Do you have a New Year’s Resolution to make a change in your career? As you reflect on your career and what changes you would like to make, remember that the job market is a highly competitive place to be right now. While more companies have started to hire, there are also more currently employed people willing to switch jobs because the market is picking up. What can you do to land the top jobs you are applying for?

Having been in the recruiting business since 1955, our highly qualified recruiters would like to share with you 3 things that top candidates do that make them stand out.

1. Target your resumes. There are two main approaches to sending resumes, quantity and quality. The quantity approach is sending them out to as many employers or job ads as possible; the hope is that, like confetti at a wedding, some might stick! In today’s market you have to take a step back and use the quality approach. Target the positions that you are both interested in and qualified for. Mold your resume to highlight the qualifications and skills that they specifically mention in their ad. This will help your resume rise to the top in their search for qualified candidates!

2. Research the company. This is good for your peace of mind to know that their location, size and values are in line with yours. You can reflect your research in your cover letter or (hopefully) interview by showing appreciation for projects they’ve completed, values stated in their company information, or finding connections on Linked In. Keep it positive, an interview is not the time to bring up something that you read about and tell them how you would have done it differently!

3. Be Professional. Dress for success is not just a trite saying, it will make a difference when you interview for a job. In a culture that seems to embrace a growing casual trend, employers are seeing their interviews becoming increasingly filled with sweat suits and sandals! Dressing up to meet an employer is a visual cue that you care about the opportunity that you are interviewing for, and that you care about yourself and the impression that you make on others. Even employers, whose place of business requires clothes that can get dirty, appreciate someone who dresses up to interview. In fact, when an interviewee recently applied for a position at a shop in a suit and tie, the manager was so impressed he had the job ad changed to include, “dress to impress!”