How to Stand Out Above the Other Job Applicants

Have you been having trouble getting your resume noticed amongst the hundreds being submitted by the competition? Do you submit your resume online and never hear anything again? You’re not alone. Recruiters are quite overwhelmed these days thanks to the high unemployment rate and the deluge of quality candidates to their job posting. Think about it, for every job there is one recruiter, but HUNDREDS of applicants. Most recruiters are now doing the job of two or three other recruiters because staffing organizations have been hit hard by the layoffs throughout the companies.

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So how do you make sure you’re at the top of the inbox when it comes to getting noticed? If you have a solid resume and cover letter with the right background and skills, then under normal circumstances you would make the first resume screen and at least get a phone interview. But these are not normal circumstances.  

When working with job search clients, I recommend that they do something drastic…crazy even! Are you ready for this? I recommend they pick up the phone and call the target company. I know it seems old fashioned, but hear me out.  

When you call on the phone you are transforming your anonymous resume into a real person, with a real voice. You demonstrate initiative and the willingness to go the extra mile, plus you are already building rapport. Even if you don’t get the job, you are more likely to be remembered over the hundreds of other applicants who are just a resume in a databank. It is easy to ignore an email with a resume attachment. It is not so easy to ignore a friendly voice on the other end of the phone when they call to follow up on their resume submittal.   

It may seem more convenient and less obtrusive to send an email, but that’s not how you will get noticed. Additionally, you might think that recruiters would be annoyed by getting phone calls from candidates, but frankly, that’s just not true. Years ago, before it became the norm to use email for resume submissions, a recruiter would get 50 calls per day. The hum in the HR department would be buzzing with recruiters on the phone. Today, it’s much quieter, thanks to the use of email and instant message to communicate. However, Recruiters are mostly extroverts who enjoy meeting new people, so don’t be shy. Your five minutes of effort will pay off in the end!   

If you’re unsure about what to say, write yourself a script and then call after hours when you can leave a voicemail. You should be friendly and brief, without being too pushy. You may say something like “Hi Recruiter, my name is Jane. I’m following up on a resume that I submitted for job requisition number 123, for the position of Senior Engineer. I’m sure you’re very busy, but I would appreciate a call back at your earliest convenience. You can reach me at (your phone number) or if I don’t hear back from you, I’ll give you a call tomorrow afternoon. Thank you very much for your time!”  

If you say you’re going to call again, CALL AGAIN! If you reach the person live on the phone, introduce yourself the same way and let them respond after you tell them why you’re calling. Remember; be courteous, friendly and professional. They will remember you! If they have time to talk, then ask them what they recommend you do to get an interview. Before you end the call, ask or tell them when you should follow up. And always thank them!  

Maybe it is old-fashioned, but calling the target company is much more personal and professional then just sending an email and waiting to see what happens. Your results will be better because you will stand out above the hundreds of other resumes.

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