How to Get Ahead in a Competitive Job Search Market

When COVID-19 led to widespread unemployment, it also made the job search market more competitive. Millions of professionals are now actively seeking out new opportunities, a situation that hasn’t been experienced since the Great Recession, an event that actually had a lower unemployment rate.

As a result, candidates have to find ways to stand out from the crowd. That way, they can secure a new position quickly, allowing them to achieve some financial security and move forward with their careers. If you’d like to know how you can get ahead in a competitive job search market, here are some tips.

Enhance Your Skillset

The strength of your skillset has a big role in your overall degree of career success. By focusing on enhancing what you bring to the table, you create an opportunity to get ahead of the competition, making it a smart move.

Ideally, you want to focus on in-demand skills. While those can vary depending on your field, learning to use the latest relevant technologies is almost universally a wise choice. Otherwise, research what industry leaders and trend-setters are seeking, as well as review must-have lists in job ads for your dream role, as those could be strong indications of what’s desirable in your niche.

It’s also wise to develop soft skills. Communication, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and similar capabilities are sought by employers in every industry. While finding formal education in these areas can be challenging, you can hone your abilities by taking on side projects or volunteering in a position that lets you put them to work.

Submit a Tailored Resume and Cover Letter

When you apply for a job, go the extra mile. Make sure that you tailor your resume to that specific position. Add in any keywords that align with the must-have skills and similar requirements. Adjust your professional summary and work history to showcase the most relevant achievements and skills.

Additionally, even if one isn’t explicitly requested, write a targeted cover letter. A cover letter is an opportunity to offer a more personalized introduction to what you bring to the table. Additionally, you can use it to address topics that you can’t speak to on a resume, including resume gaps, reasons for pivoting into a new field, and similar subjects.

Follow Up Appropriately

After you send in a resume or participate in an interview, make sure to follow up with the hiring manager at the right time. For applications, when you should reach out depends on whether there is a formal closing date or initial resume review date listed.

If there is a date included in the job ad, wait three to five business days after it passes. That way, you are giving the hiring manager enough time to review the applications. When a date isn’t listed, reach out five business days after you submit your resume.

For interviews, always send a thank-you note within 24 hours of meeting with the hiring manager. In many cases, it’s best to handle it as quickly. For in-person interviews, consider writing one the moment you return home. For video interviews, wait about one hour and then take care of it.

Beyond that, post-interview follow-up may depend on whether you were given a decision date. If so, feel free to follow up one business day after it passes, suggesting you haven’t heard anything. If not, wait five business days and then reach out.

Standing out from the crowd can be challenging, but by following the tips above, it is possible.

Looking For A Job?

If you’d like to learn more about how you can separate yourself from the crowd, the staff at GSG Talent Solutions can help. Contact us today.


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