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With the high rate of unemployment and so many people clamoring after the same jobs, it pays to stay ahead of the employment game. The trick is discovering and perfecting ways and means of doing so. If you are performing a sales vacancy search, there are many other job seekers doing the same thing. One of the best ways to stand out is to boost your job profile to get noticed by prospective employers. Here are five easy tips that will help:

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The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Using the right resume format will make sure your application isn't tossed out just for being unreadable by a machine. Related: Top 7 Resume Trends For 2015 These days, companies screen candidates and resumes in two ways. The first is through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). All resumes (including those directly emailed to companies) are loaded into the computer, parsed and automatically searched for a match with keywords from job announcements (or keywords entered into the system by the recruiter/hiring manager). Only those resumes that have a good keyword match are selected for further review by the hiring manager. If a resume cannot be read by the Applicant Tracking Systems, it is rejected. The second method recruiters and hiring managers use to find candidates is “sourcing” candidates by searching online resumes for possible matches using keywords. Again, if a resume cannot be read by search engines, it will not be selected. Therefore, you should avoid using JPG and PDF files. Many Applicant Tracking Systems can reliably read only text or Word files without tables. Applicant Tracking Systems cannot read JPG files at all. If a resume is in JPG format, it will not even be seen by the hiring manager. In addition, many older Applicant Tracking Systems also cannot read PDF files, and if an applicant submits a PDF that is not readable, it will also be rejected. You may be the most qualified candidate, but that you will not be chosen for an interview unless the Applicant Tracking System can read your resume. If you want a fancy online resume, using PDF as a format is far preferable to JPG, since PDF files can be searched for keywords by search engines. As noted above, you want hiring managers and recruiters to find your resume through online searches. If a search engine cannot read the resume, you will not be found. I strongly recommend using simple Word formats for resumes, with standard fonts, no tables and margins of at least 0.6 inches. Resumes like that will print on all printers, will not be rearranged even by outdated versions of Word, can be read by Applicant Tracking Systems and can be searched online. This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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In the last article of our How To Stand Out series, life coach Bibi Caspari talked about how considering your passions can help separate any job seeker from the competition. Though passions are powerful, Caspari also finds that defining your strengths in order to articulate them to your potential employer is another way to help a job seeker stand out. Watch: 3 Tips For Making Your Resume Stand Out To Recruiters “Everybody has strengths,” said Caspari. Caspari works with a lot of at-risk individuals, both youth and adult. She's found they typically feel they don’t have a whole lot to offer a company because they’ve been in jail or prison. They don’t think they can get hired, which sets them up for failure. “A lot of people don’t see their own strengths,” said Caspari. “Whether you’ve done time or not, getting a fresh perspective from a life or career coach can help you notice things about yourself you never thought could be strengths in the workplace.” But how does one even begin to define strengths or how to stand out? One of Caspari’s courses, "Looking at Strengths," helps answer this question by asking five questions that help individuals pinpoint what they are good at. The questions include:

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When you're presenting yourself to employers, you want to stand out from the crowd. Some people try to use gimmicks, like pink resume paper or a quirky cover letter. These kinds of attempts nearly always backfire; they scream "I'm trying too hard! I don't have any other way to stand out!" and discredit your candidacy. Related: How To Stand Out To Employers When Applying Online Instead of relying on a gimmick, choose one of these ways to stand out to employers and hop head-and-shoulders over the hundreds of "uniquely qualified" candidates.

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Just because you may not feel the pressure of layoffs doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels in your career. Maybe that’s not the situation you’re in. Perhaps, you have a job that makes you unhappy. No matter your scenario, there are plenty of reasons to leave a stable job. Every job is temporary these days. Employers are still complaining about the lack of qualified applicants for their openings, which means there are ample opportunities for smart job seekers to improve their conditions, no matter how good or bad they may be. These signs (and similar points) have simple solutions: with a little homework, you could find the perfect company for your career development.

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