When you’re applying for jobs, you know you’re probably in a long line of qualified applicants. Use these tips to stand out.

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Applying for jobs is a challenging task, one made all the more difficult when you know your recruiter has dozens of other applicants to consider.

Instead of getting lost in the crowd, here are some things you can do to fast-track your resume to the front of a long queue:

Contact them first

Some recruiters and HR professionals appreciate you calling or emailing them before you submit your application. That way, they will be on the lookout for your application or, at the very least, your name will ring a bell when they see it. Be strategic with your timing, though; don’t call them at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday when they will be busy.

Follow up

You might not be able to get hold of them on the first attempt, or they might not respond to your first email. But it’s okay to follow up on your messages as long as you don’t do it too often. Waiting at least a week is usually recommended, but it depends on who you’re working with. Don’t think of following up as bothering the recruiter; think of it as showing how much of a go-getter you are.

Get the recruiter’s name right

Your ultimate aim here is to make a good impression, which won’t happen if you get their name wrong. Even if you’re looking at several different opportunities, make sure you know who you’re contacting each time and address that person appropriately.

Tailor your resume

Not tailoring your resume is usually a game-killer. If your resume isn’t tailored for a specific position, it looks like you didn’t care enough to put the time in. Make your resume relevant for the job you want and know the extra effort will benefit you later.

Make your resume catchy

Have a catchy personal profile or summary at the top that makes you sound interesting and committed. Recruiters read hundreds of profiles, and the more you can make yours stand out, the better. Don’t use the usual generic spiel and buzzwords—aim to think outside the box while remaining professional.

Prioritize information

Your resume can only be one or two pages, so the details you include need to be maximally relevant and advantageous. The information recruiters are looking for to bump you up the queue are your key skills and experience, so internships and job experience should be prominent. Emphasize the responsibilities and skills you acquired at each role by listing them under each title.

Be interesting

Hobbies and interests may not seem like the most critical section on your resume, but they’re still important. This is where you can show what you’re like as a person and what makes you different and fun. Don’t write about your run-of-the-mill hobbies like “watching movies” or “listening to music”; instead, include interests that give you a sense of uniqueness, traits that will help the recruiter remember you.

Apply early

It shows dedication, organization and awareness if you apply long before the deadline. It also means your resume will be one of the first the recruiter sees, and if it impresses them, it makes their job—and yours!—a lot easier. When you decide you want to apply somewhere, don’t stall; get that application out as soon as possible.

Anna Pitts is a Marketing Assistant and Online Researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. Her work involves PR and outreach and writing informative, interesting advice-based articles for graduates and students.


  1. AFA Julie

    I know people hear it all the time, but so few people really tailor their resumes as you mention. It’s worth the time and effort! I posted a story with a few resume tips today. We talked about what NOT to put on a resume: http://inside.americanfidelity.com/what-not-to-write-resume-tips/.

    • Daniel Cooper

      Hi,i want you please send me sample of a resume writing.i don’t understand how to write a professional resume.just the components.

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  3. musoleK

    You mention calling the HR contact before you submit an application; could you please eleborate on what the gist of this first contact should be.

    • Anna


      The gist of your first contact should be a general introduction of yourself and situation and to talk about the role. Explain where you heard about the role, why you are interested and why you think you would be a good match. Say you thought you would make direct contact to personally introduce yourself, but remember they are busy people so keep it short and sweet. The last thing you want to do is annoy them and waste their time. Make sure you thank them for having a chat with you and say you hope to hear from them soon.

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