Many employers (especially top-rated ones) have hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for each job they post. You may think you’re the perfect person for the job, but with all this competition you must differentiate yourself from the pack… which you can do, by following these four tips:
1. Get Referred
Imagine this: You’re a recruiter who just posted a job that’s in high demand; you are tasked with sifting through each application to pick out those worth of an interview. It’s a long, arduous process, and you’ve seen so many resumes the words are starting to look like gibberish. The best candidate for the job could be passing right by, but if the application didn’t stand out, there was no way you were going to be interested in a second look.
After a couple days of this, you get an email from a good friend at another company who suggests you consider a colleague for the job who had applied the day before. The friend had always been like a mentor to you; her opinion is valued. So you check on the status of the applicant she named. Lo and behold, you had placed the applicant’s resume in the “thanks, but no thanks” pile.
If you know a person who can introduce you to an executive or hiring manager in the company, do everything you can to make it happen. Well-placed connections like that can often provide a fast-pass to Interview Land — and the chance to prove the worth you know you possess.
2. Creative? Use It To Your Advantage
This advice doesn’t just pertain to people trying to attain a creative position—trying unorthodox practices in your job search is a great way to get yourself noticed, no matter your career choice! Here are some solid examples of creativity in applying:
- Make a video/webcam cover letter that highlights your strengths and personality.
- Create a unique resume that is sure to stand out, as well as highlight your diverse skill-set and personality.
- Try a different approach to writing the traditional cover letter, such as writing it like a story.
- After applying, ask for an informational interview. This gives you a chance to tour the office, learn more about the company and its culture, and most importantly, it allows HR an opportunity to know more about you without being in a real “interview” setting.
Don’t rely exclusively on these ideas; they were considered creative and unique by the person that did them first, not all those who followed. Instead, use them as inspiration to think of the next new and exciting way to creatively stand out in your job search!
3. First Impression Is Everything
OK, so you made it through the initial weeding-out process and scored the interview. Even though the pool is much smaller, the competition is now as fierce as ever. Interviewing is where standing out in your job search is crucial—because if you don’t, someone else will.
Remember these rules of thumb when creating a good initial impression:
- Dress for the position you want, not just the one you’re interviewing for
- Dress slightly nicer than the typical company dress code
Just think, if the dress code is relaxed and every other interviewee comes in wearing informal clothing, you will stand out in the employer’s eyes, regardless of how you performed in the interview. You will be memorable!
Of course, your first impression depends on a lot more than how you’re dressed. One of the biggest things employers look at when you first enter the office (that many interviewees fail to recognize): How you treat the receptionist at the front desk before the interview.
If you don’t say anything, or are rude to them, they will notice and alert the hiring manager. Many hiring managers even ask the front desk how the applicants acted while they were acting while they were waiting for the interview—if the receptionist reports you were slouched in your seat or loudly talking on the phone, you may likely weakened your chances of getting hired.
4. Don’t Underestimate The Follow-Up
In many cases, the follow-up after the interview is a crucial way for hiring managers to gauge how serious an applicant is about the job. If you don’t remember to do this, then you’d better keep looking for other jobs!
Here are some unique ways to deliver your follow-up letter:
- Hiring managers get plenty of follow-up emails, but very few get hand-written letters. Such a simple difference could prove to HR that even if all the applicants are equally qualified, you want it just a little more.
- Don’t be scared to send over food or a unique gift with your follow-up letter; perhaps something that was mentioned during your interview (cupcakes, Starbucks, etc.) HR will greatly appreciate the gesture, and most likely give you deeper consideration.
It’s easy to get carried away with this, but if you put a lot of thought into your idea, the hiring manager is sure to take notice. There have even been cases where applicants didn’t get the job after the interviews, but submitted such an outstanding follow-up letter that HR changed their minds and gave them the job!
When looking for a job, it is your job to stand out. Incorporate these tips in your job hunting strategy, and you’re sure to edge out your job search competition!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Come Recommended!