It takes more than a resume and good cover letter to land a job these days. Employers are now looking beyond the resume and into other examples such as verifiable work experience, websites, blogs, contests won and even viral videos that separate a job seeker from the pack.
One big differentiator for job seekers is verifiable industry experience. For programmers involved in open source - a very hot job market at the moment - employers look for programmers who have submitted code, which not only proves technical experience but their ability to collaborate with other developers.
"As far as hiring open source developers, every now and then somebody submits a nice piece of code and it helps in terms of hiring," said Amr Awadallah, Founder, CTO and vice president at Cloudera.
When it comes to cybersecurity, another hot job field, it helps for a job seeker to have posted common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) on the CVE.org website, a dictionary of publicly known information security vulnerabilities. At computer security company IOActive, CVEs can even trump professional experience.
"For us the ideal candidate is somebody who may not have professional experience, but we can see from their website they've worked on a lot of projects, a lot of source code and been involved in the open source or public security community," said Mike Davis , principle security consultant at IOActive. "They also potentially have CVEs posted."
The computer security field also routinely looks for people who have won hacking competitions and other security competitions. Yet competitions can help for other positions like graphic designers, web developers, programmers, video editors, writers and more says Investopedia's 6 Extreme Ways To Land Your Dream Job.
The article outlines other unconventional avenues to garner employers' attention, including creating a campaign through social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, having a personal website and/or blog, and creating a viral campaign through YouTube and selling yourself through means like purchasing ad space.
A tight job market can call for strategic and at times unconventional methods to land the job you want. Taking extra steps can separate you from the hundreds of other job seekers that may be seeking the same position. Just be careful not to overdo it.