The secret to landing a job is differentiating yourself from other jobseekers. In an attempt to eliminate the competition, a jobseeker should strive to be as unique as possible to ensure that they are memorable.
Recruiters see a huge number of people during the interview process. Although they come across people with different names and personalities, they all pretend to be the same: a professional, faceless candidate with the same colour suits, identical briefcases and even the same boring haircuts. That’s hell. But what’s worse for employers, is that all of the resumes are the same, using standardized templates and cliché phrases that are extremely off-putting.
Well, are you one of these faceless people?
If your answer is yes, then you know you need to do something really quick to get yourself out of this spider web. So, let’s leave the old-fashioned, boring strategies behind and instead focus on finding some more innovative solutions to making your voice heard.
What Do Employers Want
The key to presenting yourself effectively is getting to know what employers expect from you. When you are in their shoes, you will be in a better position to judge whether you will be a good fit for their company. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
- Would you hire yourself if you were the employer?
- What qualities would you favor?
- Do you think the candidate would fit into your company culture?
- Would you give the candidate a chance to prove themselves?
These questions should help you realise what your main focus should be. To learn as much as you know about the company before making contact with the employer and then projecting the qualities they favor to make yourself more employable.
Likewise, employers seem to be doing the same but the other way round. Mark Zuckerberg once shared an interesting job-hunting tip that was intended to reach the ears of the most career-conscious job seekers out there who wanted to work for his company. As the young entrepreneur said in the DailyMail, his secret to acing the interview would be to see himself as the employee. When he was asked the main thing he looks for in an employee he replied with a rather simple answer, “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person. It’s a pretty good test” and he’s right.
Zuckerberg’s answer pretty much sums up the kind of approach you should be going for as a job seeker. Having said that, he wanted to make clear that those who do get to work at Facebook are the ones who consider themselves as leaders and aren’t afraid to show it. These candidates are the ones who demonstrate they have the passion, the determination and the courage to change – if not the world – the company for the better.
But apart from demonstrating leadership, you should also consider showing off the following elements that according to employers can help you stand out from the crowd:
Ben Martinez from HireVue, says that a candidate can differentiate himself by demonstrating confidence using effective verbal and body language. This kind of ability is a pretty rare skill considering that most jobseekers often appear to be tense and not at all relaxed as a result of being stressed out.
Another characteristic that makes jobseekers stand out is their eagerness to learn as Martinez supports. Demonstrating that they are up to date with current trends in their field is important but not as vital as showing that they are willing to use their curiosity to help their career development.
Founder of The Opportunities Project, Tracy Brisson values jobseekers who can demonstrate that are results-driven. While looking at a candidate’s resume, she looks for evidence of effectiveness as well as performance. In the interview, she is more interested in hearing about their past accomplishments, or previous projects and activities and how they managed to achieve their goals.
CEO of Employee Solutions, David Bristol prefers candidates who have a strong volunteering background. This shows that the candidate is more likely to become an employee who’s not solely interested in his own development but is willing to contribute back to community e.g. a group or a company. Volunteering can give you a great boost in your job-hunting efforts as it can automatically confirm that you also possess other important skills such as initiative and teamwork.
Leslye Schumacher from TalentQ Consulting, says she’s constantly amazed by the lack of follow up from candidates. So when she comes across an applicant, who responds fast, she knows he has to be on the list of the interviewees. How quickly you respond to employers not only can show your eagerness to work as well how much you want the job.
What Do You Want
Obviously you want the job. But do you know how to get it?
The secret to landing that job is investing in the things other candidates don’t do and as such come out as different and unique. You could perhaps incorporate your own logo to reinforce your personal brand, or show your blogging skills directing employers to your website.
Another way to stand out is to develop your transferable skills. These are the qualities that are the most prominent and employers will always look for in a candidate. What you need to do first is to improve your chances by focusing on developing your communication skills. Unfortunately, the majority of jobseekers do not know how to speak properly in a formal setting even though English may be their mother tongue. As far as it concerns interviewing for a job, employers say that candidates find it difficult to talk about themselves. But unless you know how to speak like a professional without hesitation, you risk coming off as an uncertain individual who is lacking self-esteem. For this, there is only one solution; preparation.
Whatsmore, you need to be looking into your social skills. These would allow you to show your personality and those characteristics that make you who you are. For example, do you have any unique interests or hobbies? Let the employers know! Despite the fact that you need to be professional you shouldn’t be afraid to let them get to know you better. This will make it easier for them as well as to determine whether you are a good fit in terms of the company culture or not.
Creativity is the key
To be honest, you really don’t need much to impress employers. What you are lacking, is creativity. You not only need to be original in the things you say in your resume and cover letter, but also in the way you present yourself to recruiters in the job interview. If you manage to create a resume that catches the attention of the employer, the document will do half of the work for you.
While we are talking about creativity, you can experiment with visuals, using an infographic or a video as a complement to the traditional resume to show employers how you are different from other jobseekers. Many jobseekers have done it before, so why not you? Check out this interactive video-resume from Graeme Anthony that effectively shows off his originality unique skills and personality to give you some ideas.
So, how will you make sure you stand out as the ideal candidate for the job? Let me know your ideas in the comments section below…