Anyone who has ever been on the hunt for a new corporate job knows that it can be one of the most difficult and frustrating processes in the world. The Internet has given us the tools to apply for thousands of different jobs every day, but it has also presented its own problems: application systems with no easy answers, automation, and stiff competition make the ease of online applications less attractive.

Recruiters are inundated with applications for their open positions—an average of 250 resumes are sent in for every job posting a company makes.

The Innovators Stand Out

How boring must it be to be a hiring manager these days? Mind-numbing stacks of resumes, dry, dull cover letters, endless interviews—it’s no wonder it’s hard to get noticed. On top of that, as many as 75% of applicants are not qualified for the jobs they’re applying for, and only 2% on average can expect an interview. With those numbers in mind, standing out is one of the most important aspects of job hunting. Innovative cover letters that are backed by substance are much more likely to get attention that the same old tired format employers have been reading for years.

Creativity is absolutely essential to innovation, and people who can be creative within a fairly restrictive framework (such as a cover letter) stand out and become contenders for the next stage of the hiring process. In innovation, there is rarely complete freedom: innovators need to take existing technologies or frameworks into consideration when developing new ideas.

Knowledge is Power

For some roles, knowledge and training is essential. While many companies are now looking for a culture fit, there’s often no substitute for education and experience. For example, many hospitals in the US have hired unlicensed assistive personnel to fill in nursing staff when cuts are made—in fact, they occupy about half of these openings. Unfortunately, this can lead to tragedy—which is why job seekers need to be aware of both their strengths and limitations.

Similarly, innovative people don’t just throw ideas at the wall until something sticks. They make sure they have the information and knowledge to create ideas that will be effective, instead of potential harmful. Innovators know their ideas won’t always work out, but they take educated risks and base their ideas on all they have learned and experienced.

The In-Demand Roles are for Innovators

While most job postings are bombarded with resumes, there are some industries that are hurting for applicant, some of which include network architects, healthcare managers and computer programmers. These in-demand roles are often left unfilled as employers struggle to find qualified candidates. Data science is one of these fields—83% of data scientists acknowledge a lack of qualified candidates in their field in 2016.

These talent gaps can tell us a lot about innovation and stagnation. People who are always keeping up with new trends and exploring new possibilities are the ones who are in the running for these in-demand roles. Only people who spotted the potential of data early on have the training to fill these roles, giving them massive leverage with employers. Innovators never stagnate; they are always thinking about the next big opportunity and taking action to position themselves for success. Employers want people like this—people who can think big and keep their organizations from stagnating.

Create Your Own Solution – Take Action

When you’re searching for your dream job, so are hundreds of others. They’re all applying for the same openings, using the same strategies to land a job that everyone else is. However, the people who really get noticed are the ones who go straight to the companies they want with their value, regardless of whether there’s a posted opening or not. One tech company hired four people in six months who proactively reached out and showed the decision-maker at the company what they could do to make his company more successful.

Innovators don’t wait until someone asks for a need to be filled. They spot the gaps before anyone else sees them, and take action to create solutions proactively. They know their efforts may not be successful, but they try anyway. Why? Because sometimes, it they do work. Decisive, informed action is what sets innovators apart, in both the job search and when driving the changes they want to see in the world.

By Ryan Ayers

About the author

Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of companies within multiple industries including information technology and big data. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on data collection and analysis.

Featured image via Yayimages.