Be a Big Fish in an Overcrowded Pond Print E-mail

Alesia Benedict

How do you stand out as a great candidate in a sea of unemployed applicants competing against you? A hiring manager recently told us “I need to fill three key positions at the plant. These jobs are posted on and right now with the unemployment rate being so high, I’ve been getting 200-300 resumes per position. It would be ideal if I can find candidates through word-of-mouth.” The large crowd of candidates is not just a problem for you the job seeker, but also for the hiring manager. Hiring managers often look first to word of mouth referrals to find good candidates, save time, and make a better hire.

Having a network contact pass on your resume automatically makes you a big fish in the pond. The hiring manager above would pay closer attention to the resume of a candidate referred to him than he would to the 200 resumes dropped into the database from the job advertisement. Hiring is still a people-centric action. People hire people. Computers don’t hire people.

Technology can make it easier but it can also make it more difficult. It is important to make sure your job search is multi-faceted and includes not only responding to online ads but networking, cold submissions, targeted marketing, and recruiter contacts. Big fish work harder than little fish to make themselves stand out in the crowd. Successful candidates have a great resume, a cover letter that grabs the reader, and a plan to use those tools aggressively to gain attention. Are you a big fish or are you a minnow? Minnows sit back and wait for something to happen. Big fish go after things aggressively and proactively!