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by Vault Careers | December 05, 2011


In today's tough job market, those looking for work will have to try extra hard to attract the attention of potential employers with a well-written resume and cover letter that highlights their relevant skills and helps them stand out from a crowded field of qualified applicants.  Sometimes that’s not even enough.  Competition is good, especially if you’re winning.  Here’s how to get on top and get the job you want:

Be honest.  Job seekers who have been out of work for a while, either due to the economic downturn or personal reasons, need to make sure their resume and cover letter

reflects their desire to get back into the workforce and show that they have an understanding of how their chosen industry has changed since they last worked.

Write a resume from the bottom up.  According to Fox Business News, many hiring managers actually scan a resume from the bottom up to make sure it tells a story with no illogical transitions. Resumes should have a solid, concise theme.  A mistake in your resume is all it takes to lose out on a potential employment opportunity.

Assess.  Candidates need to assess their job skills to make sure they are relevant to the positions they will be applying to and to make sure they are in line with their long-term career goals. Many recruiters and hiring managers will want to know where a job seeker sees themselves over the next 5 to 10 years, so candidates need to be prepare to talk about why they are attracted to the industry and their future aspirations.

Write a compelling cover letter.  Job seekers should think of their cover letter as their first introduction to a potential employer. It should be personalized and emphasize the qualifications already included in a resume. Just like the resume, a cover letter should also be concise and straightforward.

Practice interviewing skills.  Often times a hiring manager will set up a quick 15-minute phone interview to use as a screening process in order to evaluate whether the candidate is potentially a good fit for their company. Job seekers should prepare two to three stories that highlight their work experience that focus on relevant work-related themes.  Once a job seeker is called in for a face-to-face meeting, they should be prepared to expand on their work experience and talk about how they would approach doing the job if hired.

Use social media to enhance online branding.  A number of recent studies have found that more recruiters are using social networking websites to find qualified candidates. Job seekers should make sure they have a strong online professional presence that will help them brand themselves as an expert in their field.

--Published Courtesy of Brafton


Filed Under: Job Search