June 20, 2017

3 Tips To Gain a Competitive Advantage in Your Job Search

I recently read an article titled, This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First. I see numerous posts with similar titles such as this suggesting that if you “do this one thing” or “…these three things," your resume will stand out above the rest.  While I certainly believe that most are valid recommendations, I think there is one crucial piece that seems to be missing from these posts; applying for a job is not just about your resume. While a resume is the first, quick summary of your experience, it is not the end all be all of landing a job.

In the article above, the one tip the author begins to discuss is referred to as “above the fold”— the first part of the resume that a recruiter or hiring manager sees when he or she downloads your resume from their applicant tracking system. Is this accurate? Of course. Everyone’s eyes are drawn toward the top of the page when they begin reading. Is it important? To an extent. One of the first things a recruiter will look at is what you are currently doing and whether or not that position / experience aligns with the role you are applying for.

As an applicant, there are numerous things you should be doing to make yourself a competitive candidate for the dream job you are applying to. The few things I have found most important throughout my own personal and professional career are researching, networking, and applying.


Research the company and the role you are applying for. Who are their competitors? What are the backgrounds of other people on the team? What is their competitive edge and how would your experience add value? What skills are they looking for in this role? Preliminary research is a great way to help you decide if the role is truly a good fit for you.


We are in an age where we can Google anything and find almost anyone – use your resources and network! Get on LinkedIn, update your profile page, and start finding the individuals in the company you are applying to. More often than not, you will be able to find a recruiter, employee, or even the hiring manager. Reach out by sending them a message expressing your interest in a role and provide your contact information. Ask if you can grab a coffee to learn more about the role or the company in general. You may or may not hear back from them, but if they are on LinkedIn, taking that extra initiative can make all the difference


The last, formal, step in the process. This is where you get to utilize all those tips and tricks from those articles you Googled about how to create the best resume. Collect the varied information and utilize it to create a tailored resume. We often get caught up making sure we are putting in as much information about our experience as possible that we don’t necessarily make sure that we are emphasizing our experience that aligns with the requirements for the role. If you know the role you are applying for requires benefits administration experience, then make sure it is on your resume... “above the fold”. Use your research to tailor your resume so that it aligns with the job description requirements. Then, apply!

In closing, you can read all of the articles on how to format your resume and add that one thing to make you the star candidate. However, remember that a resume is only a piece of the pie. If you’ve found that dream role, do your homework and make yourself competitive on and off paper.

Tags: resumes

Lindsey Tapp

Lindsey is an Associate Recruiter on the Executive and Professional Search team at Taylor Strategy Partners, where she works with clients by identifying top talent for their organizations. Lindsey earned her Master in Human Resource Management from The Ohio State University. In her free time, she can be found exploring the food scene in her new hometown of Kansas City, MO and, as any Ohio native, cheering for her Buckeyes every Saturday.  


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