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How to Make Your Resume Stand Out in a Crowded Job Market – Part 2 of 2

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out in a Crowded Job Market – Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of “How to make your resume stand out in a crowded job market,” I talked about the resume itself and the 3 key components your resume needs to capture a decision maker’s attention.

Just to recap, these 3 factors were… making sure your resume:

1 – Is branded

2 – Is focused

3 – Provides proof of your brand and statements by using quantifiable achievements and context.

In part 2 of this article, we’re going to look at ways to actually get your resume into the hands of hiring managers.

After all, you could have put together a highly powerful resume, but if you use ineffective job search methods, it simply won’t get noticed. Job searching has undergone some drastic “nip and tuck” the past few years. It’s not just the economy that makes for a more competitive landscape. These days, your resume may not be the first thing a company sees from you. With the proliferation of social and business networking sites, it may be your online profile(s).

So you need to know how to craft your resume, but you also need to know how to market it, and market yourself. In the end, isn’t it about companies showing an interest in you, whether it’s through your resume or another medium? The majority of employers will Google you during the hiring process. They may even find you online to begin with, or be referred to you by someone who’s seen your profile online.

The good news is that you can be in the driver’s seat by going after the hidden job market and using social networking. You definitely don’t want to passively apply to positions you see posted online. This has an average 2% “success” rate. To be truly successful in today’s competitive job market, you need to use a combination of offline and online networking. It’s still great to network in person and sometimes sending a hard copy of your resume will make you stand out in a time where email has become the norm. (Gen Y: that’s what those little square pieces of paper – stamps – are for.)

All kidding aside, whatever you do, you always want to establish a connection or even a relationship. Even if it’s through one of your contacts. If you can have your resume handed over to a decision maker by a key contact within your target company; great! That would be ideal. When going the online route, the emphasis should be on positioning yourself as an expert in your field vs. asking your network for a job. Social networking is perfect for this! You do this by commenting on other people’s blogs that are relevant to your field, by having your own blog and web site – yes, a web site! – and by answering questions online, engaging in groups discussions, and posting articles about your expertise.

You also want to identify hiring managers – not HR! – at the companies you’re interested in online so you can approach and target them with your messages. After a while, you’ll be seen as an expert and a resource. Next, people may even approach you and refer you without you having to ask because you’ve created relationships within your network and provided value to others. It’s crucial to avoid the mistake of asking people in your network for a job. It’s needy and most people don’t have jobs to hand out. This means: end of conversation. It’s perfectly fine to ask for leads for informational interviews though.

With these strategies, you can work the hidden job market more easily as well. What this means is that you are going to find out about a company’s hiring needs well before they’re ever advertized or posted. But beware…when profiling yourself online, you need to know your own brand. Otherwise, you won’t stand out or you may even send out the wrong message about yourself.

For tips on how to brand yourself, please refer back to part 1 of this article.

Combining the strategies from part 1 and part 2 will give you a very big competitive edge.

Readers, I’d love to hear your experiences with these strategies. Have you been able to carve out a niche for yourself online? Have you found a great way to get noticed? Which aspects of the job search do you find most challenging?