POSTED ON

12 Dec 2017

No one ever claimed that landing a job is going to be easy. Of course, even from the get-go you know it’s bound to be a challenge. But until you’ve actually experienced farming out your resume to hundreds of posts, until you’ve had to sit through dozens of interviews, until you find yourself waiting for several weeks on any news about your application, you won’t realize just how daunting of a task it can be. And if it’s any consolation – or maybe not, depending on how you look at it – you’re not alone in this endeavor.

According to statistics compiled by Glassdoor for employers, it’s revealed that an average of about 250 resumes are sent for every corporate job vacancy in the U.S. The numbers further indicate that out of those 250 applicants, only 4 to 6 people will get called for an interview. Those are not encouraging figures, but then again, it will hardly come as a surprise. After all, with the rising number of graduates every year, the demand for jobs will just continue to increase.

Graduate education online portal No GRE conducted research that shows the number of jobs requiring its candidates to have better education, training, and experience has doubled since 1980. The same research referred to some of the most influential companies and found out that most of their employees are from the top 200 colleges and universities. That’s a whopping 95 percent out of all Facebook employees, 80 percent for those who work at Google, 70 percent for Morgan Stanley, and 60 percent for Microsoft. This just means that you can’t simply waltz at your job application and expect to get an offer; you have to prove you’re prepared for the role.

Today’s HR managers and recruiters are actively looking for more than just the right set of skills to fill a vacancy. Having the needed skills and qualifications already goes without saying; you also need to be able to adjust to the culture of the company you’re applying at. Ready to stand out from the crowd of other job seekers? Here are a few things you can do to give yourself a competitive edge.

Build an effective resume

It has been said over and over again, but it’s still worth taking note of. Why? Because you just can’t underestimate the power and influence of a well-crafted resume. Your CV is your initial selling point to recruiting managers and prospect employers, so whatever you do, you can’t afford to mess it up. Research findings reveal that HR spends less than 6 seconds on resumes – so you definitely have to make yours count. Below are some hacks on how to improve your credibility on paper:

  • Use headlines or summaries that highlight your work success and accomplishments.
  • Utilize important keywords that are relevant to the post you’re applying for. Remember that more than 75 percent of resumes are generally discarded by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
  • Make your resume easy to skim. Most people prefer breezing through documents rather than actually reading them, and HR is no exception. Put important information where it’s easy to locate.

Do volunteer work.

What goes around comes around. It’s true for how hard you work, how you carry yourself, and how you treat others. Do you want to contribute to a good cause while scouting for a job? A study backs this up, revealing that applicants who get involved in charity work actually raise their chances of getting hired. According to Helene Jorgersen of Center for Economic and Policy Research, those who volunteered between 20 and 100 hours in the year had approximately 7 percent increased chance of getting offered a job the following year, compared to applicants who didn’t volunteer. So pitch in at your local soup kitchen, help out at a nearby animal shelter, or spend a few hours a week at an orphanage. You’ll not only make your city a better place, you’ll also help yourself find a job faster. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

Make use of your contacts.

This is interesting to note. If you’ve not taken advantage of your professional and social network while looking for a job, now’s the time to do so. In 2015, LinkedIn’s recruitment trend indicated that out of 4,125 hiring decisions made across 14 different companies, referral was considered as one of the main sources of high-quality hires. So what does that translate to? It means that you can ask your friends and colleagues if they know of any vacancies in their companies, particularly companies you’re keen to work at. Having an inside contact can help you stay informed of job openings and give you an advantage in following up on your application. Spread the word that you’re out looking for work; you never know where your next job will come from.

If you want to go on a more independent job search, then it’s best to polish, tweak, and update your professional profiles. LinkedIn has become the main source of quality hires over the course of the last 4 years, and it certainly isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. On the contrary, in the 2015 US Recruiting Trends report published by the company, it’s revealed that almost half of the companies (46 percent) in the U.S. use a social professional network to recruit new employees, closely followed by employee referrals (44 percent). While your resume is limited to just 2 pages, an online professional profile will let you showcase everything relevant about your career and work life. Use that to give yourself an edge.

The stiff and rigorous competition in the job market is universal. You’ll encounter it just about anywhere in the world, and it will affect you whether you’re a fresh graduate or eyeing a senior management post. To say that today’s job hunting can be overwhelming is a dire understatement. But while there’s no magic formula to automatically transform it into a walk in the park, you can implement strategies like the ones above that will make the search smoother and less taxing on you.

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