How to stand out from employers during your job search
One of the reasons people hate looking for a job is because they feel uncomfortable talking about themselves. For many, the whole job search process seems too “commercial”. But, of course, that’s exactly what it’s all about. You are selling a product, and the product is you. Still, it shouldn’t be awkward. With practice, showcasing your skills and accomplishments will feel much more natural.
No matter where you are in the hiring process, certain strategies will help you stand out in the crowd. Let’s look at five easy ways to start your job search.
Conduct in-depth research
Start the job search by doing your homework before talking to the employer. Recruiters and hiring managers value candidates who prepare and understand the organization’s pain points. The first thing to do is visit their website. You will have access to valuable information, including company history, mission, press releases and general information about the management team. Read their blogs and follow them on social media. LinkedIn is also a good place to find out who the hiring manager is. Take a look at their backgrounds and look for commonalities. Who knows, maybe you attended the same college or volunteered for the same charity.
Communicate directly with hiring managers
Do not rely on the expectation that your application will go through the Applicant Tracking System. One reason is that these systems are designed to filter you out. Moreover, it is often an arduous process. According to recruitment data provider Appcast, the candidate abandonment rate for people who apply online but never complete an application is 92%. Instead, be proactive and contact the hiring manager directly. This approach demonstrates initiative and is particularly useful if the position has been posted for some time. At this point, you want to make sure the position is still open before you put in the effort to apply. Contacting the recruiter or hiring manager directly through LinkedIn also has the added benefit of letting them see your profile online. If your background suits you perfectly, you will already be ahead of other potential candidates.
Use your personal and professional network
It’s always a good idea to leverage your personal and professional networks when looking for a job. Do not be shy. Reach out to your personal contacts in the field and tell them what your goals are. These are people who can defend you. You can also use LinkedIn to see who you know who works there. Next, ask them questions about the company culture and ask them if they have any concerns about the organization. And if you can get a reference from a current employee, even better. Another added benefit of networking is that you’ll likely hear about jobs before they become public. This makes it a win-win because you will have a distinct advantage over other applicants and employers love hiring people who are referred to them.
Ask intelligent questions
Insightful questions reveal a lot about a candidate, so take the time to prepare them in advance. It shows that you are thoughtful and interested. And remember, the interview is a two-way street. It’s as much about getting to know the business as the other way around. By asking intelligent questions, you will learn what immediate projects need to be addressed and what qualities a person must have to be successful in the position. It’s also a good way to spot red flags so you can make an informed decision if you receive a job offer.
Highlight achievements rather than skills
Another way to stand out in your job search is to focus on accomplishments and results more than skills. If you focus only on skills, it will be difficult for you to stand out from other candidates with the same skills. Instead, be specific about your accomplishments.
Ask yourself questions like:
- How many people have you managed?
- What products have you launched?
- How much money have you saved?
Employers understand that past behavior is a strong indicator of future performance. This is why the Problem, Action, Result technique is so effective. Begin by describing the problem or challenge you encountered. Then explain what actions you took and what the results were. It’s a good idea to think of at least five examples and practice giving concise explanations. This way you avoid ramblings and you will make a better first impression.
Companies are scrambling to fill vacancies. At the same time, recruiters and hiring managers often receive hundreds or even thousands of resumes. So, it’s up to you to present your value when looking for a job. Take what makes you unique and inject energy, enthusiasm and personality into the mix. With this winning formula, you will be sure to succeed in your next interview.