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How to Land a Job in a Competitive City



Your resume is impeccable and your skills speak for themselves.  So why do you still feel like just another face in the crowd?  With so many talented applicants in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, it can be hard to identify what one can do as an eager job seeker to shine and stand out.  Most recruiters are overloaded with candidates just as ambitious as you, and although they know what it takes to stick out of the pile, unfortunately you’re not able to read their minds.

But you can certainly come close.

In the cutthroat digital sector, for example, we know there are a few ways to make the elite applicant’s resume magically rise to the top of the pile. Take notes – these game changing actions will up your chances drastically, and force recruiters to always take a second look at your profile!

Timing Matters

pexels-photo-28094It goes without saying.  You gain a competitive edge from the get go by acting quickly. Apply the moment you see a great position posted to show the recruiter you’re on top of your game and actively invested in the opportunity.  According to a study conducted by career network, which compared those who landed jobs after applying online to those who didn’t, quick responders are 7 percent more likely to get the job over those who may be even a day behind.

Talent acquisition source Ere Media agrees:  “Finding a position opening late can’t help your chances because the first resume is received within 200 seconds after a position is posted.”

Another time management tip: Savvy seekers don’t waste time on positions that aren’t a good fit by scrutinizing the job requirements critically. Put yourselves in the shoes of the hiring manager to see if your experience is too much of a stretch for the desired position.

Lastly, once you have an interview lined up, it’s a given that you need to be on time—no ifs, ands or buts. For important first impressions, every minute late might as well equal ten.

“Finding a position opening late can’t help your chances because the first resume is received within 200 seconds after a position is posted.”

Tailor Your Application

If you’re seeking a role in the digital atmosphere in a place as cutthroat as New York City, be prepared for battle. Companies that can’t compete with the compensation or quality of life perks that Google and sexy startups offer—like free gourmet food and massages, time off to trek through the Himalayas, etc.— are now targeting engineers and developers from smaller cities.

So, here’s how to showcase yourself for any position…and leave the others in the dust. The secret is to approach the application process scientifically.

  1. Read the job description and list the required keywords
  2. Create a tailor-made resume and cover letter for each specific position. Voila, your chance of getting the job offer increases by 10 percent.
  3. Be sure the customized resume is in a scannable format and that the key elements (job titles, companies, education, dates and keywords) are easy to find in a six-second scan.
  4. Apply as an employee referral if you can. Those resumes are reviewed more closely.
  5. Keep your LinkedIn profile clear as this is often the first place a recruiter will go to check you out.


Hjob-interview-1one Your Business Communication Skills

Don’t try to impress with jargon or buzzwords. It’s one thing to show you know about current innovations and quite another to show what actions you took that relate to these trendy phrases.

Don’t be afraid to brag! The interview, much like your resume, is a chance to tell compelling stories that exemplify your knowledge.

Always cite facts and research you discovered about the company to maintain a competitive edge. Go beyond spending just a few minutes on the employer’s home page of their website and really take the opportunity to wow them. Media reports, social media accounts, white pages, and even Wikipedia can prove invaluable resources.
Don’t let the search in a competitive city get you down. Remember that it can take six months or beyond to land the role you’re after. Those who are thorough, quick on the uptake – and willing to put in the leg work – are the ones who will prevail.

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.