10 Ways to Up Your Odds of Landing the Job

By Laura DeCarlo

Now you have a fantastic resume. What should you do with it? Although the Internet makes uncovering a gold mine of job possibilities easier than ever, your mission is to separate the gold from the sand in finding the right opportunities for you.

Sending your resume in the right tech form

The big question savvy job seekers are asking right now is which form they should use to send resumes to a specific online location, such as a job board. Read the instructions on each website, of course, but you have the following three options:

  • The full-design resume, when used as an online document, conveys a visual message as well as information expressed only in typographic text.

  • The plain-text resume is an online document constructed without formatting in plain-text file format.

  • The hyperlinked (or linked) resume is an online document that anyone can access easily by moving from one website to another.

The Lemke Guide can help you select the perfect format for each submission.

The Lemke Guide removes the guesswork from how effectively your resume will hook up at various onli

The Lemke Guide removes the guesswork from how effectively your resume will hook up at various online sites.

Forget chasing every job

From this moment on, let loose your online resume only when you have serious qualifications. What’s in a selective distribution policy for you? Plenty:

  • You don’t waste your time, leaving more of it to thoughtfully respond to job postings for which your prospects are realistically bright.

  • Your hopes aren’t dashed for something that’s not going to happen, causing you to suffer the black-hole blues.

  • You don’t blemish your image with recruiters, one of whom may someday shepherd you to a terrific job. Recruiters, whose income depends upon finding “perfect” candidates for specific positions, are likely to be annoyed if you send them generic resumes over and over.

Hit the bull’s-eye with your resume

Most generic resumes are now goners. Make it easy for employers to consider you for a specific job by matching your resume to the job description for each job you target.

Use the exact words the job description calls for. If the job says you must have “more than three years of experience,” say precisely that; don’t assume the applicant tracking system (ATS) software will figure it out from the dates. Never try to impress by overstating what you offer.

In customizing your online resume, pay special attention to the requirements section of the posting. Tailor and submit a different resume for each position you qualify for within the same company.

Move fast, follow guidelines

When you’re hotly pursuing a job opening, timing is destiny. Those who apply first have an advantage: As soon as a prospective employer finds several promising people, interviewing begins.

Pay attention to the date a position is posted because listings more than a few days old may already be filled. You can still apply, of course, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back because the job is no longer available.

Neutralize chilling information

Use your email to skirt two knock-out punches that can cause a screener to fly over your resume:

  • Location: Employers resist the expense of relocation unless your talent is unavailable in their locale. Tell a true version of a story like this: Suppose you’re in Montana and the job is in Atlanta. Say in your email that you went to school in the South (or vacationed there), love it, and, at your own expense, hope to return as soon as possible.

  • Money: A job posting asks for your salary history or salary requirements; you fear you’re a little rich for the company’s budget but that as soon as they appreciate the value you bring, it won’t be a problem. Say in your email that you look forward to disclosing the personal information at a job interview and ask whether you should bring copies of your W-2 forms.

Go directly to the decider

When your resume is stuck in a black hole, send another copy to the hiring manager — the decider. But how do you find the name?

  • Call the company and ask.

  • Research the company’s website, which usually displays leadership bios and main phone numbers.

  • Try a web search for the company name plus the decider’s function or likely title.

  • Check out people-finding sites, such as ZoomInfo and Spokeo.

  • Send word to all your connections that you’re interested in the job and ask whether they can name that name.

  • Consider using fee services to reach hiring managers, like LinkedIn.

  • If you’re a college student or graduate, your alumni office or career center may provide alumni contacts at companies you’re targeting.

Find an inside advocate

Your number-one best way to get hired is to find a valued company employee who is willing to act as a conduit to the hiring manager. Harried and hurried hiring managers may decide the best way to hire good people is to consider those recommended by satisfactory employees.

Your next best move: Find an inside advocate who can deliver your resume to the company’s HR recruiters and say a few encouraging words about you.

Keep on keepin’ on

When you don’t hear a word back, it may not be your fault. Here are a few things that could have sent your resume into the employer’s abyss:

  • The job was cancelled or frozen, denied budget approval, or never existed outside the hiring manager’s wish list.

  • A job listing may have been contracted for 30 days, but the job was filled on day five and the recruiter simply forgot to take down the listing.

  • The job was a high-turnover gig and posted even when there was no immediate opening because managers like to have replacements standing by.

  • An employee in the job was on the firing line but received a last-minute reprieve.

  • Worst of all, a job may have been locked up for a friend or internal candidate but posted to prove the employer abides by fair hiring practices.

Go directly to company websites

Thousands of companies big and small have career sections on their websites. They don’t necessarily advertise all of their openings on pay-to-post job boards, meaning you may discover hidden jobs by reviewing company sites.

Use job boards with caution

The count is elastic from year to year, but estimates place the number of job boards operating globally as high as 50,000. Job boards have become the dominant information source for identifiable open jobs.

But, here’s the downside to all that information:

  • You and every other job seeker in the world know about job boards and are accessing them.

  • Job boards can suck up your time and make you feel like you’re being productive when in reality you’re only being busy.

If you decide to go the job-board route, check out the ones offered by these companies:

  • Weddle’s, a top consulting firm in the recruiting industry, annually conducts the Oscars of online employment boards. Recruiters and job seekers identify which sites they like best. Each year 30 employment sites receive top honors and are listed on both Weddles.com, and the International Association of Employment websites.

  • CareerCast.com is a job portal containing 1,001 job boards that are powered by Adicio in the United States and Canada.