Surefire Attention-grabbing Ways to Stand Out During Your Job Search
If you've been looking for a new job, you've probably noticed that you are not alone. In fact, there are so many highly qualified people looking for jobs today that it can be really difficult not to feel like just another face in the crowd (or résumé in the pile!).
Competition is certainly stiff. And that means that the job search techniques of yesterday – send out résumés, search the want ads, and wait for a job to fall in your lap – won't even get your foot in the door. What you need in order to get a job today, is the courage to put yourself out there and get the attention of employers by trying something no one else is doing.
Getting the attention of recruiters and hiring managers often can be the hardest part of getting the job you want. That can be particularly true for older job seekers, who might not be making use of newer job-search strategies that help younger candidates shine.
It has never been more important to stand out and get noticed in the job market. No employer today is going to remember anybody who is just okay, or who falls in the middle of the pack. If you're competing against fifty other applicants for a much-needed job, you have to ask yourself, What can I do to stand out and prove to them that I want it more than everyone else?
When you're applying for a job, you don't just want to get noticed: You want to stand out as the best applicant the hiring committee has ever seen. You know you're the perfect person for the job—and you want them to know that, too.
But how, exactly, do you do that?
Use your pre-hire time wisely and note it on your resume
Stand out in your quest for your desired career by utilizing the “time off”.
ENGAGE IN VOLUNTARY WORK
An advantageous way of increasing your chances of getting employed is to utilize the time you are unemployed. Ensure you engage in voluntary work experience. Engaging in voluntary work can give you an edge over those applying for the same position.
Those who possess the attributes of selflessness and a strong zeal to work are likely candidates to scale through job interviews.
ACQUIRE LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Most recruiters demand candidates with competent leadership skills and companies seek out those who have the ability to lead teams. Those who possess the attributes of selflessness and a strong zeal to work are likely candidates to scale through job interviews.
Take a class, read a book, attend a seminar of Leadership skills, and note it on your resume.
The way you make decisions and judgments over certain situations can show you have the potential to be a good leader. The language used when speaking or writing is also vital during interviews. So, be sure to brush up on your vocabulary.
ACQUIRE MARKETABLE SKILLS
These are skills that are in demand in the job market. They give a prospective employee who is seeking a better job offer an edge over other competitive candidates. Possessing a strong passion and zeal to execute work, the accomplishment of tasks and goals, and the ability to solve problems with minimum or no assistance, are essential in today’s job market.
Other basic marketable skills include reading, writing, speaking, and arithmetic. More intermediate skills include good resourcing, the ability to display good interpersonal communication skills, the ability to adapt to a work environment, and changes associated with them, as well as networking.
BUILD AN ONLINE PROFILE
Besides a direct interview, the next reachable way for employers to assess potential employees is by viewing the social media profiles of applicants. Recruiters see this as a medium where they can gather information on candidates’ views, interests, skills, etc.
So, it is advisable to be mindful of the information you share online.
A very reliable social media platform that is so helpful in landing you your dream job is LinkedIn. It is the dragnet for a vast number of recruiters where they fish competent hands to take their organizations to achieve their labor acquisition.
Most companies have LinkedIn accounts. Connect with as many reputable organizations as possible. Make sure you develop your LinkedIn profile and keep your account active. Regularly update your page by posting your interests and latest experience such as research, achievements, projects, and past experiences obtained. Also, get coworkers and friends to testify to your achievements in the testimonial thread.
CREATE AN ONLINE PORTFOLIO OR PERSONAL WEBSITE
Creating one takes more effort, but building a simple website that highlights your professional accomplishments can make a difference. A strategic job search requires much more than putting together a polished resume. In addition to learning about candidates’ skills and experience, employers want to see a strong online presence.
STAY UP TO DATE ON MARKET TRENDS
Staying up to date with the current trends in the job market can help you forecast future labor market requirements from employers. Identify relevant dynamic trends in various career sectors that are related to your skills and experience. Determine if your skills correspond to the current requirements and upgrade them if needed. Noticeable skills include management and computer skills as most jobs now revolve around the use of computer applications.
JOIN PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS WITHIN YOUR INDUSTRY OR AREA OF SPECIALITY
A professional association will add a more executive look to your profile. It makes you look more respectable when applying for jobs related to your field or presenting credentials to potential clients; as these associations comprise of experts and industry professionals within their respective fields.
Active participation in a professional association may also help with networking. It also gives you the advantage of getting firsthand information on job openings. Some professional associations conduct or sponsor training for their members. In such instances where there are job openings, they tend to recruit people that they know and are established within the industry.
Get Noticed (Before You Even Apply!)
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Doing things differently isn't exactly breaking news. Most people are at least somewhat aware of the fact that the job market is flooded with a surplus of talented and qualified people who are all vying for the same job openings. So you have to make sure you're thinking one step ahead of the rest. Advertise yourself in unexpected places, step out of your comfort zone, and, if you have to, invest a little money. You have to put some effort in if you want to see some results!
The job market, especially when it is as overcrowded as it is today, can be tough to navigate. But if you implement a few unique strategies, it can also be a lot of fun. Once you find the strategy that works for you, it will also become very fruitful.
The fastest way to an interview is when someone makes a referral or recommendation. So you have contacts who can refer you to a job or introduce you to a hiring manager, by all means, spend your time and energy there—it will have the greatest payoff!
UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
Use social media to connect with people in the company. One of the best ways you can get a sense of what it's like to work for an employer is to chat with people on the inside. That approach also might help the hiring manager notice you. According to the survey, 49 percent of senior managers said they are most impressed by candidates whose social network profiles show connections with people who already work at the company.
Use social websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find out whether you know anyone who works at the companies you are interested in. It's also smart to take a few moments to make sure your LinkedIn profile is as sharp as possible.
Recruiters spend countless hours scouring LinkedIn in search of the high performers. Knowing this, you’ll serve yourself well to market yourself as a high performer, through your verbiage (think action words, accomplishments) and by having multiple endorsements. Want some? Start endorsing others—they’re bound to return the favor.
Create a winning online portfolio, showcasing samples of your work. Better yet, if you’re applying for a specific position, pay particular attention to the skills advertised in the job description, then use that information to help guide you on what to put front and center on your portfolio. For instance, if you’re applying to a healthcare company, make sure the work you’ve done for other healthcare clients is easily accessible.
Ask a few key people to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you, and be specific: Tell the person precisely what you’d love showcased and offer specific examples. Recruiters often send their own clients (the companies doing the hiring) right to a job seeker’s LinkedIn page if the recommendations look good, so taking the time to solicit a few great ones can pay serious dividends.
OFFER VALUE PRE-JOB OFFER
Shine bright in an informational interview. Create a printed presentation on ideas for the company. That sort of initiative is hard to ignore, especially when the ideas are spot on.
Optimize Your Marketing Materials - Craft a Winning Resume and Cover Letter
RAMP UP YOUR RESUME - ARTICULATE YOUR IMPACT
Potential employers have piles of résumés to look through – for the most part, they all look the same. Do something to make yours stand out in the crowd.
Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your resume bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve this accomplishment.
PERSONALIZE YOUR COVER LETTER
When you’re writing your cover letter, remember that the hiring manager is likely going to be reading a lot of them (and he/she probably doesn’t really enjoy reading them much more than you like writing them). So, while you want to make the letter professional, you also want to put some of your own personality into it. Crafting an engaging letter with some color will catch people’s eyes and make them think, Wow, this would be a fun person to work with.
Even in the age of emails and texts, a well-written cover letter is still a great opportunity to tell employers why you are the right person for the job. Use your cover letter to make your “elevator pitch.”
CONNECT COMPANY NEEDS WITH YOUR SKILLS
Recruiters appreciate candidates who prepare and can demonstrate that they’ve read up on the company and understand the organization's problems and concerns—also known as “pain points.” Make a clear connection between the company's needs and your specific skills and accomplishments, and you’ll be a head above the other candidates.
CLARIFY WHY YOU ARE A GREAT FIT
One of the most important ways to show you’re the right person for the job is to spell out how you would fit into the position and the company’s goals. Giving a few examples of how your past experience is transferrable shows that you’ve thought through how you would fit into the organization—and makes things crystal clear for the hiring manager, too.
UTILIZE AN EYE-CATCHING RESUME FORMAT
You don’t need to turn your resume into beautifully designed, infographic-style works of art necessarily, but a unique format will give the reader pause, and sometimes that is all you need when your resume is in a stack of 100 resumes being read by an overwhelmed hiring manager.
HAVE GOOD REFERENCES
Rather than focusing on earning salaries and other benefits, you need to prove you can add value to the employer you are targeting. If you have made any success in the past, it is important you let them know. Show them you can do it, or you have done it, and not merely saying it or writing. This can be proven by adding names of contacts you had worked with during a research work as a reference in your resume.
Make a Killer First Impression
EVERYONE YOU MEET IS IMPORTANT
The person at the front desk may not be the hiring manager—but that doesn’t mean his or her impression of you doesn’t matter. In fact, some companies specifically ask their front desk attendants to report back on the demeanor of interviewees who come through the door.
NAIL THE INTRODUCTION BASICS
Introduce yourself by making eye contact, smiling, stating your first and last name, and giving a firm but brief handshake. Then, listen for the other person’s name, then use it two times while you’re speaking. This will not only help you remember his or her name but also appear sincere and interested in the conversation.
Ace the Interview
Overall, the most impressive candidates are those who genuinely care about the company and job they are interviewing for, have done their research, and are able to sell themselves based on that information.
Before you go on a job interview, find out everything you can about the people who are in charge of the hiring process at the company. Look them up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and get to know a little bit about them and their interests. This will help you to know what may impress them, annoy them, or where you may share a common interest that will help you to connect. In the interview, make an attempt to connect – be friendly, honest, and open to sharing a little about yourself as well. The more personal the connection you make and the more they like you as a person, the better chance you have at being chosen for the job.
Learning a little bit more about the decision-makers in the hiring process will do nothing but help you. Learn as much as you can and then use some of those nuggets of information in the interview. Perhaps you discover that one of the interviewers is a huge Yankees fan, or another has children the same age as your own, or one of them attended a local festival over the weekend. It's those details that will help you to break the ice and connect with them personally – and that will in turn make you more memorable.
TAKE YOUR PORTFOLIO
Take your portfolio to a job interview, and refer to the items inside while discussing your work experience. Saying “I planned a fundraising event from beginning to end” is one thing—showing the event invitation, program, budget, and volunteer guidelines you put together is completely another.
Don’t forget about the numbers! Finding some numbers, percentages, increases, or quotas you can use when talking about your responsibilities and accomplishments really sweetens the deal and helps you tell a hiring manager why you’re so awesome without feeling like you’re bragging. Don’t just say, “I increased sales”—try “I boosted our sales numbers 75%,” and you’re sure to be remembered.
SHARE YOUR IDEAS ABOUT THE COMPANY
Be ready with ideas for how you’d like to improve the company in your role. What new features would you be most excited to build? How would you engage users (or re-engage existing ones)? How could the company increase conversions? How could customer service be improved? You don’t need to have the company’s four-year strategy figured out, but you can share your thoughts, and more importantly, show how your interests and expertise would lend themselves to the job.
USE THE S-T-A-R METHOD
When responding to interview questions, use the S-T-A-R method. Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context, but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).
SHOWCASE THE VALUE YOU ADDED
Show them that you’ve made your mark in your past positions and didn’t just follow your predecessor’s checklist, whether it was at an internship, your last job, a college club, or a team-building event you organized to boost company morale. Earned your division more money than the person before you? Share that monetary difference. Reeled in more vendors than your peers did to participate in a fundraiser? Show that outstanding work with something no one can argue with—math.
ADAPT YOUR ANSWER APPROACH
When you start listening to your interviewer’s responses, you can determine what kind of answers he or she is looking for. Does your interviewer go into a lot of elaboration? Does he or she use data sources as examples? Model your responses the same way: If your interviewer consistently mentions percentages and numbers, make sure to weave those into your answers, clearly indicating that you decreased your department’s case backlog by 65%, or that you exceeded your fundraising goal by $1,500 last quarter.
MIRROR YOUR INTERVIEWER
Imitating certain behaviors and attitudes of your interviewer can help make a fast connection between you and the stranger on the other side of the table. For example, if your interviewer has high energy and gestures while he or she talks, strive to express that high level of liveliness. And vice versa: If your questioner is calm and serious, tame your energy down a bit.
Pay attention to what your body language is communicating. The way you speak, and the way you present themselves is part of the whole picture. If you say, ‘I’m open to new ideas,’ but then sit with your arms and legs crossed, it’s questionable. If you say you have management skills but don’t carry yourself like a leaders it’s hard to trust that assertion. The details make the difference.
ENGAGE – STAY PRESENT
Studies show that the highest-rated interviewees are those who seem positive, interested, and engaged (P-I-E) in the conversation. But it’s hard to pull off this trifecta when you’re obsessing over what question might be coming next and then scrambling to recall how you’re supposed to answer it. Focus more on being a thoughtful participant in the conversation than on trying to predict what’s coming next and how you’re going to respond.
Follow Up the Right Way
PERSONAL THANK YOU NOTES
Besides providing thoughtful and succinct answers to the questions asked, a personal thank-you note, referencing specific parts of the conversation, really nailed home that you are interesting and amazing.