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Standing Out Online in Your Job Search: Tips for Deaf Job Seekers

Even in our current thriving economy and bustling employment market, launching a job search can be a tiring experience, and as a deaf or hard of hearing job seeker, it can seem even more daunting.

Here are some clever tips to help you stand out online while searching for a job!

Applying for a job is not like it used to be. Gone are the days of printed want ads and mailing the cover letter/resume combo. When it comes to launching a job search today, several factors need to be considered, and ensuring you do what it takes to stand out is necessary, particularly as a deaf or hard of hearing applicant. Here are some tips to make your application and candidacy rise to the top.

1. Customize Your Resume! One of the most common mistakes all job seekers make is not customizing their resume and cover letter to reflect the specifics listed in the job description. If you are applying via an online app, most of these use what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) bot to identify keywords and phrases in your resume before they even pass your information on to a Human Resources (HR) representative, so you must include words that identify the main skills. A recent study indicates that the HR manager who looks at your resume will spend only an average of 6 seconds reviewing it before determining if you are worth interviewing or not. That said, you want to make sure that you have focused your resume on reflecting you have the skillset for which they are looking. Additionally, as a deaf or hard of hearing applicant, you may want to include in your cover letter how you have used technology or other reasonable accommodations to your best advantage to perform the job, should you choose to share about your hearing loss early in the job search process.

2. Do Some Homework. When it comes to showing you are serious about a specific job opportunity, nothing makes a job applicant stand out more than knowing some information about the organization to which you are applying. Doing some online research about the company, knowing its mission statement and goals, and having a demonstrated understanding of any recent changes in management or structure will indicate to a potential employer that you care about THIS particular position, and not just looking for the first opportunity that comes your way. Your cover letter is the best place to indicate how your past experiences will fit into their culture or assist them with a current challenge. For example, something like “I know you recently began onboarding SalesForce as your primary CRM tool, and my past experience using SalesForce for targeting and converting leads would be an excellent ‘value add’ to your team while you get up and running,” shows you are already thinking about how you can immediately be a proactive member of their team should they hire you.

3. The More Information You Give, the Better. One of the biggest mistakes people still make when applying for jobs is listing anything from references to portfolio examples as being available “upon request.” With the possibility of hundreds of people applying for an online posting, it is unlikely that an HR manager is going to choose the applications that require them to do more work to get to know the applicant and their work. It is much better to provide extra information and examples rather than not enough. With this in mind, make sure you include examples of your work, contact information for at least 2 to three work-related references (former and current managers or supervisors are highly preferred) and links to any work-related social media profiles (such as LinkedIn) or an online portfolio. Do not worry that you are sending too much information or overloading the application. Providing your potential new employer with the information they need to make an informed decision not only shows you are completely prepared and organized; it also builds goodwill and trust.

4. Do not Dodge the Salary Question. Nothing is more frustrating to an HR screener than finding a qualified, solid applicant who has provided them with no indication as to what their salary requirements will be. It is especially irritating when a job application has asked explicitly that salary information be included, and it is purposely left out. Talking about money can be awkward, and the fear most job applicants experience is that listing a specific salary might place them outside of a job they really want, but remember, do you really want a job where you won’t be properly compensated? Any position you accept that is paying a lower salary than you want will typically mean you will be frustrated easily and probably looking for another job within a year, and HR representatives know this too. Your best bet is to provide a salary range with which you will feel fairly compensated on the application. By doing this, it gives both you and a potential employer some wiggle room when it comes time to make an offer and will also provide them with an idea of where you have set your financial goals for the future.

The Internet has made searching for a job easier in so many ways, but with that ease comes increased competition for choice roles and the need to ensure you are doing what is necessary to get you noticed and get you the job offers you deserve. Following these tips above will help you get the HR representative or hiring manager's attention and give you a boost in your online job search. Good luck!

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