Are you one of the millions of job seekers out there spending countless hours polishing every last word on your resume that highlights how amazing you are, stop it!

Let’s take a step back to think about what you should really spend your time on if you are serious about getting that perfect job.

Your resume is 1 bullet in your gun, and it turns out, not most important.  Getting that killer job is a process, and dropping 1,000 copies of your resume like flyers from an airplane is almost certain to result in nothing but frustration.

An alternative way to think of your job process is likening it to selling a product, instead you are selling yourself.  In the standard sales funnel there are 4 stages, and the pool of potential customers (in this case job candidates) get whittled down at each stage.

The 4 Stages Of Selling Yourself

1) AwarenessGetting your foot in the door 

Before you get a chance to impress that VP or hiring manager, you need to make sure they know you’re alive.  Being 1 of 500 resumes buried in a stack is probably not a surefire way to stand out. The best way to get noticed is through a referral, something that hasn’t fundamentally changed in hundreds of years.

Actually, most people still find that new job through a referral.   The only difference now is that our relationships have been digitized, so finding out who to get a referral from is much easier.  Find out whose radar you need to get on and see if you know anyone in common.

Be smart about it, if you know 10 people in common, don’t hit them all up, figure out the best 1 or 2 people based on how good your relationship is with them and make sure they can refer you in an authentic way.

2) InterestGetting on the short list.

Even after they know you’re alive you need to communicate, in a brief and engaging way; who you are and what makes you a great fit.

If you take the empathetic approach and put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager, you’ll realize that you can’t give your full attention to each of the 500+ resumes that were submitted for the 1 opening you have.

Long, detailed resumes, fly in the face of the short 140-character updates and summarized news articles we have grown accustomed to in this hyper-connected, attention deficit age.

So it’s a good idea to move to shorter, more summarized resumes with punchy, engaging words.  In addition it has been shown that including images in any sort of post significantly increases engagement of the reader – enter the infographic resume. Renee Oricchio wrote a great article about Infographic Resumes

3) DesireSocial proof + Nailing the interview.

OK, you’ve got someone’s attention and they may even want to meet you.  But why meet you in person when they can first virtually meet you and maybe even find a few skeletons.  91% of recruiters now check social networks, according to reputation site Reppler, so make sure you’ve got a findable social presence and that it makes you look good.

If your name is John Smith, you may want to include links to your profiles on your resume.  Sites like LinkedIn can expand upon your resume, Facebook and Twitter can show some of your color and (warning, shameless plug) a site like Connect.Me can show how skilled and trustworthy you are, lending instant credibility and social proof.

After you have been vetted online, you just might get that interview. There are many excellent articles about acing the interview such this Forbes article, I won’t even try to compete. The one thing I will add is this: tailor your answers to your audience.  How you answer and interact with HR is not necessarily what will impress that VP or your future boss.

4) Action“Set it and forget it”.

If you think the interview went off without a hitch and are now sitting eagerly by the phone, don’t.  Picking up that phone to call and check on the status is also a no-no.  Do this, write a thank you note to your interviewer and move on.

Find the next “perfect” job and begin the process all over again.  Try to keep a handful of jobs in your funnel at similar stages at all times, that way you end up with options, can stay optimistic, and may even be able to create a little competition for yourself.

[This is a guest post from co-founder Marc Coluccio]

by in Career Advice