Blue and red boxing gloves face off.

It’s no secret that today’s workforce is very competitive. With an influx in degrees and what seems like not enough positions available – it’s important that job candidates go the extra mile to make themselves stand out amongst the rest. If you’re looking for a job, here are some tips to help you get an edge on the competition:

Get social

Companies are using social media more and more often to find great candidates. Sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are great resources for job seekers. Get connected and research potential companies that you are interested in, join social media groups, and create a network. It’s important that you update your profile to reflect who you are and what you can offer potential employers. Having a great profile can go a long way in determining if you would be a good fit at a certain company.

Moreover, if companies are going to be looking at your profile, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be looking at theirs. It’s important to research companies you are interested in, learn about their culture, their objectives, and their overall message. It’s important that you know what you are looking for in a company and can express that during the interview process. Also, interviewers will be impressed that you have done your research and are prepared. The more you know, the more you are able to express how you can improve the company should they hire you.

If you’ve filled out an online application, don’t cross your fingers and hope to hear back. Do your research and see if you can find the recruiters name so you can contact them directly. This will show that you took initiative and demonstrate your interest in the position. It will give you a leg up over the rest of the online applicants.

Give your resume some TLC

Your resume is one of the most important tools for acquiring the job. Ensure you are frequently updating your resume with any volunteering, courses, and work experience. Even if the work isn’t paid, it still shows that you are focused on development.

“If you’re an engineer, I’d like to see what you’re working on on the side, if you’re publishing (software code) on GitHub or blogging,” said, Gulati-Pauly, vice president of recruiting at CyberCoders in Irvine. “Show that passion that makes me want to give you a shot.”

Also, be mindful and ensure your resume is properly formatted, edited, spell-checked, and that your contact information is up to date. This may seem obvious, but it is a common mistake amongst job applicants.

Lapses between jobs can give employers the impression that you are unreliable and perhaps not capable of staying with a company long term. Try to fill these gaps with any volunteer experience or personal development. Be sure you can explain what you accomplished during those gaps when you are being interviewed.

Look the part

First impressions are crucial to starting of the interview on a positive note. The last thing you want to do is show up in a wrinkly suit with bed-head. Take the time to make yourself presentable. Not only will this send a strong message to your potential employer, but it will also make you feel for confident. Being confident is an important characteristic that is always good to have during an interview.

Preparing ahead of time will allow you to relax and feel more at ease during the interview. Bring extra resumes in case they need an extra copy, a pen, some paper, these are all things that can come in handy. Write down the names of the people you will be interviewing with so you don’t forget their names or positions.

A cheat sheet is also a great idea – jot down some point form notes on your accomplishments as well as even some key words to reference. This will help you stick to the point and stay on topic during the interview. Pauly says, “if you stay on point you’ll have a better chance of a good performance.”