How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

Despite the record number of job openings available at present, many job
seekers still struggle to secure a good job. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 8 million adults in the United States remain unemployed, even though
there are currently 10 million open job positions. Even with a labor shortage,
employers remain selective. To stand out in the modern job market, today’s job
seekers need to put in extra effort and find creative ways to market themselves
as candidates. The following tips can help.

Optimize Your Resume

Today, many modern employers use AI screening tools to weed out applications,
meaning that a good majority of candidates get rejected even before human eyes
assess their resumes. Job seekers then need to craft their resumes so that they
meet the standards of both AI and human recruiters.

These screening tools parse through resumes in search of specific buzzwords.
To make sure AI screening tools take your application into consideration, make
sure your resume features the keywords included in your target company’s job
description. For example, if you’re applying for a Data Analyst position that
requires familiarity with Tableau, make sure to list your experience with Tableau.

Not all recruiters use AI. And even if your resume has to go through a machine
first, it will still end up in the hands of a human. This means that the usual good
resume practices still apply. Be concise and specific. When describing your work
experience, include measurable results. Lastly, keep your resume well-formatted
and readable, and double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Build In-Demand Skills

Of course, you can’t build your resume without first having the experience or
skills to write about. If you’re looking for a new job or career path, it’s very
important to identify the most in-demand skills in your target field. A quick Google
search can help, but if you want to get more specific, you can scan job listings
across your industry to see what companies are looking for. Programmers, for
instance, might find that today’s companies look for professionals who are adept
at specific programming languages, such as JavaScript, Python, and SQL.

Once you’ve identified what you need to improve on, look for ways you can fill
your knowledge gaps. Online courses are an affordable way to learn about the
basics. Websites like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare have thousands of
courses on today’s most in-demand job skills. Many online courses also come
with certificates, which you can include in your resume to prove your
understanding of a particular subject.

Improve Your Online Profile


Many modern recruiters use social media to find good candidates. Today, the
most popular social media website for professional networking is LinkedIn. Job
seekers use LinkedIn to display their work experience and professional profiles.
By building clean professional profiles that include the key search terms
recruiters are looking for, job seekers can make opportunities come to them,
instead of the other way around.

The two most important parts of your LinkedIn profile are your description and
your work experience. Treat your profile like you would your resume: use the
work experience section to include concrete details about your work
accomplishments. When writing your description, include keywords related to
your expertise. Take on a professional tone, and make sure your recruiter can
skim through your profile within a few seconds.

Seek Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

If you can afford to work without full-time pay, it can help to apply to volunteer
and internship opportunities. These opportunities let you develop in-demand job
skills through hands-on experience, which adds value to your resume. Volunteer
and internship opportunities can also connect you to other professionals, which
can open doors to new job prospects.

Job seekers that want to secure positions with good companies need to put in an
extra effort to clean up their resumes, craft impressive online profiles, and build
useful skills and experience. Passing this initial screening will then take you to
the next step: your job interview. Once you’ve caught the recruiters’ attention,
turn to our article on the best practices for job interviews for ways to seal the
employment deal.

Article written by Roane Jeffers