Don't panic, though. I've listed down four smart tips to help a talented jobseeker stay ahead of the competition and clinch the job. Follow these tips and be on your way to an exciting new career!
1. Follow instructions to the letter. Job listings would normally include a clear set of instructions on how to apply for the job. Read that carefully and take note of the steps. Follow it to the letter. Recruitment specialists are annoyed by candidates who fax in applications when instructions specifically said to email. More likely than not, applications that do not follow instructions wind up in the circular file.
2. Use your cover letter as a tactical tool. Your cover letter is an excellent tool to make a sales pitch. Make sure that you are clear, brief, and concise. First paragraph should state exactly the position you are applying for; last paragraph should contain information on your availability for a personal interview. The intervening paragraphs should explain clearly why your qualifications and experience perfectly match their need. Avoid using more than a page on your cover letter.
3. Make your resume easy to read and standout. When a recruitment officer flips through your resume, they'd be looking for items that help them evaluate your qualifications. It would be helpful to begin with a professional profile summarizing your professional achievements and skills. Follow with a section of your work history. For each position, describe your responsibilities in easy to read bullet points highlighting the skills or qualifications the tasks require.
4. Be purposeful on interviews. Answer questions directly. If it's a yes-no question, respond with a yes or a no. If asked to explain, be brief about it and respond with a view to pointing out your qualifications that match the job. In any case, always keep the details of the job listing in mind. Do a bit of research on the company and the position so you would glean a bit about what they are looking for and use that knowledge when responding to interview questions.
The key to clinching a job is to position yourself well. That means being impressively responsive. Business people are busy people. You know that. Therefore, communicating with the view to respecting the recruitment officer's time will go a long way towards having your name on a shortlist. So take your best shot and keep your fingers crossed.