If you want to get hired for your dream job, you have to stand out from the crowd. Sean Weinberg from resume analysing website RezScore offers tips for getting your resume noticed in a sea of competitive job-seekers.
Reverse write your resume
This one is no fun, but can be really effective. Forget everything you already have on your resume. Go open a new blank document. On your second screen (if you're a Lifehacker reader, you have two screens, right?) pop open the job description of the job you're seeking.
Now reverse chronologically write your resume, by focusing exclusively on "what have I done that the people who wrote this description will like?" If you can, match it bullet by bullet (try not to be too obvious about this). The process of building a resume from scratch that is targeted towards a particular job forces you to let go of the unnecessary material you have in your generic resume. Be a salesperson, not a fact-reciter.
Subtly nod to the employer using colour
I just tried this fun little experiment with one of our RezScore resume writing clients and it went over really well. The client was applying to work at Coca-Cola and wanted to differentiate herself somehow, since it is so difficult to break in to Coke. We wanted to do something subtle that let Coke know this was a targeted application, while not being cheesy or overly aggressive. The trick ended up being very simple. We used Coke Red to colour the client's professional headline. That's it; the rest of the resume was done in the usual fashion.
Because we used Coke's very well-known red colour for the headline, the HR person knew my client was targetting her resume, and was impressed with the subtlety of the pitch. The next time you apply to a company with a recognisable logo — try using a bit of the colouring somewhere in your resume. (Note: we DO NOT recommend copying and pasting the logo itself into your resume!)
Submit your resume to a paid StumbleUpon campaign
Paid Discovery on Stumble Upon is really, really cheap ($0.10 a click or less), and targetting is pretty easy. Toss up a quick job seeker site or About.me page and launch a paid StumbleUpon campaign. This can be especially effective if your target employer uses StumbleUpon (you can target their account). You can also try this with your Twesume on Twitter (abominable word, I know) or you can sponsor a Reddit ad.
Start randomly endorsing skills on LinkedIn
It's a bit kiss-ass but it works. Really, really works. Go and send out some unsolicited recommendations to your previous colleagues, bosses, and partners. Go on a recommendation and skills endorsement spree and don't ask for anything in return. This has the effect of building up a bunch of goodwill towards you while reminding people you are out there. Make sure the recs aren't generic; people can see your other recommendations so duplication is unwise, but you can keep them short.
Pick a public fight
It's a risky strategy, but go pick a Twitter or Facebook fight with a professional expert in your field. Call them out on something. Don't be nasty, or call names, or go on angry rants — but do call out any BS, silliness, jargon, or outright lies you see propagated. This will obviously turn off some employers, but it may have the effect of getting your name in front of leaders in your industry; especially the contrarian ones. Smart employers love hiring opinionated people who are comfortable taking risks and going against the grain. I've noticed another great way of doing this is to call into one of your industry's podcasts to make a point. And believe me, every field has someone out there doing podcasts.
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyses, and grades resumes — instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Sean spends his days dreaming up new, unique, and effective ways to help job seekers get hired.