The job market is tough right now. How can you differentiate yourself? Here are five of our favorite ways you can stand out when you’re looking for a job.
#1: Get Your Online Presence in Order
By now, you probably know to clean up your social media accounts before applying for a job. If you really want to stand out, do more than just delete a few pictures. Find some online discussion groups in your field and jump in. Show you’re knowledgeable about and engaged with the hot topics in your industry. Recruiters may find you there and be impressed. Also think about the overall picture your online presence creates. Does what recruiters find when they read up on you line up with the career goals and resume you’ve submitted to them?
#2: Jump the Line
This tip isn’t appropriate for every application, but it can be very effective. Most companies have an online system where job seekers can upload resumes and submit application information. In that environment, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. When you’ve found that perfect job, jump the line by mailing your documents directly to the person in charge of hiring. FedEx and UPS packages usually skip the gatekeepers and go straight to the person to whom they’re addressed.
#3: Prep Your Pitch
You often have less than a minute to make a good impression. By preparing in advance, you can make that minute count. You may already have an elevator pitch that describes your goals, interests, strengths, and unique characteristics. If you don’t, create one. If you do, spend some time condensing it even further. See if you can get the most important parts into a tagline for the product of you.
#4: Do Your Homework
One of the worst things you can do in your job search is show up to an interview completely unprepared. Read up on the company ahead of time. Pay attention to news that’s relevant to their industry. Don’t forget to work on your own answers, too. Find a list of common job interview questions and plan out how you’ll respond.
#5: Be Thoughtful
Being thoughtful during your job search can go a long way toward staying top of mind with the right people. One easy thing you can do is to send a thank-you note within 24 hours of an interview. Another idea is to put recruiters in touch with qualified friends if you’re approached with an opportunity that isn’t right for you. Neither of these things takes much time to do, but both will be appreciated and remembered.
With these five tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to standing out in your job search.