Guest post by Eva Benoit 

Many qualified workers are looking for a new job these days. Some are unemployed, and others are looking for a new opportunity. There are more job seekers than there are jobs available, which means more competition for you to beat. Here’show you can diligently apply for job openings, impress hiring managers, and land that dream job.

Fill out your LinkedIn profile. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to get the most out of the site’s professional benefits. Fill out your experience and skills. Join groups. Grow your network by adding friends, colleagues, and former classmates. Write recommendations and endorsements for others, and ask for them in return.

Spruce up your resume with job-specific descriptions. Look for keywords, and adapt your previous job responsibilities to what the new job is asking. Focus on achievements. Don’t lie about your job experience; simply highlight your relevant experience and qualifications to show the recruiter that you’re the right fit for the job. While it might be a lot of work to create a custom resume for every job that you apply to, fewer targeted resumes will make a bigger impact on your job search ROI than hundreds of non-targeted resumes.

Keep your online reputation clean. Recruiters look at everything during the candidate-selection process. Since we’re in a digital age where everything you do can be found online, clean up your digital reputation with an optimized online reputation management plan.Those who have been attacked by a hate website or scam alert can work with a professional online analysis team to identify the attacker. If you can prove that the attack is false, a professional service can help you take legal action and possibly even get the content removed.

Apply for jobs through referrals. Competition is fierce, and it can be difficult to get an interview these days without a personal connection to the company. If you can get an employee or friend referral, then you’ll have a better shot at getting your foot in the door. Not everyone is connected to someone, so it might help to network with employees on LinkedIn. You can try cold emailing a LinkedIn member and finding some common ground to talk about. Once you build a rapport, they might not mind being asked to refer you for a job.

Follow up with the job poster or recruiter after sending your resume. Send a message directly to the hiring manager to let them know that you’ve applied. Recruiters are more likely to look at profiles and resumes of applicants who reach out personally to them. Applications that get submitted through public channels get put into a huge pile of unread resumes.

Prepare for the interview. Print a few copies of your resume to hand out to each interviewer. Dress to impress in a style that fits the job and industry. Practice your interview with a friend by answering these common interview questions. Look up interview questions that are typical for this job and industry.

Research the company before your interview. When they ask why you want to work there or what you could bring to the table, don’t let yourself get stuck without an answer about a company that you know nothing about. If you can identify a problem in the company and offer a solution on how you would solve it, then you can prove your worth. Ask questions at the end to show that you’re invested in the process.

Send a follow-up “thank you” email to the interviewers. You’ll stand out in their memory more if you show more effort and graciousness than the average candidate. If there was a unique moment or fact from the interview that you can reference, mention it to make yourself memorable.

Once you’ve completed all of these diligent steps, repeat them again for the next job. Although sending out hundreds of resumes might improve your odds at landing a job interview, you’re more likely to land the actual job if you put in quality effort and communicate effectively. It’s the only way to stand out and make an impression.

Eva Benoit is a life coach who specializes in helping people with anxiety. Contact her on her website here.

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