The hunt for the perfect job can be challenging. Luckily, there are hundreds of resources available that offer job seekers a way to stand out from the competition and land an interview. Below is some essential advice on what you can do to get yourself in front of the employer and ultimately land the job.

The resume.

A modern, polished resume is a must! Anyone sending out a sub-standard document might as well throw in the towel. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, the average open position receives more than 75 job applications. Workopolis estimates much higher numbers, stating "employers can receive anywhere between 75 and 250 applications per job posting."

With so many candidates vying for an employer's attention, it's important to take measures to ensure your job applications and other job-search activities help you stand out from the crowd. Standing out can be as simple as having the right personal branding materials such as a succinct, well-worded, keyword-optimized and error-free resume that highlights the skills and work experience your target employer is seeking.

Resume scanners.

Jacquelyn Smith, former staff writer for Forbes Magazine, detailed the job search stating, "the average number of people who apply for any given job is 118, and that 20 percent of those applicants get an interview." That 20 percent equates to 23 people, the others were most likely weeded out by talent-management software screeners known as the applicant tracking systems or the well-known 6-second resume reviewers.

The good news is that employees do know what they're looking for, and if your resume has the skills and talents listed for that position, you will most likely land an interview. According to Smith "…about 36 percent [of employers] look for multitasking skills; 31 percent look for initiative; 21 percent look for creative thinking; and 12 percent look for something else in the candidate."

Workopolis writer Peter Harris says "your application may be deleted by computer software without ever being read by an HR person or hiring manager." Those busy employers, resume reviewers, and HR professionals don't take the time to review each and every resume that comes in for each available position.

According to Workopolis, there are resume keywords that employers search for, so if they are strategically placed throughout your resume, you might just get through the first hurdle.

One of the best pieces of advice offered by those career gurus is: only apply for jobs that you are genuinely qualified for. Although not every single job requirement can be met, hitting at around 80 percent might just land you the interview, that is, once you pass the ATS or applicant tracking system.

The interview.

You passed through all of the scanners, reviewers, and piles of resumes that were discarded, and landed yourself an interview -- congratulations! Getting through the interview requires another host of skills. Click on the following link for more information on interview best practices

The thank you letter.

A thoughtful follow-up such as a thank-you letter can be mighty powerful in many ways. It can be another opportunity to express your interest in the position, thank the interviewers for their time and mention something you neglected to say during the interview while appearing courteous and professional.

If you left the interview feeling that you should have lobbied for the position a little more enthusiastically, this is your chance.

Thank-you letters are not just beneficial for thanking your interviewer shortly after an interview; they can impress an employer with your follow-up skills and express your professionalism. Additionally, they can demonstrate your exceptional communication skills, spark the memory of the employer, and sometimes even impress them enough to ask for that second interview or offer you the position.

A study conducted by Job-Hunt revealed that 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire a candidate who does not send a thank-you letter, and 91 percent of them enjoy being thanked for their time.

Writing a thank-you letter can be as easy as a handwritten note, sending a personalized email or mailing a computer-generated letter. Columbia University's Career Education site offers a plethora of tips and samples to help you write a great thank you letter to an employer.

The most important aspect of this gesture is to send it out as soon as possible after the interview or meeting, ideally within 24 hours. Never fax a thank-you message, send a generic thank-you note or boast about any qualifications you don't actually possess. Many employers will see right through these methods. Be creative, kind, considerate and to the point. Click on the following link to learn more post-interview thank-you note best practices.

With a job market flooded with applicants, it's wise to stay one step ahead of the competition and show off your best selling points, whether that's your excellent communication skills, your computer savvy, or your consideration of someone's time. When written properly, your thank-you letter can impress the employer enough to keep your candidacy top of mind and in the running to land that position.

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