Job Search Tips: Standing Out of the Applicant Pool

Many of us are quite familiar with the job application process - and a process it is indeed. Does any of the following sound familiar?

You apply to a number of positions with customized, beautifully polished resumes. Maybe you had numerous people review it with their input. Maybe you even paid an expert to spruce it up with those key buzzwords and wow-worthy skills to pass through the Application Tracking Systems (ATS). Your cover letters are stellar, and also custom-tailored for the job. Everything looks just dapper on paper, so you ship out the documentations of your best professional self out into the cyber-abyss. 

One week goes by. You think to yourself, "It hasn't been long enough, I'll wait."

Two weeks. "I'm sure they've got a lot of applications to sort through."

Three weeks. "If I don't get an interview request, can I at least get a rejection? Something?"

Four weeks. "I wonder if my application was ever even seen by human eyes..."

Unfortunately, this sequence of events can be highly relatable and familiar for job seekers. We get stuck in the guessing game after sending our resumes and cover letters to the battlefield, wondering if they were ever defeated, faced in combat, or just got lost along the way.

What if rather than spending all our time on resumes and cover letters, we used some time reaching out to recruiters, hiring managers, or even professionals we are inspired by? Here are some tips to get out of the application robot rut, and stand out from the crowd. 

Tip #1  Explore the unadvertised job market

Jobs that are posted online are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless jobs that never make it on the job boards for the public, because they are brand new or the company would rather hire from a closed network. An obvious solution to this problem could be to reach out to professionals in your network and ask about open opportunities they may have inside tips about, but there are other ways to leverage your current network. Which brings us to Tip #2. 

Tip #2 Change your "ask"

Often, asking flat-out for a job may not be as valuable as conducting an informational interview with someone in your field of interest. Asking people for career advice is a great way to gain insight about how you can apply your current skills to the job, where you can use them, and how someone with your particular background may get the job you desire. 

Tip #3 Schedule an advice meeting with a professional

Believe it or not, mid-to-senior level professionals are often enthusiastic about meeting with young professionals to talk about their career journeys. Don't forget, they learn a lot about you during these meetings as well, and considering your generation is the the majority future of the workforce, they may see this as a mutually beneficial meeting. Don't be afraid to reach out to folks in your LinkedIn network, university, alumni network, and even right here on myHCN. These meetings are a great way to build trust, subtly sell your strongest skills, save time, build intrigue, and possibly even get referrals!

Bottom Line: Going the extra step and building a face-to-face connection can really make all the difference in your job search. The resume/CV, cover letters, and written references are an excellent package deal, but sitting down for coffee and shaking hands is the premium package you owe to yourself. 

Found any of the above tips helpful? Have something you've found in your own personal method to be of value? Share this article and comment below!

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