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By Sarah Layton

How can you stand out in a competitive job market?

In today's competitive job market, it is increasingly difficult to stand out to potential employers amongst a growing pool of applicants. For any given job opening, the applicants and resumes can be fairly similar and will start to blend into one another for the hiring manager.

Therefore, if you want to have an edge over the competition, you need to make an extra effort to be unique and memorable. Here are a few ways to make sure that you stand out above the competition:

1. Highlight your accomplishments

When describing past jobs, applicants often list and detail their responsibilities for each position. Instead, you should use this valuable space to showcase what you accomplished in each position. This will showcase the value of your work rather than describe basic job functions.

2. Write a targeted cover letter

A carefully crafted cover letter that has been tailored to meet each employer's needs and expectations is necessary to stand out. Feel free to use your cover letter as an opportunity to show your personality and pizazz.

3. Invite your`self to an interview

It may sound a little crazy, but one of the best ways to stand out is to simply show up at the prospective employer's business and ask for a few minutes of their time. Use the opportunity to briefly introduce yourself and hand them a physical copy of your resume, cover letter, and both personal and professional references.

4. Enhance your online presence

Make sure that prior to sending out your resume you review your online presence. It is not uncommon for potential employers to run internet searches of prospective candidates. In many cases, the only things available will be social media accounts. Make sure that there is not anything on your Facebook or other social media pages that you would not want a prospective boss to see. Remove the questionable material or make your account private so that they will not have the ability to see it.

Also make sure that you set up a LinkedIn account if you have not already. If you are looking for a position in one particular field, it is a good idea to write at least one or two blog-style posts on the kinds of topics that might interest an employer in that industry. If you have not updated your information or resume on the site, it will be important to do so.

Once you are confident that your profile is polished and represents you in the best positive light, reach out with a connection request to your potential employer. This is a great way to keep your name and face in their mind. The more they are aware of you, the more likely you are to stand out to them. Not to mention, the regular pursuit to stay in touch with them and get in front of them, will show any employer that you are tenacious and persistent.

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