THE HELP DESK The Help Desk: Top Tips

Help finding that job

It's taking more people longer to find a job. Here's how you can get a edge on the competition.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK ( -- This morning a new jobs report showed that the number of people collecting unemployment benefits for one week or more hit a new record high at 6,271,000. That means it's taking more people longer to find jobs. If you're one of the many people out there looking to land a job, how do you get an edge on the competition?

Start with your resume.

Just applying on a company's Web site isn't going to get you anywhere: the percentage of online applications viewed by an actual human being ranges from 5% to 25%.

A lot of companies use software programs to screen candidates, so, when you're writing your resume and cover letter, use the same phrases or keywords found in the job description, or reference a particular project that company has done to get it over that first hurdle.

You can also pump up your online resume to catch a potential employer's eye. Check out, where you can create an online resume filled out with videos, pictures, and audio. And the best part: it's for free.

If you're using online social networking sites to get noticed, make sure you're using all the tools at your disposal.

Don't just create a Linked-in profile: join groups, post comments, and actively update. On Facebook, diligently search for job listings in the Facebook Marketplace, and message hiring managers directly.

And if you do score that interview, go in prepared. is a great resource where you can get interview tips from people who have actually sat in the hot seat. You can also check out, a paid service to connect with professionals in a multitude of fields, for more interviewing tips.

Got a financial dilemma? Go to to submit questions, read the Help Desk articles and check out new Help Desk videos. And tune in to CNN's Newsroom Tuesdays and Fridays, when Gerri Willis and other experts answer your questions. To top of page

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