s fundamentally different, so read that again and make sure it makes sense.
However, finding one or two solid recruiters who know your market well can help get your application noticed and seen by more hiring managers (and faster!)
Here’s a full article on how recruiters work and what to expect from them.
Having a strong LinkedIn profile is a great tool for marketing yourself and will help get any applications sent via this platform seen and noticed more often.
Plus, more and more hiring managers are checking out your LinkedIn profile even if you applied somewhere else (like their website, a job board, etc.)
So while your application might get noticed without a great LinkedIn, you’re still going to be losing out on interviews if you’ve neglected your LinkedIn profile.
It’s a myth that you need a cover letter for every online job application. If you don’t know the hiring manager, weren’t referred by someone in your network, and the employer hasn’t asked for it, then you can skip the cover letter.
Yet, if you are particularly good at writing cover letters or have a unique story to tell that can’t be communicated via your resume, then a cover letter is another option you have to help your online application get noticed!
I recommend keeping your cover letter relatively short, though. The online templates with 10 huge paragraphs that take up a full page don’t work well in most industries in my experience.
And never repeat your resume info on your cover letter. That’s a waste of their time and won’t help you get the interview.
Here are some additional cover letter resources to help you:
The bottom line: You aren’t going to stand out and get noticed when applying for jobs online if you’re doing the same things as everyone else.
While the above tips for applying for a job might create a bit more work, they’re worth it! Employers love someone who demonstrates they’re willing to go above and beyond the basic requirements because it shows them you’ll have this attitude after they hire you.
So use the steps above (that most job seekers aren’t using) and you will get your online application noticed more often, so you can get more interviews and find a job much faster.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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