In today’s crowded job market, it can be extremely difficult to get any viable leads for jobs. I know from personal experience that I have had a ludicrously low response rate when searching for work. 1 or 2 good prospects from a vast slew of inquiries and even then, those prospects are difficult to follow up on. The digital nature of job search, while it allows you to find and outreach to potential employers en masse, also means that employers receive more inquiries than ever before and it is easy for your application to fall through the cracks. So, how can you utilize the internet and social media to help you land a job and stand out from the crowd? Here are some tips that will help guide you on your way to gainful employment

Make Your Resume Stand Out

With digital resumes and CVs as well as LinkedIn based applications, you have a limited amount of time to make your credentials pop off the page. This is true of traditional resumes as well, but particularly true in digital communications. The general rule of thumb is that you have six seconds to make an impression. In this very short period of time, a potential employer will decide whether or not your credentials are a good fit for the position.

So, how can you tell if your credentials pop? One tool that is extremely useful here is Resunate. This web-based software extracts the top information from your resume and tells you how well your displayed credentials match your target job. It also gives you a score based on the strength of other applicants. This feedback helps you determine your prospects and tweak your resume as needed to match that particular target.

Find a Job Using Social

Studies show that social helps 1/6 job seekers land a position. This is a combination of personal networking via Facebook and more professional “cold networking” through Twitter and LinkedIn. While it can be awkward at times treating your friends as business associates, there are often jobs that are not easily discoverable through traditional channels that your friends may be aware of, and it is often easier to acquire a position through a referral than when you are just one resume in a daunting pile.

You may want to consider setting up a professional avatar on twitter and engaging with other industry professionals. One thing I have personally found to be a great networking resource is Join and attend local meetup groups in your area of expertise. I work in marketing and web development and have attended a fair number of these meetups. Often, the first place people go to advertise open positions is their personal network, and this is a great place to build one.

LinkedIn is the obvious choice to go for professional networking. Over 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn. You can apply directly through this network as well as connect with employers, recruiters, fellow alumni and more. When conducting my own Job search, I found it particularly fruitful to connect with recruiters. I actually applied for one job and was denied by the company directly, but was able to get a second and third interview while working with a third party recruiter. These third parties are often contracted by the companies themselves to find good candidates for these open positions. They are highly motivated to get those positions filled and have deadlines to do so. This can make them great advocates for you and help you tremendously in following up with the employer and getting interviews. I found this relationship to be tremendously valuable and it took out a lot of the personal pestering that often comes with following a job lead.

There are a variety of other ways to leverage online communications in your job search. However, the most important thing to take away is that building relationships matters. Use your personal and professional networks to help you extend your reach and leverage those relationships to get a foot in the door. It really is about who you know, and you can use social and other online mediums to extend your reach. In today’s day and age, communication really has gone digital, and in order to stand out, it is more of a necessity than a recommendation. So go forth and follow, tweet and get linkedin and take steps towards a successful job hunt today.