Job searching? Take a cue from ‘The Price is Right’

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Your job search is a lot like “The Price is Right.”

Think about it. In both cases, hundreds of people who want the same thing try to get the attention of one person (Drew Carey/ the hiring manager), in the hopes of competing for the grand prize (an RV/ a new job). In both cases, it can be hard to get yourself noticed. So, like the people on “The Price is Right” who wear feathers and glitter and outfits made of Plinko chips, you might need to put in a little extra effort to stand out from the crowd in your job search.

Fortunately, though, you won’t need to dress up in a cheesy t-shirt and jump around on national television to do it. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, simply taking a few extra steps in your job search process can make all the difference when it comes to catching the eye of a hiring manager.

“While the job market has begun to move in the right direction, competition continues to remain high for open positions and job seekers need to stay on their toes,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Employers not only expect thank- you notes, but cover letters as well. Approximately one-third of hiring managers say a lack of cover letter will likely result in them not considering a candidate for their open position.”

In addition to sending cover letters and thank-you notes, recruiters say there are also small tweaks you can make to your résumé to help it stand out. The following catches their eye most:

  • Bulleted list of accomplishments (51 percent)
  • Career summary at the top (40 percent)
  • Relevant keywords (39 percent)
  • Résumé that is customized to the open position (36 percent)

Want further insurance that you’ll get noticed during your job search? Here’s how to tailor your résumé, cover letter and thank-you note so that you’ll jump out from the competition:

Cover letter

Your cover letter is the first impression you give to a potential employer. This is where you convince human resources they need you. Remember these three things when creating a cover letter:

  • It should expand on, not just reiterate, the most relevant skills and experiences from your résumé.  
  • It should be employer focused. While it’s important to state why you are interested in the position, your cover letter should demonstrate how you can help the company by working there, not how landing the job will advance your career goals.   
  • Do some research on the company before you write your cover letter. Then, incorporate that research by telling the employer how your experience supports the company’s mission statement or a new business initiative.

Résumé

Your résumé can be a little trickier, because it might not only be a human eye that you’re trying to catch. Companies both large and small are using keyword-search software in their hiring processes these days, so it’s important to make sure you always send out a search-ready résumé by incorporating keywords from the job description.

Also, focus on bulleting accomplishments instead of just job duties. Highlight how you saved previous companies time or money, or new ideas you had that the company implemented. The more quantifiable results you can emphasize, the better.

Finally, ditch the résumé objective in favor of a summary of your work experience. Objectives focus too much on what you hope to gain from the job, not what you can offer the company.

Thank-you note

According to the CareerBuilder survey, more than one-in-five hiring managers said they are less-likely to hire a candidate who doesn’t send a thank-you note, so don’t take any chances by neglecting this small but important step.

You may feel like you’re being repetitive, but use the thank-you note to restate your enthusiasm about the job and your qualifications for the position. Also, be sure to cover all your bases. If you interviewed with more than one hiring manager, send a thank-you note to each person.

Last but not least, says Haefner, be professional and concise in all of your correspondences. “One-in-five hiring managers say they spend 30 seconds or less looking at a résumé, so all your communications need to be professional and to the point,” she says.

Have you done something that’s helped you stand out in your job search? Tell us about it in the comments section.

42 Comments
  1. I’ve done all of the items listed above but what I also do is send a thank you note (sometimes written sometimes by email depending on the company) to the initial HR admin who arranged the interview after I have completed the interview.

    I usually thank them for the directions, logistics, etc. This goes a long way and I’ve found on more than one instance that I had to work with this person once hired. Usually they say I’m the only person who cared enough to do that.

    • On more than one instance… Hmmm, how many jobs have you had, dude? And how often are you changing ships? I’m wondering if cutesy followup is your one best skill? Unless, of course, you back it up with a lot of cleavage.

      • Carl Scott… you’re STUPID!!! …om multiple platforms of not only being an idiot, but an ignorant one!!!
        Whether you’re 18 or 30, and have had only one job whether for a couple or 10+/- yrs., some people switch jobs to get ahead. Were’re in the 21 century, no longer in the 20th when folks stayed in one job 40+ yrs., dude!!!

        • Chad Wilcox…I don’t care what they say but you’re dead on! What the fuck does Carl Scott know?
          Whether you’re 18 or 35,we ALL have had several jobs or stay one one job for a number of years regardless if its more than 10 to 15 years,but the reason why some people leave their jobs after a number job and make the switch to another is because of a career change and they want to make transition as smooth as possible while still keeping the skill set in check when they left their previous job into a new one. Yes,we’re in the 21st Century where you have folks that have been at the same job for more than 30 years and they want to go to something else. Prime example: I knew a 60 year old that has been employed at the same job for over 30 years,and she wanted to go into a new position once she was let go by her former employer. But,she still kept the same job skills from previous employer once she was hired into her new position.

  2. Interesting observations…

    As a recovering hiring manager I’d agree with everything you posted, BUT, I always found an objectives statement to be helpful as well, and I’m not sure I’d recommend skipping that entirely. I’m not even sure which I want to read first.

    While it is always important to know what a candidate can do for the company, it is also important to know what the candidate expects the company to do for their career to insure a good fit.

    • Mr. Thompson – as a recovering Hiring Manager (ha ha), would you recommend someone beginning their resume with “OBJECTIVE” or “PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY?” if not either, what would you suggest? and re work experience (most recent to last), is using the heading “PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE” best or something else? many thanks

      • 10 years in hiring, I still want to see an objective on a resume as long as it is not fluff. “Seeking a challenging position with room for promotion” is fluff and I trash those. (also trash ones with no objective) “Seeking a position as an Accountant utilizing my 5 years of experience in the field.” tells me what you are applying for (I’m not your career counselor and am not going to read your resume and try to figure it out myself) and also gives me a selling point of what you can bring to my company. Then, I want to see a summary of skills related to your objective. I don’t read cover letters first, many times not at all, but still expect one to show you understand professional correspondences.

  3. guess I should add… as a candidate it has been my experience that the process is different everywhere, and the real key to standing out at that critical first stage is a little inside information. At least in this hiring climate there really is no substitute for networking!

    Both my current position, and the position I will be starting shortly resulted from knowing exactly what the hiring manager was looking for, and tweaking the cover letter and resume accordingly. In the first case I also sent follow-up notes, it fit well with the corporate culture (which truthfully I figured out during the interview – no networking required), in the second case I kept correspondence to an absolute minimum – well, ok, I tried anyway, sometimes you get anxious and just have to send ‘one more” email.

    • I just read that if you want to stand out from the crowd to send a letter expressing your interest in the company by express mail.

        • Gary,

          I don’t really care how much cleavage someone has. It is important to say that some of us wanted to know this information without cracking themself up. Grow Up!

          • Gary,

            Carl and Bob are fucking morons who worship the teachings of Peter Griffin and other idiots that WE have on this planet.

            It has nothing to do with how much a woman’s cleavage is showed. Really,what the fuck does it have to do with a job prospect?

            I thought that this was a interesting article about Job Searches and not to mentioning sharpening your job skills and prospects to land that ultimate job. Example: Let’s say that we were at a recent Job Fair and Tammy was one of the Job Seekers who was talking to one of the hired managers at the Fair. The one thing that hired manager will not do is ask her about something stupid….its all about the job,that is if you want it that bad,and in Tammy’s case, she will get hired before Carl and Bob will,because of her background and expertise when she came to the Fair…it’s called BEING PREPARED!!! And this has NOTHING to do with showing her cleavage to get hired!
            It’s about being professional and looking like you want this job! I was at Job Fair the other day and the majority of the Job Seekers were women,and they were very professional!

  4. A fine article, except the game show that people dress up for in wild costumes is “Let’s Make A Deal”, created by Hatos-Hall.

    • Great article….

      Not only does Job Searching take a cue from “The Price Is Right” or “Let’s Make A Deal”(who remembers Monty Hall?)…….

      But most of the questions that these employers asked during part of Job Interview is something out of “Jeopardy” cause you’ll never know what you might say that may back fired on you in form of a question regarding employment.

      Dealing with idiots that act like morons at these Job Fairs is something out of the classic game show “The Joker’s Wild”(does anybody remember that classic game show from the 1970′s with Jack Barry?) or another one like “Press Your Luck”(who remembers that show from the 1980′s with Wink Martindale?)

  5. Nice one, Gary. Good knowledge of game show culture. Let’s team up and do a show called “Make the Right Deal” or something like that. The crazy costumes have to be priced, and the other contestants guess what the cost was. The winning combo of guesser and guesee win a trip to the MidEast, during cease-fire.

    • Apparently you’re unemployed and not doing well in your job-search. Sorry, but your attitude is hurting you, or….you’re twelve years old. Either way, you’re a douche-bag.

  6. Thanks for the valuable information. I am certain it will come in handy. Also, am pleased to see the people with the truly professional attitudes toward looking for a job and keeping it.

    Not to name names, but the individual who has been using the sarcastic tone is obviously frustrated with the job hunt process. To that person I say, it is okay to be frustrated. However, sarcastic, sophomoric comments are more likely to keep you UNEMPLOYED than get you hired. Just something to keep in mind for future reference.

  7. Drew Carey doesn’t choose the contestants based on their outfits in the audience. You’re thinking of Let’s Make a Deal.

    • “Let’s Make A Deal” was Monty Hall.

      And speaking of “The Price Is Right”,Drew Carey
      doesn’t choose the contestants based on their outfits or their outrageous behavior. Really.
      Not even its former host Bob Barker didn’t do that.

      But there was another show that did copy the “Let’s Make A Deal” format called “Treasure Hunt”. Who remembers that game show from the 1970′s that was hosted by Geoff Edwards. Oh yeah,who remembers “The Gong Show” with Chuck Barris from the 1970′s too?

  8. As a former hiring assistant, after reading this article, and everyone’s comments,,,,everyone keep in mind that recruting, as well as searching is ONE BIG MIND GAME. The good resume, I feel just helps though. Thanks guys-gals.

  9. And just why should it be a mind game? The ones who can BS get the jobs.And the fuckups seem to keep them and the rest of us get screwed. Hope the Mayan calenders right! liza

    • Lisa is Dead On Target……..

      It is nothing but a mind game. The ones who come to Job Fairs,act like morons in public,dress like their bums off the street and looking tacky as hell are the ones who “bullshit” around are the ones they’re most likely to get the job. And the ones who are your average “fuckups” seem to keep right on clowning while the rest of us who are professional and,college educated get screwed over and over again. The ones whom management likes are the ones who like to kiss the boss’ ass while the rest of us who are just struggling get kicked the curbside at our place of employment. I’m not the ass kissing type of motherfucker,but I do know some who are the kind that will set up another person on false charges just to get them fired. I called them “ghetto trash”. I get hired at this position looking like somebody and they get a raggedy ass bastard who gets the promotion? Lisa is dead on. That’s fucked up.

  10. You’re all a bunch of immature idiots, with much too much time on your hands. Playing mind games is not always the way to go. A solid set of skills and a concise, well-written resume, followed by honest and sincere thank-you notes, will be most effective and will cut-to-the-chase to finding employment.
    njf

  11. Great! Now I can only think of a female big bird character with cleavage jumping up and down like an idiot!

    thanks for the visual Carl!

    • Zippy…..

      You’re a fucking moron. This is job site for employment NOT looking for sluts with cleavages!
      Get your shit together.

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