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How to Get Your Job Application Noticed

by Catherine Lovering

When the job market's tight, many job-seekers follow the same advice. Lots of people are looking for employment via the Internet, posting to recruitment sites and forwarding resumes to potential employers. You can take a few concrete steps to help your application stand out from the rest. Focus on techniques that highlight your positive attributes and not ones that make employers turn the other way.

Focus On Achievement

Online job applications are normally forms asking for standard information. Use this opportunity to highlight your skills in the most positive way possible. Instead of listing your duties at past jobs, turn your job summary into a highlight reel of your achievements. Rather than simply stating you "lead the sales team," write that you "ran a sales division that was responsible for 45 percent of company sales."

Use the Right Keywords

Online applications go into databases. Computer software will look for certain keywords you've used that match what the recruiter seeks. Be sure to include the keywords in a particular job posting in your online resume, so you're hitting the right targets. Use action words such as "managed," "recruited" and "supervised" when listing experience required of potential candidates. If you have the experience, use the identical keywords.

Focus on the Employer

Use any opportunity to provide extra information that highlights your benefit to the employer. You should also indicate that you know the company you're looking to work for and understand its specific needs. Stating "I have the IT skills specific to your new product line" is more effective than "I have valuable IT skills." Including a cover letter is also important; with this document, you can further elaborate on why you're the right match for the job.

Send a Paper Copy

In the era of online applications, sending an additional copy by mail may seem out-of-date. It's one of the best ways to get people to notice your application, however. Call the company and ask for a contact or address the application to the manager of the section you're applying to. If you can get a phone number, following up a few days later to confirm receipt of the paper application is acceptable.

Use Personal Connections

Networking is important, especially when you can use connections of those you know well. If you have a friend or a colleague that works in the company you're trying to work for, use that connection. Have the friend give you the name of a contact within the company, or to take it one step further and alert the hiring manager that your application is coming.

Avoid Gimmicks

Many techniques will get you noticed but won't increase your chances of getting hired. Showing up at the company several times a day or phoning a person more than once or twice after submitting an application will make hiring managers know your name. It may not, however, increase their desire to work with you.

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