While the American economy seems to have recovered finally from the troubles of seven or eight years ago, competition for good, higher-paying jobs is still pretty fierce. After all, just because unemployment is low doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens or even scores of highly qualified applicants trying to get the same jobs you’re vying for.
With so many options available to them, how can you convince a potential employer that you’re the more appealing choice? From going back to school to boost your credentials to crafting a better resume, here are five different ways you can become more competitive in the job market.
1. Go Back to School
No matter where you are on the degree ladder, inching up another rung or two is likely to help you out. Especially if you seek out a degree with a lot of professional clout — like a Master’s in Business Administration — you’re going to place yourself ahead of others trying to get the same job.
Whether you attend part-time or you jump in with both feet and take 18 hours, getting a more advanced degree, or just being on track to get one, will separate you from the rest of the competition and make you much more appealing to any employer looking for a worker who stands out from the pack.
2. Professionalize Your Online Self
From Pinterest and Instagram to Facebook and LinkedIn, make sure every aspect of your online existence has been scrubbed of dodgy doings in favor of becoming more polished and professional. One of the first things most of us do upon meeting someone new is find out what we can about them online, and you can be sure a potential employer is going to do the same.
So, take care on social media that you look like someone a potential boss would want to work with. Additionally, make sure all your email interactions with a potential employer are personable and professional. Don’t let your behavior in virtual reality negatively affect getting a job in the real one.
3. Really Research the Job
When some people apply for a job, they take a one-size-fits-all approach and fire off the same resume and cover letter to a dozen different jobs. While this tactic certainly is fast, it will make a potential employer doubt whether or not you want the specific job available at their company or firm.
To avoid this pitfall, spend a good bit of time researching both the company for whom you would be working and the job for which they’re hiring. Then, tailor your resume and your cover letter to that job in every way. By doing so, you’ll let the human resources department and the person hiring know that you see their company and their job offer as unique. You’ll also be that much more prepared for an interview if you’re granted one.
4. Craft a Better Resume
Not all resumes are created equal, and if yours isn’t up to snuff, it will keep you from landing the job of your dreams. In addition to adapting your resume to each job you apply for, you need to also ensure your resume is formatted for easy reading in a digital environment and that it’s been proofread thoroughly.
As more and more companies turn to applicant tracing systems to screen resumes before a human ever turns an eye to them, it’s also necessary to craft a resume so that it can make it past any software that forms the first hurdle. In order to accomplish that, make sure your resume includes the following:
- No typos
- No charts or graphs
- Clear labeling of education, skills, experience, and contact information
- All of the keywords that were in the original job listing
5. Crush the Interview
By the time you’re granted an interview, a lot of your work has already been done, but unless you outshine the other people who are also interviewing for the position at the interview stage, the job won’t be yours. To crush the interview, be sure to:
- Practice answering potential questions ahead of time.
- Dress appropriately.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Listen closely.
- Ask questions.
Getting a leg up on the competition when you’re looking for a job is essential in today’s job market. Follow these five suggestions to look more appealing to anybody who has a job to fill.