Landing a job a interview can be tricky, even if you are a qualified candidate – it’s competitive out there! Sending out job application after job application only to receive rejection letters – or worse, radio silence – might make you feel like your efforts are futile.

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Don’t take it personally. No matter who you are, job hunting is a challenge. It’s even harder when you don’t have an “in” at the companies you’re applying to (i.e. someone who can flag your application for HR or introduce you to a hiring manager). So how do you get noticed in a pool of applicants?

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The first thing to do is to make sure that your cover letter and resume are in the best shape they can be and that you feel confident about them.

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Check out our blog posts on cover letters and resumes – they’re great resources, even if you’re a seasoned professional!

Then, submit them as soon as possible!

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Don’t wait. The sooner you send in your job application, the better.

Why? Even if employers provide application deadlines on their job posts, there’s always a chance they might fill the position well before the deadline is passed. Additionally, for especially competitive jobs, there might be “application caps.” What this means is that if hundreds or thousands of people apply for the same job, it’s possible that only the first 100 or 200 applications will be reviewed by HR – otherwise the process will get too unmanageable for them.

Being one of the first people to apply for a job takes diligence – it means monitoring job boards and websites daily. It also means being able to write a quality cover letter in a short amount of time. Your goal should be to apply for a job within three days of the original posting.

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Land an interview? Don’t make it a wasted opportunity: Check out our post on post-interview etiquette.

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See a job you love but it’s been posted for a while? Of course it’s still worth applying – you never know! But in this situation, it may be in your best interest to see if you can take advantage of your personal network to make a connection. Check out this U.S. News and World Report article on the benefits of internal employee referrals for more information.

Applying for jobs can be stressful and demoralizing – we’ve all been there. You might be under pressure to pay off student loans and other college costs, credit card bills, and other general life expenses. You might just be eager to continue down a path towards a meaningful career.

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Apply for a job as soon as you see one you think you might be a good fit for. Don’t add it to your list of things to do for later. To get noticed, sometimes it can be as simple as being first in line. Try it, and let us know how it goes.

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