The past couple of years have been a rollercoaster, to put it mildly, when it comes to the marketplace, careers, the economy, and more. The uncertainty that has been around since political drama and a global pandemic hit has made many people’s positions at work vulnerable and led a lot of employees to reconsider their career choices. 

If you’re keen to move onto a new role or have been laid off and need to find a new position ASAP, you want to do everything you can to beat out the competition when applying for jobs. Here are three tips for doing just that. 

Fine Tune Your Job Application Documents

If you’re to have a shot at making it to the interview stage for a role, you must have finely tuned job application documents. Your resume and cover letter are the first things HR personnel and business owners see when examining candidates, so make it easy for them to tell, right away, that you’re worthy of investigating further. 

To develop a CV that gets results to use effective formatting. Readers are likely to be looking at dozens or even hundreds of documents, so skim over each one to see if it’s worth reading more closely. As such, make your resume scannable, broken up into bite-sized information chunks with plenty of headings. Use a clear, easy-to-read font in a decent size, too.

Always put the most crucial information about yourself first, especially those things relating to skills and experience mentioned in the job ad. Try to focus on specific accomplishments to draw people in. Mention some of the actual results, in percentages or numbers, that you’ve created for employers over your time in roles. Plus, look for ways to show you keep learning new things and developing as a worker, such as completing courses or being part of a mentoring program. 

Tailor your CV and cover letter to the specific job you want and the company you want to work for. You can use template documents as the basis for your applications, but always tweak some elements before sending them off to show you understand this particular employer and what they do and look for. The job ad should give you some clues here. 

Before sending off job application documents, read over them carefully to see if you can pick up on typos, spelling or grammatical errors, and other issues. You probably won’t spot some problems yourself, so get an objective third party to review your work and pick up on mistakes, too. 

Work on the Helpful Relationships You Have

Next, think about the valuable relationships you already have that you can utilize to help you get ahead in the job market. For example, do you have friends, family members, past colleagues, or bosses working at companies where you’re keen to join who might hear about positions opening up before they’re advertised? 

Or do you know people in business groups, industry associations, or other places who could refer you to their contacts and help you jump in front of your competition? Keep in mind that many roles get filled without ever being publicly mentioned these days due to word of mouth and recommendations. It’s worth seeing if you can be one of these people who pick up work that way. 

Don’t Wait for Things to Happen 

Don’t sit back waiting for a job to land in your lap. Be proactive and continue to network and meet new people and put yourself out there. You never know where relationships can lead you. Speak at and attend events, showcase your knowledge online via social media and blog posts, get involved in forums, and otherwise be active and open to opportunities. 

If you’re being let go from a current job, see if the firm you’re leaving has outplacement services available that you can utilize to help you move forward. Outplacement firms help people update their application documents, practice interview coaching, plan a career strategy, network, and much more. Having access to this kind of assistance can significantly affect how quickly you land a new job. 

Plus, reach out to recruiters. Approach them directly (always being respectful of their time) and let them know your background, what you’re looking for, and the types of roles you’re interested in. You might also get in touch with the firms you’d love to work for. Introduce yourself, find out if they have any openings coming up soon, and see if you can leave your resume and cover letter with them on file. 

Depending on your career level and if you’re going down a new path or not, you might also consider volunteering your services for a period or applying for internships at top companies. This time is well spent because you get to know the people at the firm, get a foot in the door, and prove how valuable an asset you can be. 

Going after a new job can be stressful and time-consuming, but following these three essential tips will help you to rise above the rest.