In the current job market, even the most talented job-seekers can easily get left in the dust. It’s useful to be privy to how HR, and other hiring managers operate, in order to make yourself stand out from other candidates. There are steps you can take from the very beginning, that will help you get noticed by those doing the hiring. If your professional background is solid, and you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to find a position, even in this job market.
1. Do your research, both about the position, and the company.
When you’re looking through classifieds for possible positions and applying for them, be sure to thoroughly research both the position, and the company hiring. Make sure that the position you’re applying for is one you’re truly qualified, and a good match for. Once you’ve thoroughly researched the position and company, apply this knowledge in your résumé and cover-letter, so it’s apparent to prospective employers. “Spend two hours going through the company’s website, executive LinkedIn profiles, blogs, and industry articles—before you even touch your résumé or cover letter,” explains G. L. Hoffman, chairman of Jobdig.com. “Only then can you do a decent job with both.”
2. Make your résumé stand out.
Making your résumé stand out from the crowd can be done in any number of ways. While formatting and style can help, the most important aspect is show-casing your skills and accomplishments. Your résumé should look nice, and depending on the position, and how large of a role computers and design play in it, taking the time to format your resume in a highly stylized manner can sometimes be worth it. The single most detrimental factor in making your résumé appeal to employers however, is experience, and how you portray it. Out of work for a few months? Fill the gap on your résumé with volunteer work, even if it was just helping out a friend. It always helps to show that you stayed active in your own time of need.
Also, make sure to explain not only the tasks you performed at each position you held, but what you managed to accomplish there that might set you apart from the crowd. HR professionals who look through a lot of résumés, are more likely to give you a second look if you provide that information. Green, who blogs at askamanager.blogspot.com, and looks through a lot of résumés himself, explains what makes a résumé stand out; “For each position, they answer the question: What did you accomplish in this job that someone else wouldn’t have?” Green says. “Did you just go through the motions and turn in an acceptable, but not particularly star-quality, performance? Or did you do an unusually good job, one that impressed your boss and coworkers and made them devastated to lose you?”
3. Be Likable in the Interview.
As vague, and obvious as that may sound, there are some easy things you can do, and may not have thought about, to accomplish this. Many people hate conducting interviews as much as you may hate going to them. If you appear relaxed, confident, and easy to talk to, this is going to improve their experience, and make them remember you when the time comes to hire. Appearing relaxed, confident and otherwise likable when you’re incredibly nervous about your future is easier said than done, but there are things you can do to help.
Come to the interview as prepared as possible with every possible detail covered. This will help by showing employers that you’re detail oriented and well-prepared. It will also help you put your mind at ease during the interview, knowing that you did everything you possibly could to prepare. Another factor in appearing confident is body language. Make eye contact throughout the introduction and interview. Don’t fidget, play with your hair, or show any other outward signs of nervousness. As difficult as these little things can be when you’re nervous, just attempt to be mindful of them and it will get you far.
Don’t forget to be yourself! Don’t get so caught up in impressing your employer that you portray a faulty persona. This will only cause problems in the long-run. If you show your true self, you will be less nervous, and more likely to have some real interaction with the individual conducting the interview, which will make you more memorable. If the person hiring doesn’t like you for you, then the position wasn’t right for you anyways, and it’s better to keep yourself available for a more well-suited job.
While it’s undeniably tough going out there for job-seekers right now, I hope a few tips from someone well-acquainted with the hiring process can be of some assistance. If you research, make your résumé as appealing as possible, and stay calm and likable during the interview, success will come. Follow these steps, and keep persevering, and you’ll be sure to have that dream job eventually.