10 Ways to Stand Out in a Challenging Job Market

Posted By Staff Writer on September 1, 2016

After months of hard work, you've finally done it; you've received your degree and now you're ready to begin your career. You can't help but feel a bit intimidated, however, because the job market is tight. Don't worry— there are jobs to be had! The question is how you can get one of those employers to notice you. Here are 10 ways to improve your odds of landing a job, even in a rocky economy.

Commit to the search

Someone once told me that if you want a job working 40 hours per week, you need to spend the same amount of time looking for that job. If you are looking for something part-time then you can be more flexible, but if you want a full-time job be prepared to put in the time and effort to find it. Use the job ad as your guide Employers have a specific idea of what the ideal candidate looks like, and that's likely outlined in the job postings they publish online or in the newspaper. If you think you're what they are looking for, communicate that in your resume, cover letter and in an interview. Hone in on words like passionate, organized, loyal, etc. and build your profile around those needs.

Do your research

Research the companies you plan on applying to. Read recent new on their website, examine the services or products they offer and learn what you can about the company culture. This will help you to prepare for a potential interview, but you can also use this information in your initial application or resume submittal. Saying something like “I was very pleased to learn about your established presence in the industry and feel that I will be a great addition,” will show that you've done your research.

Tailor your resume

What kind of jobs do you want to apply for? Making this decision in advance helps you to craft a resume that will frame your experience in that specific area. For example, if you are looking for a sales job, speak to a potential employer's needs by highlighting previous sales or customer service experience. Do not apply for an office job when your resume demonstrates that all of your experience is driving the big rigs! Business Insider has some great recommendations for writing the perfect resume.

Write a killer cover letter

An impressive resume might land you an interview, but a well-written cover letter is what keeps that resume from landing in the trash can. This is your chance to shine, so take time to get it right. Explain why you're the right candidate for the job and how that employer will benefit by taking a chance on you (If you don't know how to write a cover letter, ResumeGenius has a few examples of industry-specific samples). Check and double check that your letter is clear of mistakes; it isn't a bad idea to have a friend or family member take a look as well.

Retire your corny email address may have been suitable for conversations with your high school friends, but it won't impress a potential employer. If you haven't already, it's time to create a professional email address. Try to include a variation of your first and last name.

Watch what you share online

Whether you're looking for employment or have a stable career, it's important to remember that your online presence affects your real-life career endeavors. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 43% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. When you're on the job hunt, be cautious of what you share on social media and what you allow others to share about you. If you want to play it safe, set your accounts to private.

Follow-up (the right way)

Many job seekers skip this critical step, but it's important to follow up after an interview. The key is to do so in a tactful and timely way. Immediately after an interview send a quick email thanking the employer for his or her time and expressing your desire to get the job. Check out this article from Forbes for “4 Non-Annoying Ways to Follow Up After an Interview.”

Stay organized

The desperation to find a job sometimes means that you've submitted dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes. Keep a list of the places you've applied and notes of who you have spoken with and what you have done to land the job. If you take the time to stay organized you'll avoid being caught off guard when a recruiter calls you and you don't know why.

Don't give up

Finding the right job requires patience and hard work. Spend the necessary time and give it your all. Stay positive and stay focused; that job will come! Happy hunting!

About the Author

Todd Kane is a healthcare administration instructor for Stevens-Henager College. He has more than 20 years of healthcare and employment experience and enjoys putting this experience to work for his students. Todd has a Master's of Business Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. is organizational leadership. Todd can be contacted at