Standing Out in the Crowd

At Employment Services (formerly LDS Jobs), we'll help you become gainfully employed through education and networking with local companies.

When it comes to applying for jobs online, it is important to stand out from the other applicants. Online job postings can attract thousands of applicants, making the odds of getting an interview very small. In fact, only about 14 percent of all job seekers find employment through ads and the Internet. On the other hand, about 65 percent of all jobs come from networking within the company and by word of mouth.

If you can interact with the employer, it will help you stand out from the other applicants.

By incorporating several strategies into how you apply for jobs online, you can increase your chances of getting a job by more than 100 percent.

  • Verify that the company received and can access your application and any attachments.
  • Make contact with the people who make the hiring decision, ensuring they receive a copy of your résumé.
  • Network within the company.

The following story illustrates how these simple steps can help you stand out in the crowd of online job seekers and strengthen your chances of being hired.

Barry & Gary’s Approaches to Applying Online

Two people with similar interests and skills were searching for jobs on the Internet. They lived in the same city but did not know one another. Barry was the name of one; Gary was the name of the other. One day, they both found their dream job online, and as it happened, their dream jobs were the same position for the same company. They both carefully began to fill out their online applications. When they finished, they attached their résumés and, with feelings of satisfaction, they each submitted their information to the company.

Now here is where these two similar people went two different ways. As soon as Barry’s computer screen refreshed from sending his information, he jumped up from his chair and grabbed his sneakers. With a new sense of energy, he sprinted out his door and went for his morning run. While he ran, he envisioned himself receiving a phone call from the employer to schedule an interview appointment, having an enormously successful interview, and later receiving the position.

Gary, on the other hand, watched the screen refresh and started thinking about all of the people who were applying for the job. He knew his experience and skills matched the company’s needs, but he also knew his chances were slim because so many people would apply.

Gary decided to call the company for more information about the position and to make sure the hiring committee received his application and résumé. He briefly introduced himself to the secretary, Teresa, when he called and asked if the company had received his application and résumé. Teresa found it and verified that the attachment would open. Gary asked her some questions about the position, and she transferred him to Rich in the Human Resources (HR) Department. Gary learned more about the position from Rich. Then he asked Rich if he could send him a customized résumé that would reflect the information he had just learned. Rich gave Gary his e-mail address. Gary learned that even though HR screened the applicants, they did not do the interviewing. Gary wanted to talk to the hiring manager, so he asked Rich a more specific question about the position. Rich transferred him to Marci, the hiring manager, for the answer.

Gary and Marci talked for less than two minutes, but in that time, Gary introduced himself, Marci answered his question, and Gary arranged to send a copy of his customized résumé directly to her.

After Gary hung up the phone, he modified his résumé and e-mailed it to Rich and Marci. Then Gary called a couple of his networking friends for advice and asked them if they knew any of the company employees with whom he could speak.

He spent several minutes calling these additional contacts, and then he grabbed his car keys off the counter and headed to the gym. As he went, he glanced at his watch and smiled because his morning had been so productive. As he drove to the gym, he passed Barry, who was just getting back to his apartment after his run. 

Questions to Consider

  • How did Barry and Gary’s application strategies differ?
  • What can you learn from Gary?
  • How might Gary stand out from other applicants?
  • Why was it important for Gary to verify that the company received his application and could open his attachment?
  • How could Gary’s strategy help you apply for online jobs more effectively?

Job Seeker Strategies

Typical Job Seeker

  1. Find a job opening in an ad or on the Internet.
  2. Apply online and attach a résumé.
  3. Wait for the company to call and schedule an interview.

Advanced Job Seeker

  1. Find a job opening in an ad or on the Internet.
  2. Apply online and attach a résumé.
  3. Find contact information for the company.
  4. Call the company (keep each conversation under two minutes).
    • Goal: Talk to the person who will make the hiring decision.
      • Introduce yourself and briefly explain why you are calling.
      • Use your “Me in 30 Seconds” statement, which is three to five sentences that explain who you are and your skills and work objective.
      • Find out if they received your application and résumé.
      • Verify that they could open any attachments you sent.
      • Ask them several questions about the position and the company that will allow you to showcase your skills and abilities; come up with questions that apply to your field and expertise.
      • Ask key people, such as HR personnel and the hiring manager, if you can send them a customized résumé.
  5. Call two people from your network.
    • ​Tell them where you applied.
    • Ask them if they know anyone in the company you should contact.
    • Ask them for advice.
  6. Contact anyone they suggest.
  7. Consider and follow through with the advice they give.
  8. Thank each person who helps you.

Types of questions you could ask:

  • What are the organization’s needs, expectations, and challenges?
  • Ways that you and the organization can benefit each other.
  • Suggestions for names of people in the organization who could help you achieve your goals. (**See examples below)
Examples of questions and responses:
Example 1
Job Seeker: “Which companies have you been working with on this project?”
Employer: “ABC Corp., the ABC nonprofit organization, and XYZ Inc.”
Job Seeker: “Oh, I worked with ABC Corp.’s design team for the last five years. They are a good company, but they are often slow at accomplishing projects. However, as I worked with them, I saw how they scheduled their projects and I learned how to work with their timetable to complete projects 30 percent quicker without sacrificing any quality.”
Example 2
Job Seeker: “I enjoy improving my effectiveness as an employee by attending company training sessions and other skill-building workshops. Does your company offer training opportunities?”
Example 3
Job Seeker: “What version of the program does your company use to analyze the Web data?”
Secretary: “I’m not sure.”
Job Seeker: “Is there someone in your office who could tell me?”



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