Faced with too many job openings and not enough people to fill them, employers find it difficult to recruit top talent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 11 million job openings at the end of 2021, but only 6.3 million unemployed people. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find a well-paying job with the perks and flexibility you crave. As companies hire more remote employees, they realize that they can recruit international workers, making competition stiff. And if you’re trying to make a career pivot, you may also be competing against more qualified candidates. That’s why it’s still important to make your job application stand out in a global marketplace. Here are some ways to do just that.
Do your homework
One thing you must do is learn as much as you can about the company. Some research methods include reviewing the company website to understand its mission, values, products and culture. Talk to people that work there to get first-hand knowledge of the environment. Explore news articles and follow the company on social media so you are up to date on any breaking developments, including mergers or acquisitions. Then check out their competition to better understand the industry overall.
Customize your job application
It’s crucial to customize your job application and any other materials to the specific role you are applying for. The last thing you want to do is send a generic resume and cover letter to hundreds of employers. Instead, it’s much better to narrow your search to the positions you’re genuinely interested in and then tailor the application materials accordingly.
Focus on what makes you unique
No one has the same skill set and background that you do. Take the time to determine what makes you unique. Think through the expertise and experiences you have and how they make you an ideal candidate for the role. Highlight the personality traits and skills that will enable you to contribute to the company in a productive way. Then choose examples from your background, and make sure that you reference the positive outcomes from previous roles as well as some of your notable accomplishments.
Share your “why”
Employers don’t just want to know about your skills and experiences. They want to know why you want to work for them in the first place. In other words, of all the companies you could have chosen to apply to, why this one? What is it about this role that gets you excited? Take time to think through this question carefully. If you can’t come up with an answer, it may be a sign that it’s not the right company or role for you.
Let your personality shine through
Sifting through hundreds of resumes can be quite boring. Any effort to reveal more of your personality will go a long way. Don’t be shy. Do you speak a foreign language? Have you lived overseas? Did you climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Employers understand that they are hiring people, not robots. Ultimately recruiters and hiring managers want to know you better, which builds trust. It will also make you a more memorable candidate.
Think outside the box
Get creative when thinking of ways to make your job application stand out. One example is Jonathan Swift, a 24-year-old job seeker who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He decided to print paper leaflets containing the words “Hello, I’m Jonathan” alongside a QR code connected to his LinkedIn profile. Then he left them on the cars parked outside the company he wanted to apply for and was later offered a job. While not everyone may want to follow this approach, just delivering a job application in person rather than via email will make it more personal and help you stand out from the crowd.
The most important thing to remember during the job application process is this: be intentional! If you are just going through the motions, you are wasting your time. While you can get many things back, you can’t get time back. Time is priceless. Make it count.