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How to Stand Out When Job Searching, According to 7 Recruiters

The competition is FIERCE. There are often hundreds — if not thousands — of job seekers applying for a single position.

While it can be difficult to stand out from all of your fellow job seekers, it’s not impossible.

This week, seven recruiters share precisely how you (yes, you) can stand out during your job search:

1. Network before you need a job.

Start networking when you don’t need to. Too many people freak out about networking when they are out of a job. That is not the time to start building your network. Build up your social capital bank account in the good times so you can call on it in the bad. – Greg Johnson, AKA RecruitinGreg

2. Do your research.

Do your research on the company and on the position. Bring out on your resume what you delivered not just what you can do. Come from different angles if you know someone at that company try to reach out to them. – Henry Landau, Executive Recruiter, First Health Pro.

3. Keep your cover letter and resume polished.

A cover letter and a well-done, tailored resume are key to moving along in the recruiting process. – Heather Hanshaw, Senior Recruiter, Vernovic

4. Customize all of your documents.

Gone are the days where people used to print out resumes on linen paper and mail them. In our digital universe, there is no reason whatsoever not to customize your resume for each and every job you apply to. Read the job description carefully and try to include as many bullets — along with accomplishments — as possible in your resume that ‘speak to’ that Job Description. Also, when you look at your resume, make sure you are not simply showcasing a laundry list of tasks you perform. Instead of saying “I do x,” make sure you say, “I do x and it produced y.” – Jane Ashen – Jane Ashen Turkewitz, President & Chief Talent Officer at Hi-Touch Executive Search (; avid blogger on career-related issues

5. Don’t forget to leverage LinkedIn.

If there are thousands of applications for one job, forget it, unless you are the first few hundreds, you’re wasting your time (and the recruiter is wasting his/her time to go through all thousands of resume). Most recruiters get at least 150 – 250 applications for a job opening. To get through the line, compose an intelligently-written and thoughtful LinkedIn email to both the recruiter and the hiring manager on top of directly applying. – Helen Chao, Founder of Interview Right Consulting and Ascenditur Recruiting

6. Make it personal.

Personal connection. Reach out to the recruiter and manager. Or fellow alumni or colleagues who know the recruiter or manager. Or neighbors, friends, relatives, or anyone else who knows anyone who works at the company. – Rachel Conard, Chief Talent Officer, 1st St. NW Technical Staffing

7. Get a referral.

A referral is hands down the best way to move to the top of the pile. It might be a longer strategy, but it always works. Get to know someone at the company. Find a recruiter who has a relationship there. Be creative. And don’t ask for them to refer you when you first reach out. Actually build a relationship so the referral has substance. – Rebecca Oppenheim, Co-Founder/Managing Partner of nextOPP Search

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