You’ve heard it before – “The job market is crazy right now!”. Companies are mass-hiring, People are leaving their old jobs in droves, and recruiters are busier than ever.
At the beginning of the pandemic and throughout 2020, a lot of people lost their jobs. Most were laid off or, if they got lucky, they were furloughed with the promise to return to work… eventually. Now that things are getting back to normal, employers are having a tough time filling all those roles they let go.
It’s a candidate’s market.
It’s a candidate’s market – meaning these prime jobs at top companies are being flooded with applicants. I received over 240 applications for a mid-level role I was trying to fill in January of 2021. I had to learn quickly how to efficiently plow through those resumes, and my story is not unique. Most recruiters are able to identify a good candidate in less than 30 seconds – meaning you have about 30 seconds to stand out for the opportunity to get your next job!
Here are some tips and tricks to help you stand out in your next application:
After viewing hundreds of resumes, the words tend to blend together. We have to take breaks, rub our eyes, put on our blue light glasses. You may be a perfect candidate, but if your resume looks and sounds exactly like the 30 Indeed resumes we just saw, we might pass on you.
Add a photo, add some color, format your resume, and for goodness sake, don’t let Indeed write your resume!
- Standardized formatting
You know how one of the ways to impress the judges on the Great British Baking Show is to make sure all your cookies are the same size and shape?
The same is true for your resume! Your font sizes need to be standardized, check that your indentations are correct, and ensure everything lines up clearly within your margins.
- No spelling/grammar errors
This one speaks for itself. Nothing turns off a hiring manager faster than a bullet point that says “Excellent Attention to Detail”, and one paragraph over, you’ve misspelled your previous title.
Check your work! And better yet, have someone proofread your resume.
- Explanation of gaps
Let’s be real here, a lot of people have been out of work for a long time in the past couple years, an unusual amount of time. For the most part, recruiters understand these gaps in employment, but it’s nice to see that you’ve been productive in your time off. Explain the significant gaps (6+ months) as succinctly as possible. Did you take time off for parental leave? Were you laid off due to covid? A short insert about your sabbatical will help to clear up any assumptions we may have about why you’ve been out of work.
- Talk about your personal interests and side hustles.
Circling back to the original point, what sets you apart from the plethora of applicants is your value prop. What makes you the person we want on our team? Yes, for the most part it’s your qualifications and experience, but if you present yourself as an interesting person, AND as someone who can get the job done, you stand out. Hiring managers are more likely to hire someone who has similar values, goals and interests as they do.
Recruiters strive to make sure their candidates are well prepared, and look great. We will give you suggestions on your resume to help you stand out, but of course it’s always better if you beat us to it. Yes, we make money when you’re placed, but we also want to make YOU money. We want YOU to be happy in your next role, and we want you to get the job you deserve, at the right company, with the right salary.
What else do you want to know from your friendly neighborhood recruiter?