Job seekers, there is no doubt you are facing a very challenging time. Whether you have 20 years of experience or only a year, the pressure is on. But realize it is not impossible to find opportunities, despite our current economic standing.

Job seekers, you have to go the extra mile to show employers you are the right fit. A few years ago, employers could handle the risk of hiring the wrong fit, but today it is very different. The cost to let an employee go and hire another is very high. Employers want to pick the right fit the first time around.

Here are my tips to help you stand out:

1. What is your brand and value proposition? What will you bring to the employer? What makes you better than the rest? This needs to be communicated in your resume, cover letter, interview and even as you network. Have your elevator speech down. If you met the CEO of your dream company and had 30 seconds to talk about yourself, what would you say?

2. Utilized the free career-related workshops offered in your city. Services that can cost hundreds of dollars are available at no cost (or very small fees) from organizations looking to help out job seekers in transition. Do your research! You might be able to get assistance with resume development, interview preparation, networking effectively, and much more for free. If you are in Portland or Washington, stay tuned to my site for information regarding events coming up in the area.

3. Research every organization before you submit your resume. You need to know about these companies well before an interview. It shows your professionalism and more importantly your interest in the company. Employers want employees who will love their company not just the job. This will help you stand out by showing you are genuinely interested in the organization and you will be ready to hit the ground running day one.

Do not just check out the company's website. Read articles on the company and create Google news alerts for companies you wish to work for. Your goal is to impress the employer with your knowledge of their company.

4. Joining LinkedIn is a requirement. Job seekers are having amazing luck on LinkedIn. Recruiters, headhunters, hiring managers and others with hiring decision power are recruiting via this site. Make sure you are taking advantage of every aspect of LinkedIn. Many resumes and business cards will have a link to a LinkedIn profile. This is a requirement. Create your profile today.

You can also use LinkedIn to find out more about a company and their employees. I know some job seekers use the site to become more familiar with the person they will be interviewing with. You can also use it as a powerful networking tool and meet people who have similar interests as your own.

5. Your documents need to be flawless. Resumes, cover letters, thank you letters, websites, social networking sites, portfolios and any other tool you are using to market yourself must be perfect. I know this seems like an apparent one, but typos and grammar issues are pet peeves of employers today. If you can, get the advice of someone in the industry you are looking to go into. Again, all marketing tools need to be 100% error free and be relevant to the industry you are applying for.