When you’re eager to jump into a new role and have spent time and effort crafting a fresh resume, it can be almost soul-crushing to have your applications repeatedly rejected or simply ignored.
However, if you’re only applying to publicly advertised jobs, you’re missing out on a huge pool of opportunity. The perfect role is out there, and you can get it — you may just need to dig a little deeper to find the right set of hands for your resume.
If you want to catch more employer attention, follow these tips to market your resume like a pro:
1. First, Make Sure Your Resume Is Flawless
No matter how skilled you are or how smartly you market yourself, you won’t make any progress on your job search if your resume is less than stellar. The document should be well designed and easy to read. It should be a breeze for recruiters and hiring managers to find the critical information they’re looking for when they scan your resume. Keep your resume clean and readable with bullet-pointed lists. Ensure there is white space between each section, use a clear and simple font, and utilize bold text for subheadings and key information.
You should also ensure the most relevant and impactful information appears in the top third of the first page of your resume, as this is what recruiters will read first. Don’t forget to tailor your resume to each company and role you apply to. Finally, finish by triple-checking your spelling and grammar.
2. Make Your Resume Easy to Find
You have probably already applied to advertised jobs, and you should definitely continue to do so. However, you are not fully leveraging job sites to your advantage if you are not also uploading your resume to these sites. That way, recruiters and employers will actually start coming to you.
Hiring authorities use job sites to source, identify, and contact suitable candidates for their roles. If you keep an updated resume on the right job sites, you will turn up in their searches. In effect, the jobs will start coming to you.
Try uploading your resume to the big names like Glassdoor, Monster, and Indeed, as well as any niche sites that are relevant to your target industry or role.
3. Make the Most of LinkedIn
Most recruiters use LinkedIn as a key part of their recruitment strategies, and in many industries, LinkedIn is the first port of call when a new job opens up. For that reason, having a well-written LinkedIn profile is essential. Not only will this allow recruiters to contact you directly about relevant roles, but it is also quite likely that employers will check out your profile before inviting you for an interview. Make sure they like what they see.
Your profile should offer an in-depth view of your skills, strengths, and professional experiences. Build further credibility by asking current or former colleagues to leave you recommendations and endorse your skills as well.
4. Send Speculative Applications
When you apply to a job advertisement, you are adding yourself to a huge pool of competitors who all applied for the same role. The better bet is to get your foot in the door before a job is even advertised.
That may sound impossible, but it really isn’t. You just need to send out speculative applications. Essentially, this means reaching out to companies for which you’d like to work and getting yourself on their radars. Even if the organization doesn’t have a role for you at the moment, you will be top of mind when something opens up.
Do some research and make a list of target employers where your skills and personality would be a good fit. Then, use each company’s website and/or LinkedIn to find email addresses for relevant recruiters and HR managers. Once you have the contact info, send out a customized email detailing your interest in the company, why you’d be a good fit for the team, and what sort of role you are looking for.
5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up
If you have applied for tons of vacancies but have heard nothing back from most of them, there is no harm in following up. In fact, doing so may give recruiters a nudge to look at or reassess your application.
Keep a simple spreadsheet of all the jobs you apply to. If you don’t hear back within a week, send a polite, professional email to ask if the person has had a chance to read your application yet. Make sure to reiterate your interest in the job, why you’d be a good fit, and that you would appreciate the opportunity to interview.
By adding these tips and techniques to your job-hunting strategy, you can significantly boost your chances of finding the right role.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of StandOut CV.
Andrew Fennell is founder of the UK-based CV writing advice website StandOut CV. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes career advice content to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian, and Fast Company.