We all know what the process of job hunting involves. We know how to search for jobs, how to pick the most suitable ones from the list and how to send in a high-quality, well thought-out application. But then what? How do you give your application a better chance of making it through the quagmire of heavily subscribed openings?
In today’s super-competitive job market, it’s safe to say that most openings have an abundance of applications from candidates, many of whom will be applying on the off chance of an interview rather than making a serious attempt at getting the gig.
The result; you’re competing with a lot of people for very few interview slots, and through no fault of your own, you’re less likely to be in with a reasonable chance, unless you’re an absolute stand-out candidate.
To help, we’ve put together some creative ways in which you can attract the attention of the recruiters, and increase your chance of getting that all important interview where you can make your case of being the right person to hire.
1. Tailor-make your application
The purpose of a CV is to show the recruiter what you’ve done in the past, but they’re also trying to find out what you’re going to do for them and their business in the future.
A great way to show them you’re serious about the job is to create additional content to show what areas of their business you could benefit, or case studies of business you’d suggest they target. This reassures the selectors that you’ve thought properly about the role, and you’ve invested time into understanding the business properly.
For example, if you’re applying for a graphical job, create some mock up graphical content for one of their existing clients. Or if you’re applying for a job in sales, create your own mock pitch that you’d present to a client, including investment required, with forecasted returns and so on.
2. Use video or online content
There’s only so much an employer can learn about you from a few pieces of paper, especially when they’re digging through a great deal of pieces of paper from other candidates as well.
A fantastic way to show your confidence and sociability is to create a short video presentation to send with your paper application. Ideally, they’d be no longer than a few minutes in length, introducing yourself and a brief illustration of your main skills and experience.
This is designed to get them on hook and want to hear more from you, which is when the interview offer will hopefully come.
The same is true for a simple micro-website, or a profile on a portfolio website. They give you an opportunity to further display examples of your previous work, and more details about you.
3. Write a direct letter
Okay, admittedly this one sounds simple, but it’s by far the most underused way of getting your foot in the door. Any employer will tell you how rarely they are contacted directly by written letter by applicants these days.
If you know a company is advertising for a job and wants applications, separate yourself from the crowd by being a little more proactive than simply filling out a form like everyone else.
Before you write the letter, take the time to research who the best person is to address it to, often that will become clear quickly by looking on their website, but if not, try looking on places like LinkedIn to find out who’s who within the business.
Be honest and open in the letter, explain why you’re writing directly as well as applying through the normal channels. Follow this with some brief reasons why you want to work for them specifically, and why you’d be a good candidate.
This will hopefully push them to seeking out your normal application specifically and giving it the proper attention it deserves.
Above all, it’s important you try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. They will have applications from all over the place to search through, write-ups to do and on top of that they’ll probably have their day-to-day role to do at the same time.
Think about how you can inspire them to get in touch with you because great CVs don’t necessarily make great applications.
Finally, it’s important to remember not to fire out as many applications as you can find in the hope one of them gets a bite. To give the applications a good chance, you need to give them a lot of thought and planning. Pick a small number of the best jobs, and concentrate only on them; it’ll show in your application.
Stick to these tips, and give some of the more creative ideas a go to really make yourself stand out. Good luck with your applications, you’ll be attending interviews in no time.
Nick Taylor writes for Forward Role, an award-winning recruitment agency based in Manchester. The company is well established in the North West as being one of the leading recruitment agencies focussing on Marketing, Analytics, Digital and Creative. Forward Role have featured in national publications for their approach to recruitment and recently won a MARA award for Best Recruitment Website.