Target, Macy's, Walmart: More Than Four Applicants for Every Holiday Opening

Great news, right: retailers are adding 550,000 to 650,00 jobs this holiday season. The news you need to know, though, is that for each of those openings, there are about 4.7 applicants, estimates Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute.

So, how do you make sure you are the one among those 4.7 folks who gets the job at Target, Macy's or Walmart? Here is the short version of guerrilla job hunting:

1. Make your resume and cover letter easy for employers to speed read.

Remember, no one can afford to pay too much attention. List or highlight only those skills and experience which relate to the specific job you're applying for. The resume serves the purpose of showing employers you're 1) qualified and 2) the best qualified. If you're applying for sales, stock room, and gift wrapping, it's best to create a separate resume, cover letter, and interview pitch for each category of employment. Generic doesn't get you a job.

2. Ditch insecurity and worry about qualifications.

In 'What Color is Your Parachute?' Richard Bolles hammers that the people who get the jobs are those best at presenting themselves for the job. It's rarely the most talented. Put your energy into how you're applying.

3. Create an edge.

This sets you apart from the competition. For example, say you're available to work all shifts, will learn the software without the meter running, and/or understand the competition's weaknesses and how this employer can exploit them.

4. Follow up, after the initial contact, without being a pest.

No harm swinging by the store in person when you know the hiring manager is working.

5. Continue to apply until you have a job.

You don't have a job until you have a job.

Yes, keep improving how you apply for a job. But why employers hire one person and not the other is idiosyncratic. Many can turn you down for reasons that have nothing to do with you or how you presented yourself. Don't read too much into it.

Next: Hiring for Christmas: 600,000 Holiday Jobs & Where To Look >>

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