It’s a competitive environment for job seekers these days— in spite of the fact that so many employers are bemoaning the skills gap and struggling to find the right people. At TribeHR we see a lot of resumes. Since we’re in growth mode, we expect to see a lot more.
We do everything we can to make it easy for candidates to apply and for managers to hire. Using our own social HCM software we accept applications directly from social media sites and track them through the entire hiring process right through to offers and onboarding. Yet, just like every other employer, we still struggle to separate the diamonds from the glass.
Here are a few things we’ve seen candidates do to hack the job search process. These five things can help you stand out from the crowd—we know this because certain recent hires used them to get noticed!
Job Search Hack #1: Leverage Gmail Labels and Filters
If you have the email address email@example.com you can create variations of this address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) as Gmail will ignore everything after the plus character, and still deliver it to you. You can then create Gmail filters on these unique addresses to:
- Send emails from this address to a specific folder by adding labels that automatically sort them for you.
- Increase the priority of emails from this address so you’ll notice them sooner.
- Forward emails from this address to another email address.
Remember to use your career-specific email address on professional networks like LinkedIn. Then, when people reply or reach out via LinkedIn, your Gmail filters treat that contact as job-search related.
Job Search Hack #2: Follow up Like a Boomerang
We’ve all heard that following up after an interview makes a good impression and increases your chances of being hired. Use tools like Boomerang to remind you to follow-up with every employer. You can even have it remind you to follow up again after a specified period of time if you don’t hear back.
Job Search Hack #3: Treat Employers like Potential Customers
Use tools like Streak to turn your inbox into a CRM tool. You can rate prospective employers, add notes to contacts and manage interview and follow up schedules, all without leaving Gmail. With Streak you can even see whether someone has read your email yet.
Job Search Hack #4: Show Them You’re a Diamond!
Create an industry-related blog (or write one or more guest posts on someone else’s industry-related blog), where you can show that you understand the industry and the career you’re pursuing, while demonstrating your writing skills. Remember to include the blog URL in your resume, email signature and on your networking and social media profiles.
If you really want to get attention, you might use your blog posts to analyze and add value to the specific companies you’ve applied to and then tweet them to let them know. That’s what Amar Chahal did to eventually get hired at Vidyard.
Of course, this route only makes sense if you really do have some specific expertise or insight to share and you can communicate it without appearing too cocky. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, so keep it professional.
Job Search Hack #5 - Try a Different Medium
It’s hard to stand out from the crowd when everyone is following the same resume and cover “best practices.” Sometimes using a medium or approach that’s tailored to the company you’re approaching may grab that sliver of attention you need to move to the short list. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:
- If you’re looking for a job in a design related field, create a visually stunning resume—this woman did, complete with a Lego avatar.
- For companies that embrace video – create a video resume. Submit it directly when applying if the format is accepted and include it on your blog and social media profiles.
- As a developer, when you’re researching target companies, you’ll notice those who host open source projects. Why not contribute something to the application that shows off your coding prowess, embedding your contact information and a brief job pitch? One company even encourages developers to apply via the API.
Getting creative with your job search tools and tactics may just give you an edge with employers who are looking for the difference that makes a difference. Will they notice that your entire job-related communication flows through a designated email? Our founder did and it moved one resume into the “read this” pile. If you’re also the one who sent a resume worth blogging about, followed up promptly and professionally, or fixed a pesky software bug—for sure you’ll noticed and given your shot.
Subscribe to the TribeHR blog for your regular dose of HR insight.