How to slice through the applicant clutter!

As a recruiter, I live the mentality that an attitude of gratitude brings opportunity. I also think that this mindset correlates with the practice of good karma.  I work in a special type of market where if you haven’t sold on an enterprise level, chances are; you won’t be a good fit for our clients. Which is a shame, because fabulous sales people are constantly reaching out to me for connections, advice and referrals. A karmic recruiter will take the time to write a note, give advice, make an introduction or have a quick discovery call and make an impression.  (Food for thought for those of you in the staffing world- what comes around goes around).

How can I get past the applicant clutter?  How can I get noticed with hiring managers on the first e-impression or application?

Here’s how.. Your First e-mail:

  • Know who the heck you are talking to – there is absolutely no excuse for you to not know who the HR heads/executives/coordinators are and who the departmental leads (who you’ll be working for).
    • TIP: use LinkedIn search: HR AND CompanyX, and (props to my main dude @asalesguymax aka Max Laughlin aka Biz Dev. Killa)–> to find out who people are and what their contact information is!
  • Be short, sweet and compelling as hell- 2 sentences (maximum) as to why you are reaching out (i.e the job posting and why you want it, duh) hit: ENTER, 2 sentences (max) as to why you are qualified and damn good at what you do and ENTER 2 sentences (max) requesting a follow up and saying thank you!
  • Attach your resume and cover letter.  Don’t have their e-mail address? Go find them on LinkedIn and connect/message them there.
    • It’s kind of scary whom you can find on LinkedIn and you can ALWAYS send an In-mail.  Unless you’re like Peyton Manning or something in which you have zero chance of connecting :(tears of sadness and defeat).

Your Resume:

  • The job description and posting is a great tool to understand what you will be doing at the job you are applying for.  So is looking up the person who has the job you are applying for (there’s multiple jobs, relax you’re not stealing their job) to see what they have on their LinkedIn profile, and then use their examples as a template for your own examples on your resume- of course, always be truthful.
  • Have the same information on your LinkedIn and Resume- because; believe me, we are checking.  However, you can always add information that is relevant to the job to your resume, always.
    • What do I mean by that?  If the job posting says you will need to qualify, and get through gate-keepers to reach the C-Level Executive/Decision Maker/Buyer to ultimately close the deal then share that you do that, share how you did/do this and add it to your resume.
    • From the job posting, pick the points that are most relevant to you and that are applicable to the job.

Your Cover Letter:

  • The email is basically a shortened or mirrored version of your cover letter, so depending on how you operate, you might want to consider writing the cover letter first so you show CONSISTENCY. (OR use your e-mail as a small template, whatever works for you).
  • Format: Three paragraphs, no more than five sentences for each.
    • First Paragraph: Who are you? Why are you writing? Why did you want to write to them (i.e. why that company, why this position) what are you going to share?
    • Second: You will share what you do now, because it’s relevant to what you will be doing at company X, why you are good, and what you want to do there.
    • Third:  add one more compelling point as to why you and company X would make a good match (i.e. you love their value proposition bc ..) ask them for an interview, give them thanks
    • Add Contact Information to top or bottom of letter, what ever your style is.
  • Flavor/Pizzaz/Your friggen personality, don’t be shy- add some humor if that’s who you are, add some satirist comment and some ‘pep’ and sweetness in your requests if you’re feeling sugary- just be yourself and have a little fun– don’t you want them to know you will be pleasant to work with?

Your LinkedIn Profile:

  • I am a little over this subject because I spend all day, every day on LinkedIn and even though I love you LinkedIn,  I think we all get it 🙂  So let’s do this promptly.
  • Have a picture, a p-i-c-t-u-r-e.
  • Be specific.
  • Be consistent between job formats (bullet points, periods vs. no periods, NO leaving any job title with the descriptions blank- come on, sharpen up).
  • Be concise when describing what you did at a job and how you contributed.
  • Give endorsements and you shall receive endorsements- show you care about others, others show they care about you.  Namaste.
  • Be honest.

Your Follow-Up:

  • Send a mix of LinkedIn messages and e-mails, “checking in” and saying you are contacting/touching base because you want to stay on their radar.
  • Show your personality.
  • Continue to attach your resume and cover letter so they always have it at their disposal, at all times.
    • I love this tip because it shows that you will do a little extra you to ease their process, which in a sales situation, shows you would care about your clients in that way too.  Everything you do in an interview process shows how you would conduct first sales impressions. It’s all relevant.

Doing all these things and doing them well, can really make a difference.  Also, I want to give one more piece of advice.  When job searching do these three things: 1.) Be realistic with yourself- if you are realistic with yourself, you will know that you won’t get a response back to every application. 2.) Don’t underestimate yourself- if you don’t underestimate yourself, you’ll wind up applying to your dream job at Google, AirBnB or A Sales Guy Recruiting and you’ll nail the crap out of that thing. 3.) Know what you want and go for it- if you know what you want and go for it understand you will need to work really, really hard. Be consistent. Use all these steps and apply to ALOT of jobs! Take EVERY interview and the right one will come along. Words of the Wise #7:

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ― John Lennon

Stay tuned for more follow-ups, findings and follies here with me, La Femme Badass. Engage with me at: @asalesgalnicole,


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.