In today’s hyper-competitive job market, you need to do everything possible to make your resume and cover letter package stand out from the other applicants. Use these strategies to maximize the chance for your resume to get the result you want–a face-to-face interview.

  1. One of the most powerful items you can include in your resume package is recommendation quotes from former employers. Adding quotes from each reference contact to the information on your references page (usually the reference name, title, current employer, phone #, email, and relationship to you) sends a powerful endorsement of your qualities, and will certainly set you apart. Here are some other ideas for ways to deliver these powerful testimonials:

Written recommendations on company letterhead. Scan and convert to .pdf format and include with your resume submittal.
Link to your LinkedIn profile, where the quotes can be read. By the way, if you aren’t actively using LinkedIn for research and networking, you are probblu
Add a “Recommendations” section to your resume, boldly and proudly!

  1. Another way to separate yourself from the competition is to utilize old school paper mail. Think about it: nowadays, the amount of printed mail delivered to most offices is low, so there is a chance that your printed and mailed resume package might get opened! Mail it on nice resume paper and matching envelope directly to the hiring manager(s) with a copy to HR. You will stand out even more if you send it in a flat, easily opened 9” X 12” envelope, mailed first class.
    Of course, always send your resume package via email as well as to maximize your chances of success.
  2. Go direct to the hiring manager rather than just relying on HR. When you find a job posting you want to apply to, find out the name of the hiring manager or someone who works in the same department, and send the person an e-mail directly. It’s 2012, which means almost anything can be found online, including names and e-mail addresses. A LinkedIn search on the company should turn up a list of employees and their titles, from which you can select the most appropriate person. Then, search the company website or company press releases for the company’s e-mail format (9 times out of 10 it’s either or
  3. Effectively utilize the subject line as a marketing opportunity! Instead of the boring “Application for sales position” use “Jon Smith’s Resume-Dynamic Quota-Busting Sales Rainmaker.” If you were referred by someone, use the name in the subject line for a better chance at a response.
    You can use a similar tactic with the titles of your resume documents. Instead of “resume.doc” use “Experienced Accounting Clerk, Bob Snnith.doc” or “Certified Sales Trainer, Bob Smith.doc”
  4. FOLLOW UP WITH A PHONE CALL! This is something that will definetly set you apart. For best results, call both the hiring and hr managers and ask for the interview. THis is not the time to be meek, and beside what do you have to lose? Most likely you wont happen to catch them live, but that’s okay–LEAVE A VOICEMAIL!!! Be articulate, professional and persistent and tell them 3 things about you that make you better than all the other candidates. Then tell them how excited you are about the position and the prospect of working at their company. Close strong by asking directly for an interview! In many cases this will at least give your resume a better chance of being reviewed.