How to Stand Out from Your Competition on Online Job Boards

How to Stand Out from Your Competition on Online Job Boards

More and more people are turning to online job boards to look for career opportunities. In fact, a recent report revealed that around 120 million resumes are currently stored on online job posting websites in the U.S. alone. The same study showed that on average 245 people apply to a single job posting.

If you want a chance of finding a job on an online job board, it’s important to know what you can do to ensure your application won’t be lost in the shuffle of 200+ other applicants. Most job openings are designed to hire just one person, so making yourself stand out is necessary.

So what exactly should you do to get your application noticed? Here are some useful tips:

Have a Solid Online Presence

Whether you like or not, you will most likely be Googled by potential employers.  So make sure what comes up in the search results is the best of your online presence. Take this opportunity to outshine your competition.

Create an Impressive LinkedIn Profile

Employers run Google searches on candidates and LinkedIn is most likely to show on top of the results page because it is the largest business-oriented social network to date. Take some time and effort to create a winning LinkedIn profile.

Use a compelling headline, a summary that highlights your competencies and a professional headshot. Having a complete and searchable profile, with detailed relevant experiences and keywords is critical to attracting the right kind of attention. You should also join groups, follow industry leaders and companies, and participate in discussions to establish your authority in your field.

Maintain Credible Social Media Profiles

Like LinkedIn, social media sites tend to rank well on Google. It is likely that one of the first things a recruiter will see when they research you online is a collection of your social media profiles. Plus, a recent survey revealed that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. So make sure that they won’t find provocative photos, discriminatory comments, complaints about your job, or any inappropriate posts that could damage the reputation you’re trying to build.

Employers are looking for professionals who can contribute something positive to their business. If the recruiters find something that doesn’t jive with their organization on your social media pages, they’ll likely move onto the next candidate. Look good online but don’t be fake. Lying about your qualifications or background will probably backfire.

Develop an Online Portfolio

Impress hiring managers by using a website as a personal branding tool. It’s a great opportunity to provide more information about your skills and experience than your resume ever could. Unlike resumes, you won’t be limited to the “one page rule” with a personal website. Create a winning online portfolio that employers can visit for a more detailed look at you. Dedicate a page to showcase your best work and provide employers with a link in your application. Remember to always arrange your portfolio to highlight the most current and relevant work you’ve done.

2. Tailor Your Resume

If you’re applying to a lot of different types of jobs, it may be necessary to change your resume for each specific application to highlight your skills that are best suited for the job. Take some time to compare what you have on your current resume to what the employer is looking for.

Read and Understand the Job You’re Applying For

Read the entire job posting. Make sure it is clear to you what it’s asking for in a candidate. For instance, don’t just apply to every seemingly relevant job posting online. Do yourself a favor and read the job posting thoroughly. Mark all of the most important aspects, particularly those that match your skills. It’s hard to tailor your resume for a position if you don’t fully understand the job description.

Highlight Your Relevant Points Immediately

After you know what the employer is looking for, edit your resume and place the experiences or skills that would make them most excited about your application at the top.

There’s no hard and fast rules in tailoring resumes. The trick is finding what is most relevant, creating a section for it, and making sure it will catch the eyes of the hiring manager.

It’s also recommended to cite concrete examples of when you demonstrated the qualities that the employer is looking for, rather than simply providing general descriptions like “impressive organizational skills” or “strong leadership abilities.”

Don’t Forget Your Cover Letter

All your efforts to create a perfectly tailored resume will be put to waste if you send it with a generic cover letter. Make sure you also spend enough time writing a custom cover letter that complements your resume.

First, include an appropriate salutation at the beginning of the cover letter. Include the name of the contact person if you know it. If not, use a general salutation and capitalize the nouns,  such as “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

The body of your cover letter should explain why you are interested in and qualified for the job for which you are applying. Be specific and include keywords related to the role. Then close your letter in a professional manner. Use closings such as “Respectfully,” “Best,” and “Sincerely.” Avoid using casual closings like “Love,” “Cheers,” or using smileys and abbreviations.

In your signature, you can include your LinkedIn profile URL and online portfolio to make it easy for your recipients to learn more about your skills, accomplishments, educational background, and work history.


It will take more than just a great resume to stand out in today’s competitive job market. If you really want to rise above the rest, be consistent and persistent. Build and maintain a credible reputation online, personalize your documents, and find creative ways to brand yourself.


Maggie Aland

Maggie Aland is a staff writer and marketing expert at Fit Small Business, where she writes how-to guides and articles on marketing for small business owners.

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