How to beat out your competition when applying for jobs

It's important to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd & give yourself the best possible chance of success.

If you're looking for a new job, use these tactics to ensure you stand out from other candidates and are ahead of the competition.

As the year draws to a close, many people start to look to the future and think about what they want the coming year to bring in terms of career and lifestyle. If you’re in this position, and are keen to land your dream job or a top promotion next year, it is important to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd and give yourself the best possible chance of success.

These are some key ways you can go about beating your competition when you start to apply for new jobs.

1. Get Your CV and Cover Letter in Good Order

First, it’s important to ensure you set yourself up well with an excellent CV and cover letter. To stand out from dozens, or even hundreds or thousands of job candidates, you must find ways to get noticed for the right reasons. Submitting documents which are free of typos, grammatical errors and other mistakes is a good start, so always have someone else with fresh eyes look over your work before you send it. As well, use one of the more common, professional, and easy-to-read fonts, and keep it at a decent size so readers don’t have to squint to take the details in.

Your CV should also be completely up to date, with all the relevant information about your recent accomplishments, responsibilities, positions, training, and qualifications included. It pays, too, to spend time researching the company you want to work for to understand what the job might entail, what the corporate culture is like, and how you could fit in well. Once you have this kind of information and understanding, tailor your documents accordingly to showcase this suitability.

The layout and structure you use on your CV is also a big component of success. For example, it helps to make your document easy to scan, because most hiring managers must look at dozens of CVs each day and don’t have time to read every single word. Use plenty of sub-headings and bullet points, and always break up the text into smaller chunks rather than long paragraphs.

Use these CV templates to help you structure your CV

2. Develop Relationships with Key People

Another good idea is to be proactive and develop relationships with key people such as hiring managers, business owners and managers, and potential colleagues. By getting to know people who have a say in who gets hired, or who can let you know before jobs even get advertised, you will have more chances to beat the competition.

You might like to attend relevant industry and local conferences, trade shows, networking events, and other occasions where you’ll have the chance to mingle with people you have identified as ideal connections. Online networking, by way of social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, can also be really helpful, and give you an outlet to demonstrate your expertise in your field, and attract attention from key people as a result.

This is how you can find job opportunities you didn’t know are available

Internships and other volunteering opportunities can also be helpful when it comes to meeting the right people. Even though you won’t earn income from giving up your time in this way, you will get to meet people who could suggest you for a role or remember you when you apply for an advertised position. Plus, you’ll also get the chance to learn more about the way the company operates, what recruiters look for in candidates, and what you can bring to the table.

3. Take Advantage of Referrals and Testimonials to Get Ahead

Lastly, when there are hundreds or thousands of people going after a job and you need to find a way to get ahead, it is always wise to take advantage of any referrals and testimonials you can use to stand out from the crowd.

For example, make it known publicly (if possible) that you’re looking for a new role, and the type of position you’re keen to land. This will give your friends, family members, colleagues, past co-workers, or bosses the chance to keep an ear out for job opportunities for you, and they might even recommend you to someone who is hiring.

Can’t broadcast that you’re looking for new job opportunities? Don’t worry. You can register for Job Alerts and we’ll send you the latest jobs in your sector.

If you have been laid off from a job, find out if the company that let you go has outplacement services available. If so, as part of this process you might be able to receive testimonials and reference letters from managers, co-workers, and clients that you can use to better your chances of success in your job applications. The outplacement firm may even directly refer you to another employer for a role. 

Tiffany Rowe is a writer for Seek Visibility, contributing regularly to Careers24’s career advice section, with a focus on the finance sector. She is passionate about developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.

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