How does one stick out among thousands of job applicants? It’s all about your approach. It used to be that job seekers would dutifully comb the classifieds to find a position. Then, they would carefully craft a cover letter and mail their application. Now, job boards have made it easy for applicants to blindly apply to 20-plus positions per day, focusing applicants on quantity over quality. Don’t fall into that trap! A thoughtful application that demonstrates selectivity can land you the job. Here are four ways to stand out in an oversaturated job market:

1.     Take a risk.

Too often, job seekers are conservative in their approaches. But it’s best to be creative and take a risk. Submitting a frank cover letter worked out well for one college student, who bluntly stated that he attended an average-ranked university, but would do whatever it took to succeed. His letter was both personal and real. He avoided clichés, and it landed him the internship. Or take this web product manager, who tailored his website to replicate a page of It’s gone viral due to his ingenuity.

2.     Do your research.

Landing a job solves a short-term problem, but finding the right employer can lead to a sustainable career. Therefore, it’s not in your best interest to apply to every position you see. Target the specific companies that really interest you. Frequent companies’ job boards to get a feel for whom they want to hire and what positions are regularly available. Whether it’s the company culture or its overall mission you admire, speak to this in your cover letter. The best applicants tailor their résumés to fit the vibe of the company.

3.    Build a love of networking. 

A relationship with someone at a specific company is often the best way to get your foot in the door. Use social media platforms, like LinkedIn, to discover new companies and meet prospective employers. But don’t just network online! Get involved with groups in your professional community. Attend events, and keep an eye out for clients and service providers who might know people at your target companies.

4.     Stay in touch.

Looking for a job can be a frustrating experience, especially when you don’t hear back from prospective employers. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a friendly email or a handwritten card after an interview. Our online job seeker’s platform provides applicants with a way out of the “black hole” of mass applying and never hearing a reply. We alert each applicant when an employer downloads his résumé; only premium members can apply for positions. This helps employers find the most qualified candidates — and forces each applicant to spend time tailoring his experience to the specific position.

All in all, I encourage you to be bold in your job search. Frequent job boards, but make a list of companies that really interest you. Learn everything about them, and determine why you’d be a great fit. In the end, you should send the right message to the right employer — one who will want to pay attention.