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Practical Tips to Make Your Next Job Application Get Noticed

Job searching on the surface sounds fun, but after filling out endless forms and creating dozens of online profiles it can get tiresome. Let me share with you the best life-hacks to save you time, and increase your client response rate when you are shopping for your next career or gig! (NOTE: I've made the assumption that you've already created a resume you are happy with. If you'd like to make some last minute revisions, check out my guide to resume creation and interview preparation here. )

Make your resume 'pop'. It may surprise you to learn that up to six people may review your resume before it ever lands on a technical hiring manager's desk. Most of those reviewers are either computer systems, or non-technical people who are trained to eliminate anyone who is missing key skills or titles. Let's make it very easy to match your resume for an open job.

  • Customize your resume Job Titles to match the job you are applying for (where appropriate). IT job titles are often very fluid - a Systems Analyst at "company A" can have very similar duties to a Technical Analyst at "company B". If the job you are applying to is for a Technical Analyst, make sure your resume matches that title so that a reviewer is comparing 'apples to apples'.

  • Pick out the top 3 skills in the job requirement, and make sure they appear early and often in your resume. If your target job asks for PowerBI skills as the top requirement, make sure PowerBI appears in as many places in your resume as possible. An applicant tracking system ranks your resume not based on experience, but on how many times a keyword is mentioned. When listing your skills, more is better.

Autofill is your friend. Much of your job application time is spent filling out repetitive, online forms. Make sure you have your browser's form autofill features turned on to save yourself time. This also helps you keep track of all the usernames and passwords you'll be asked to create for your company-specific online HR profiles.

Is an online application asking you to break-down your resume into custom text fields? Don't agonize over it. Confidently parse, copy/paste the text of your resume - do NOT reinvent the wheel and spend time customizing text for these online fields. There is often only an automated system accessing the data on the other end, and no actual person is reading it. If a recruiter wants to know more about you, they'll open the resume. Spend the same amount of time filling out custom text forms as the company does reviewing it - that means, spend as little time as possible once you have a well-written resume! Copy/Paste will serve you well here!

Subscribe to job alerts broadly, even for job titles that don't immediately appeal to you. Job seekers often subscribe to job alerts for their narrow, perfect dream job. I would encourage you to not be too specific. You may want a Sales Manager job, but try typing in "Sales" to auto-select all the other titles that appear (ie: Sales Executive, Sales Leader, Sales Consultant). This opens you up to the maximum number of jobs in your area. The more applications you have, the greater chance you have at uncovering a great opportunity. This leads me to my next point...

When in doubt...Apply! As long as you're qualified for the job, there is no down-side in applying, even if on the surface it doesn't seem like your perfect gig. Job descriptions aren't always flashy, and the best descriptions don't always correlate to the best actual work environments. Don't be too choosey when applying - it's a numbers game. You want to apply broadly to start getting your name out there in the market! Think about job applications like restaurants - the $100 plate of food may look great on Instagram, but the $10 plate from the local hole-in-the-wall can be more satisfying when you try it.

Spend extra time on the applications that you are excited about. Applying broadly to jobs should give you an idea of what is on the market. When you come across something special - your perfect role - go the extra mile by making contact with the company via a phone call to increase your chances of a call-back.

If a role has been posted for a long time, just apply. The hiring process can be quite slow, especially given the current hiring environment with extra approvals or remote onboarding causing delays. If a role has been posted 30 days, it's still worth applying. Applying to a role when it's fresh on the market is always best, but your older application can also get you considered for the next time that role is released at the company ahead of the competition because your name is in their system.

Job shopping can be an exciting time! I hope these tips make it fast, easy, and enjoyable as you find your next, greatest role.