Seven Ways to Stand Out in a Sea of Applicants

Is your résumé getting lost in a flood of résumés? Are you certain you could demonstrate your value to potential employers, if you could just get in front of them? Do you want to dramatically increase your chances of getting a follow-up call from employers? Bait your job-search hook with these seven tips and you'll catch a whale of a good job.

1. Write a focused, accomplishment-centered résumé. Make sure that your résumé includes several examples of how you added value in previous positions. Include what you did, the outcome and why that is important. I guarantee you will stand out from the crowd if you target your résumé, highlight key skills, include success stories complete with results, and make it easy on the eyes.

2. Respond to appropriate ads. The owner of a successful job-search website often hears employers complain about job seekers who apply without offering any relevant qualifica-tions. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by responding to those ads that are obvious matches for your skills. If you have the right experience but your résumé doesn't show it, write a new résumé! Are you attempting to break into a new field? Do your homework first so that you can state your qualifications and background in terms that apply to the new job or industry. Remember, it's okay to have more than one version of your résumé. There is no such thing as good generic résumé.

3. Take time to write a cover letter that addresses the specific requirements of the position. Use the job posting to identify requirements then match them to your qualifi-cations. Include examples of accomplishments that demonstrate the required skills.

4. Make the subject line compelling when sending your résumé by e-mail. Simply writing résumé in the subject line is boring, boring, boring. How many e-mails in an employer's deluge contain résumé in the subject line? Thousands, I suspect. Use your subject line to immediately engage the reader and make him or her want to open your résumé first! If it lives up to the subject line he or she may never move on to the next one.

5. Whenever possible direct your résumé and follow-up call to the person who has the power to hire you. This requires that you do some investigating to find out the name or title of the person who is the hiring manager. Yes, this takes a little more effort but the payoff is worth it.

6. Call to follow up. Most job seekers send out their résumé and never follow up. They expect the employer to call them. Demon-strate that you are a go-getter by picking up the telephone and making that all important connection. First, confirm that your résumé has been received. Then politely inquire about the position and the next steps in the process. Ask when it would be appropriate to check back with them. Treat whomever you speak with on the telephone with respect-you could be talking with the decision-maker.

7. Be prepared to sell yourself over the telephone. Most companies pre-screen applicants by telephone. Don't make the mistake of thinking this isn't a real interview. You need to shine here or you won't make it to the next level. Be prepared. Smile when you answer the telephone. It's show time!

Mary Jeanne Vincent is the author of Acing the Interview tip cards featuring answers to the top 20 "killer" interview questions. Also included are tips for interviewing in the new economy, ideas for responding to illegal and trick questions, and suggestions for avoiding 10 deadly interview mistakes. Go to for free job search articles and to sign up for the free WorkWise e-zine. For information on individual job and career coaching or to find out about other practical, easy-to-use career tools call Mary Jeanne at 831.657.9151.

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