Imagine that you are a recruiter in your organisation responsible for hiring talented employees. There a few slots remaining. You have a lot of qualified candidates to choose from. There is Sheila who volunteered in a breast cancer awareness program during summer holidays whilst back in the university; Dan who worked without being paid in a children’s home; and Ronald who participated in a diabetes walk meant to raise funds for diabetic patients. Which candidate deserves the job?
Employers often face this dilemma during recruitment. What will make them choose you over another candidate with the same degree? I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to be different. You have got to stand out and be one step ahead of the chasing pack if you want to be hired. I do not imply that you get a weirdo haircut or dress like Halloween. This will get you fired before being hired for sure! You just need to have a resume that stands out using some of the following techniques.
How do i do this?
Being specific during interviews as well as on your resume, always work to your advantage. Hiring managers do not need do the work for you, do the work for yourself. When asked what your dream job is for instance, do not answer something like; “I am looking for a challenging and rewarding job that will lead me to make an impact in this organization.” Almost every candidate says that! Instead give a specific answer that goes something like; “I am looking for a sales position at a manufacturing industry in New York City.” This saves time and gives you an upper hand over other candidates.
2. The art of Preparation
Prior to a job interview, most of us take some time to prepare for it. However, there are different levels of preparations that distinguish top performers from average performers. An average performer will probably go through the company’s website for less than ten minutes or talk to a friend about interview questions for 5 minutes. A top performer on the other hand will do things like meeting with 3 current employees on the organization before the interview just to understand their challenges on the job, comparing the information with what is on the website and having a management consultant to perform a mock interview for two hours. There is such a big difference between these potential employees. One is complacent while the other one is serious about job seeking.
Many job seekers walk around saying they cannot establish networks when there are a ton of opportunities to do so. Honestly, think about the answers to the following questions; have you sent any Email to potential employers lately? Have you taken any initiative to set up coffee meetings? When was the last time you checked the alumni database for any contact or job opening? I am sure a few of us have satisfactory answers to the questions. Stop complaining like everybody else and get active.
What Else Should I Know?
Work experience is great. However it is not the only thing you need to land a job. You may spend the whole day writing what you may term as the best cover letter only to realise that it achieves no meaningful result for you. Ensure you approach employers in many different ways to stand out. Some of the ways include following them on Twitter, joining their Facebook fan page as well as LinkedIn. This gives you an idea of what they require so that you prepare a tailored CV.
I remember a friend of mine who happened to be in the interview panel during one of the interviews in their organisation. It was a job opening for a creative assistant in a media house. Of all the resume hardcopies they received, there was one that truly stood out. It was printed on a pink colored paper. That caught their attention completely. Upon interviewing the candidate, they loved everything about her and hence hired her on the spot.
I am sure you get the idea now; do things differently if you want to stand out and be different. Think about how YOU would look for a candidate.