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
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
Gmail or Yahoo.
- Use your first and last name in the email address that you choose.
- Avoid using un-businesslike email tags like firstname.lastname@example.org
or other whimsical identifiers; identify yourself.
- Have a separate account for job search; gathering all of your
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
The generic file names 'cv.doc', 'resume.doc', or 'johns.cv.doc' 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
- Inserting your telephone number, (usually a cel #, not your work
provides instant contact information for the reader; no time is wasted
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
you are making it easier for him/her to contact you for further
- When emails are forwarded from one department to another,
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
eliminates the risk of your telephone number being accidentally
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
idea about where and when you can receive their call assists in
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
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
received from competing applicants who don't provide this information.
- You will set yourself apart from applicants who are not taking the
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
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
afforded active consideration.
- Be sure to note your various means of contact at the end of the
that the reader can find this info both at the beginning of the message
(subject line), or when they have finished reviewing your introductory
Avoid A Canned Message That Shows No Time Spent Reading The
- 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
process in their Inbox.
- If actively job seeking you can time your messages for periods in
that the reader is more likely to have an uncongested inbox.
- After 930am, shortly before 1200n, just after 200pm and shortly
5:00pm are times to consider.
- People tend to process spam in the early morning, just after lunch,
towards the end of the day.
- Avoid sending messages very late at night as you may end up in the
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
text of both the message and resume that they send.
- The net result is an impression of lack of attention to detail or
the impression made.
- Spell-check features are not 100% reliable; nothing is more
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
this and have the document reviewed by a fluent English
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.