Tips for landing the job among stiff competition

Regardless of what business or industry you’re in, it’s a buyer’s market, employment-wise.

And while that may be bad news for job seekers using a traditional approach, it can be quite the opposite for those willing to invest a little time, energy and creativity into their search.

“Finding a job or putting yourself out there for a job has become much more of a sales effort than it has been in the last few years,” said Evan Woodson, an account executive with a local job-placement and recruiting firm. “There are about 10 applicants for every one job now, and there are more people getting laid off than hired at this point.”

Woodson advocates the following methods to increase your chances of not only getting a second look, but maybe even interviewed and hired:

Have more than one resume.
“I tell people to have five resumes per application,” Woodson said. “Have one that you e-mail, another that you hand them, a third for the first interview, and so on.”

In other words, know whom you’re going to be talking to, and what they’re looking for, and tailor your resume accordingly. And be able to spell out your experience at every level; a lot of people may have your skill set, so explain why you’re better than most.

Don’t pin your hopes on Internet job-search sites.
“I joke about this a lot with clients, because a lot of those sites are going to become obsolete fairly quickly,” Woodson said. “If you go to some of them, the majority of the postings are for work-from-home positions and a lot of them are scams.”

In other words, don’t just fill out an online form and sit back expecting the phone to ring. Review the classifieds and check into using a recruiter or placement agency as a headhunter for you, especially if you have a lot of experience in a particular profession.

“I’m seeing a lot of very qualified people now, and the real-estate industry is a good example,” Woodson said. “They are great sales representatives and were very high up in sales for the region and the state, but the market’s down and they can’t support themselves on what they’re now bringing in. With someone who’s got that kind of education and experience, they should be able to find some work.”

Better low pay than no pay.
Gaps in a resume can be killer, even for someone whose work history is very specialized. Better to take a temp or temp-to-hire job while you’re looking than do nothing.

“What you’re offered may not be the ideal situation at that point, but there may be an opening down the road much more suited to you,” Woodson said. “If you go six, eight months to a year without work, it’s going to be much more difficult to get back into the marketplace. If your work experience remains fresh, even if you weren’t using some of your professional skills, there are ways to show that you were working that job out of necessity.”

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