You aren’t the only person looking for a job. We hope that isn’t news to you. So what are you doing to make yourself stand out? Even if you’re the most qualified, you still need to highlights your skills accordingly on your resume to get your future employer’s attention. Once you get that interview, you have to leave a lasting impression. Approach that job search with the right mindset. Maybe you lack some experience for a particular job, but if you are smart about how you package and present yourself, you’ll be just fine.
Don’t present yourself as out-of-work.
One of the worst mistakes any job seeker can do is to make themselves appear out of work. Have gaps in your career progress? Try to jog your memory and see if you completed anything work-related like volunteering or interning to fill those dreaded gaps. Finding a job can be a rocky business, and employers understand that. But the goal is to appear as though you remained busy and productive in-between jobs.
Don’t send your resume to everyone.
Do your research, and look for jobs that are actually seeking the skills you have. While you may have found yourself desperate, mass-emailing your resume to a number of employers, try to avoid the send button. It’s frustrating for employers to sift through mass-emails with resumes that don’t pertain to their job description. Once you’ve found the job that works for you, tailor your resume and cover letter accordingly and, if possible, drop it off in person. If employers can attach a face to the cover letter and resume, it greatly increases your chances of getting hired.
Tailor your resume and your cover letter.
Unless you’re applying to the same job twice, then there is no reason why you should send the same resume and cover letter to multiple jobs. It can be tedious to tailor them to every job you apply for, but it’s important as it makes you stand out amongst other applicants. Employers can tell if you mass emailed a generic resume or cover letter: they lack originality, effort, and personality. Make sure to emphasize specific qualifications that you have that are sought out by certain employers, and modify your resume by using keywords that match the job description.
Always update your Linkedin.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn, get one. If you do, make sure to always keep it updated. It’s always important to keep your Linkedin up-to-date as it provides a holistic sense of your career progress to potential employers. Increased your companies’ sales by 75%? Wrote a cover story for a magazine? Write it, now. It can be easy to forget about important accomplishments during your career, so take time at least every two months to update your LinkedIn.
Think what you can do for the job.
If you’re already asking yourself “What can this job do for me?” you’re already thinking with the wrong mindset. When you automatically ask yourself, “What can I do for the company?” or “How can I best serve the company?,” you can begin to think of why you’re the best fit for the job. Once you get the job, and you’ve entered the salary and benefit talks and negotiations, you can start thinking about yourself.
Always look for the silver lining.
Landing your dream job takes a lot of time, effort, and many setbacks. There are going to be those interim jobs that will involve a little compromising, but always look for the silver lining and the opportunities available. Constantly have to transcribe interviews? Actually listen to the interviews and take in the information. Have an unpaid internship? Here’s your chance to develop many connections with a respectable company that may land you a paid gig in the future.
Don’t just say you’re proficient with Word.
Being proficient in programs like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint is great, but it’s very, very common. Nearly everyone who has worked in an office job knows how to use these programs. It won’t necessarily sink your resume in the “no” pile, but it does make you look silly. Unless you’re proficient in programming languages like Java, C++, C#, than don’t bother listing them.
Don’t make your resume like the rest.
You’ve made a resume, so you send it in, right? No. Besides grammar mistakes and common words, other things can tick off employers, sending your resume to the “no” pile. Some ways to make your resume stand out is to always try and provide an online portfolio that is a more-in-depth version of your resume. If it’s done in a professional manner provide hyperlinks, Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter profiles: anything that can let the employer grasp a better sense of who you are as a person, distinguishing you from other candidates.
If you can try and track down the hiring manager’s email address and CC’ing him or her into the email. It shows initiative and attempt to research the company.
Emphasize skills, not titles.
This applies to applicants who are applying for a job in where they may be considered overqualified. If you were once a CEO, but now applying as a project manager, it may puzzle some potential employers. If you score an interview, make sure to emphasize skills gained during your work experience rather than stating your former title.
Be confident, not cocky.
Nothing is worse in the business industry than an egotistical jerk. Nobody wants to work with a guy who constantly has to boast about their self-worth or how much money they make. The goal is to find the right balance between being humble and confident. Some ways to do so: listen more, use eye contact, and dress smart, not flashy.
Volunteer, it’ll do you good.
One strategy that is often overlooked during the job search is volunteering. When a prospective employer asks what you’ve been doing in-between jobs, you’ll be able to talk of all the volunteering you have doing at some nonprofit organization. It’s also an important way to sharpen your skills, expand your network, and possibly land you that job you’ve been wanting.
Use social networking to your advantage.
Depending on how you utilize it, social networking can be a very useful and positive outlet to help you in your job search. Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare can help you get in touch with journalists and business-owners relevant to a company your interested in. Not only that, but knowing someone who is already employed can help companies look at you as a safe hire.
Put your best foot forward, but don’t lie.
With stiff competition in the job market, it can be extremely tempting to overstate your qualifications or omit some facts in your last job experience. While you may be trying to increase your chances of getting the job, it will only put your employment prospects at risk. Sooner or later your embellishments will be tested, and if it doesn’t match your performance, it will be obvious.
Rehearse your interviews.
Practice makes perfect, right? This mantra applies to interviews too. Even if you land the interview, it’s still important to rehearse your interviews rather than just winging it. Don’t rely solely on your charismatic attitude or personality to get you by. To prepare for an interview, ask a friend or a family member to perform a mock interview with you, or watch at videos of other interviews and see what works.
People remember stories, even employers. In an interview, no one wants to hear facts or figures—leave that for your resume. So if you find yourself getting bored of your own interview, chances are the interviewer is getting bored too. One way to make your interview more interesting is to tell a humorous yet truthful (very important) story about your career progress highlighting on your most important achievements and how you got there and found success.
Always follow up.
Follow-ups can be scary and annoying to do. Nobody likes to appear pushy or likes rejection when making that follow-up call or email, but it’s important to make. Following up can be really important as it demonstrates qualities that are sought out by many employers: tenacity, interest, attention to detail, and dedication. Follow-ups can also serve as a way to narrow down the candidates for a job. Even if it doesn’t work out in the beginning, it can help you stand out as a potential prospect in the future.
Clean up your web trail.
As we grow more attached to social networks, so do potential employers. No employer would want to hire anyone with poor grammar or discriminatory manners. However, social networking can also give you an opportunity to showcase the positives, like how you have your finger on industry news and your ability to make connections with other people. Think of it this way: if you would be uncomfortable having your status or picture go public in a major newspaper, don’t post it.