How Do You Stand Out From The Competition?

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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How Do You Stand Out From The Competition?
By Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

Hiring Managers receive hundreds of applications for jobs that they are seeking to fill. That's a lot of reading to do in order to pre-select people for active consideration.

It 's easy to get lost in the shuffle; the question becomes how do you ensure that your application is identified, your credentials recognized, and you're selected for follow up?

There are some simple steps in the assembling of your information and the sending of it that increases the odds that you will be noticed and contacted.

Identify Yourself Using Your Name In Your Email Address and Resume:

- Create a separate account on one of the public email sites such as Hotmail,
  Gmail or Yahoo.

- Use your first and last name in the email address that you choose.

- Avoid using un-businesslike email tags like
  or other whimsical identifiers; identify yourself.

- Have a separate account for job search; gathering all of your related
  correspondence for easy access and follow up.

- Use your first and last name when saving your resume file.

You will generate more credibility with the recipient of your message or application if they feel that you are serious about the process, and you take the time to clearly identify yourself. This also makes it easier to find your email message when following up with you.

The generic file names 'cv.doc', 'resume.doc', or '' fails to identify you properly on a busy desktop with other saved icons with similar file names. We constantly receive resumes that require the file name changing to identify the applicants by name in our system.

You want the reader to spend time reading about your qualifications and experience, not spending time on administrative processing of your document.

Insert Your Telephone Number In The Subject Line Of Your Email Message:

- Inserting your telephone number, (usually a cel #, not your work #)
  provides instant  contact information for the reader; no time is wasted in
  having to re-open your resume ,or even to scroll down in your message
  to locate your contact information.

- This shows forethought and will be appreciated by the recipient because
  you are making it easier for him/her to contact you for further consideration.

- When emails are forwarded from one department to another, information
  from the text of the original may be lost---especially when it's a long text.

- Having your telephone number readily accessible in the subject line
  eliminates the  risk of your telephone number being accidentally eliminated
  when the message is forwarded internally.

- This makes contacting you for follow up very convenient for the reader.

Tell The Reader When You Can Be Reached By Telephone:

- Note a time-frame that is easiest to reach you:
  "cel # (647) 123-1234 after 5:30pm"
  or " (647) 123-1234 after 5:00pm, message anytime"

- People involved in the hiring process have busy schedules and having an
  idea about where and when you can receive their call assists in organizing
  their follow up calls.

- This shows that you organize your time and will make yourself accessible
  for an uninterrupted discussion of the job opportunity.

Identify The Position That You Are Applying For:

- Much time is wasted trying to determine why an applicant is sending their
  resume because of the lack of text received in a message; often only the
  resume and a brief note requesting consideration is received.

- Note the Position Title that you are applying for in the Subject Line of the
  email along with your telephone contact.

- This allows your message to be quickly found among the dozens of emails
   received from competing applicants who don't provide this information.

- You will set yourself apart from applicants who are not taking the extra time
   to ensure that their communications are clear and focused.

Edit And Re-Edit The Text Of Your Cover Letter:

- Long, meandering cover letters decrease the chance to mpve forward
  in the review and pre-selection process.

- Be ruthless in editing your message; make sure that every sentence actively
  supports why you should be considered for the job opportunity given your
  experience, education, skills, and especially your track record of results.

- Focus in bullet-point form on the 3 to 5 key reasons why you should be
  afforded active consideration.

- Be sure to note your various means of contact at the end of the message so
  that the reader can find this info both at the beginning of the message
  (subject line), or when they have finished reviewing your introductory text.

Avoid A Canned Message That Shows  No Time Spent Reading The Ad:

- Clearly link your text to the key words of the advertisement.

- A canned message denotes a lack of interest and focus.

It's easy to create a generic draft letter in your Drafts folder of your email program, which enables you to change and add key phrases and words to customize a letter to a particular advertisement.

Send Your Message At Strategic Times Of The Business Day:

- Try and avoid getting lost in numerous spam messages that people have to
   process in their Inbox.

- If actively job seeking you can time your messages for periods in the day
  that the reader is more likely to have an uncongested inbox.

- After 930am, shortly before 1200n, just after 200pm and shortly before
  5:00pm are times to consider.

- People tend to process spam in the early morning, just after lunch, and
  towards the end of the day.

- Avoid sending messages very late at night as you may end up in the spam
  folder---especially if there is an attachment.

Check Spelling Even If You Use A Spell-check Feature:

- It sounds elementary, but many people don't bother to carefully review the
  text of both the message and resume that they send.

- The net result is an impression of lack of attention to detail or caring about
  the impression made.

- Spell-check features are not 100% reliable; nothing is more effective than
  going line by line through the text of a message or resume, to ensure that
  you have eliminated all spelling and grammatical errors.

- People whose first language is not English should pay special attention to
  this and have the document reviewed by a fluent English speaker.

These may seem like very simple steps and concepts, but you would be surprised at how often applications are received which require needless time spent trying to identify basic information, and why the sender is writing.

Following these easy steps will make you stand out from the competition and give you an edge in the pre-selection process.

Your application will be reviewed more quickly, and you will make a better first impression, increasing the likelihood to move forward to the next level.

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